Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's recent PR blitz — dissing Miley, defending the largest religious group in the country — has a time and a place. When Jindal took advantage of the cameras at a bipartisan group's White House press conference to criticize President Obama for "waving the white flag" on growth (and to get people to read his associated essay at the National Review) the breach of decorum wasn't appreciated by the Democrats standing nearby — one of whom called Jindal's comments about the minimum wage "insane." Public relations is hard!
Jindal's remarks came during a brief press conference hosted by the National Governors Association after a brief meeting between members of the group (which represents all of the country's governors) and President Obama. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin mentioned Obama's indication that a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline was coming in a few months. That's when Jindal jumped in, outlining his various ideas about Keystone and the minimum wage and various other aspects of his
2016 platform worldview.
"I just wanted to comment on the Keystone pipeline," he said, but that's not really what he wanted to comment on. He wanted to plug that National Review essay, called, "Use the Phone and Pen to Jump-Start Growth." (He worked a version of that phrase into the comments, which is just smart branding.) In the piece, Jindal articulates 10 executive actions that the governor would apparently support, including approval of Keystone and delaying the Obamacare individual mandate. At the press conference, he ticked off several of them. And then:
This president and the White House seems to be waving the white flag of surrender after more than five years under this administration. The Obama economy is now the minimum wage economy.
Jindal repeated the "white flag" thing twice, for maximum sound-bite-ability.
As mentioned, he's been on something of a PR blitz of late, criticizing Miley Cyrus in defense of Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson last year and, earlier this month, rising to the defense of Christianity in the face of gay people getting married. It seems pretty obviously to be an attempt to raise his national profile, process that was derailed badly when he stood in front of cameras to criticize Obama — after the State of the Union speech in 2009.
So given the environs (outside the executive mansion) and the tie-in (that essay), Jindal couldn't resist. Even a bipartisan group is an opportunity to make the pitch, as long as it's ringed with cameras.
The violation of decorum seemed to take the Democrats standing with him by surprise. Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy jumped in, also pretending to be focused on the Keystone decision. "You know, until a few moments ago, we were going down a pretty cooperative road," he said, quickly distancing his party from Jindal's remarks on Keystone and reiterating that the two sides had other points of disagreement. Like he, Gov. Malloy, supports the minimum wage. And:
I don't know what the heck was the reference to white flag, when it comes to people making $404 a week. That's the most insane statement I've ever heard, quite frankly.
Well, so much for bipartisanship — though Malloy was quick to note that Jindal started it. Then Democratic Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley twisted the knife: Maybe if Jindal wants to participate in the NGA, perhaps he should pay his dues to the organization.
Jindal is 0-for-2 on picking fights with Barack Obama. Luckily for him, he wouldn't need to do so in 2016.