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Jindal Less Popular Than Obama in Pelican State?


Is America ready for Tea Party governance? If Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s popularity in his own state is any indication, the answer might be no. A recent poll suggests that Governor Jindal, a GOP star and possible 2016 presidential candidate, is less popular than President Obama in deep red Louisiana. With only 38 percent approval, Governor Jindal’s plan to eliminate his state’s income tax faced growing opposition across the state:

The poll suggested voters think he is spending more time traveling outside the state and burnishing his credentials for a possible White House run than tending to local matters. […]

“A lot of the pressure [for eliminating the income tax] seems to be coming from national groups. It’s hard to find a constituency in Louisiana that was demanding an end to the income tax,” said Jan Moller, director of the nonprofit Louisiana Budget Project, which advocates for raising revenue to provide more services.

Jindal’s plan to eliminate personal and corporate income taxes and raise the sales tax by 56 percent was a cornerstone of his agenda, but he was forced to scrap it in the face of widespread disapproval. This isn’t a unique phenomenon: Tea Party Governor Sam Brownback has likewise faced resistance to similar policy proposals in Kansas.

It seems that even some of America’s deep red states have cold feet about some Tea Party ideas. This could be a big problem for GOP presidential hopefuls. If conservative states aren’t willing to get with the program, it’s unlikely that the Tea Party can sell these ideas at the national level. Louisiana is a little bit of an outlier, to be sure; politicians like Edwin Edwards and Huey Long weren’t interested in the modest, inexpensive government Tea Partiers want. It’s more striking that a fiscal conservative like Bobby Jindal got elected governor than that his tax proposals have been stalled. Still, the Tea Party’s domestic policy agenda needs some rethinking. If you can’t sell this in the South, you can’t sell it anywhere; Republicans need more policies that more people actually like.

[Bobby Jindal image couresty of]

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  • ojfl

    People may not like the policies mainly because they do not understand them? Otherwise, what is the alternative? Governor Brownback proposed a small incremental step towards eliminating income taxes and the article mentions it is stalled. Governor Jindal proposed a more radical approach and also stalled. So what do people really want? Status quo?

    • Andrew Allison

      Yes, they want government to be funded by other people’s money

      • ojfl

        That is a shame Andrew, a real shame. If and when that happens we have lost Western civilization for at least a generation.

    • Thirdsyphon

      What are the alternatives to reducing personal and corporate income taxes to zero? Are you seriously asking that question? And is your interlocutor seriously alleging that any other possible course of action is predatory and irresponsible leadership? If the question is serious, then I’ll answer it. What people “really want” is to retain a progressive system of taxation; and before you decry it as the road to ruin, please reflect that it is a method of gathering revenue that has worked quite well for generations of citizens in almost literally every prosperous and healthy democracy in the modern world.

      • ojfl


        I am asking what is the alternative to the changes. The current system has proven a bad system. It ends up having a very volatile revenue stream, as evidenced by the revenue drop in California, New York and the US as a whole. It has also been shown to not produce steady revenue in other countries. Even consumption taxes are progressive. A person who makes millions a year in income consumes a lot more than a person who makes less than 100k a year. Consumption taxes are always progressive.

        • Tom

          Well, depending on the consumption you’re taxing, anyway.

  • Marty Keller

    The intelligentsia of both sides thinks we know best what the citizenry should want. The citizenry, on the other hand, is rent down the middle about government, entitlements, taxes, and benefits. Our challenge is the inexorable growth of them all; we have always known that wresting away a freebie or a cheapie would be very difficult once it was granted. Red staters are as susceptible to the free lunch doctrine as blue staters. But the Jindals and Brownbacks don’t have the luxury of being ambivalent; they have to lead. If their citizens don’t like it, they will have to live with the consequences that these governors foresee.

    • Thirdsyphon

      I don’t agree that responsible “leadership” is only possible by funding the entire government via flat consumption taxes, and I doubt that you do either. The wealthy, I’m sure, would love to shift all jurisdictions away from progressive taxation and towards something that shifts more of the burden to people lower down the income ladder. That desire is only human and perfectly understandable as such, but I don’t find it inherently nobler or more sympathetic than the corresponding desire of the middle class and the poor to leave society’s tax burden where it is, or perhaps even shift a bit more of it onto the shoulders of the well-to-do.

      • rheddles

        What is the proper burden for the well-to-do? More?

        • Thirdsyphon

          That’s a complicated question. I think a lot depends on who one defines as the well-to-do, but if we’re discussing households earning more than $400,000 per year, then I think the answer is yes, shading to “heck, yes” at around the $1.5m mark. But then, I also thought the Bush tax cuts should have been allowed to expire in their entirety, across all income levels.

          • rheddles

            It’s complicated because after it’s hit, you can’t ask for more.

            And once you go down the income redistribution path. who one defines as the well-to-do is someone making 10% more than yourself.

          • Thirdsyphon

            Yes, you *can* declare that every nuance of moderation is a slippery slope to Stalingrad, and accuse people who disagree with you of acting in bad faith… but then it’s not really a discussion, is it?

    • Shawn Manor

      One of the problems I have with Jindal (I live in Louisiana) is that he’s not leading. He is spending more time out of state than in. He’s not out front with his efforts and just throws his ideas at the state legislature and says here you deal with it. I voted for him twice (the race he lost to Blanco and then the race he actually won). I didn’t vote for him this past election, I just didn’t vote for Governor. I really hope he doesn’t run for President because he may talk a good game but his leadership is highly suspect. (reminds me a little of someone currently sitting in the White House or playing the back nine)

  • Lyle7

    He’s upset the status quo in Louisiana. Folks employed by the State are angry with him because either arranged for them to work harder at their job for the same pay (school teachers) or targeted raises for state employees. Not to mention he’s had to cut funds to universities and tried to close at least one redundant college to save money.

    So of course people in a historically populist state aren’t happy with him.

    He ain’t Huey P. Long or Edwin Edwards.

  • bannedforselfcensorship

    Wasn’t there some discussion of a Value-Added Tax by Krugman and other wonks? How would that get passed? Maybe call it the “Save the Children Donation”?

  • JWJ

    Hey, he proposed something to the electorate, and it was not well received. He is now backing away from the idea for now.

    I simply do not see how this is bad thing.

  • John Michael

    Does he want to increase the sales tax by 56% or tax goods by an additional 56%?

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