Crisis and Kairos
The Genius of "That Boy" Jindal
"At my age, you've learned some things," Rayburn stated. "The way we've spent money in this state is going to cause some problems when I'm dead and gone. I will not be around to see it, but somebody is going to have to clean all this stuff up and make some very unpopular decisions." Little did Rayburn know that it would be "the boy" Secretary who would one day serve as the state's 55th Governor.
Bobby Jindal has learned many things along his path toward the Governor's Mansion. Louisiana's state bureaucracy is strong and resistant to change. It is all but a shadow government covertly convened in ways that escape the public eye. Two Republican governors of the last century (David Treen and Buddy Roemer) were held to one term as the episcopacy of Governor Edwin Edwards often thwarted every measure toward reform and transparent governance. Mike Foster's administration (the launching pad for Jindal) began the turn away from the machinery of government toward more reliance on private enterprise. Jindal has only increased this trajectory and all but steamrolled his opposition.
The genius of Jindal's ability is seen in his upending of long-held beliefs that expensive state infrastructure and programs were the answer—even the moral duty—of government in service to her citizens. Systematically, the Jindal administration has confronted the power brokers of a previous era and so carefully rendered them irrelevant that post-legislative session enactments show that real change is now upon the state. Much remains to be done, but Bobby Jindal has proven that corruption and government overreach can be pulled down with knowledge, courage, and a worldview supported by a moral vision that renders government a servant, never a master.