Sunday, Louisiana's wunderkind governor -- the Republican Party's last best
ECHOING COMMENTS he made last week in Miami at the Republican Governor's Association meeting, Jindal told newsman Bob Schieffer that "we've got to stop defending the kinds of corruption we would rightfully criticize in the other party. The week before the election, our most senior senator is convicted on federal charges - and that's only the latest example."
What does this mean for the Republican Party? Is the GOP ready to clean house . . . and the Senate?
For the answer to this, let's turn to a story in Saturday's editions of the Omaha World-Herald:
Gov. Dave Heineman put his fellow GOP governors on the spot this week, urging them to take a stand against party corruption by turning against one of their own.
The Nebraska governor asked his fellow governors at a meeting in Miami to publicly urge U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska to immediately resign.
No one took Heineman up on his challenge.
Stevens was convicted of felony corruption charges last month. His re-election effort remains up in the air, as he and Democrat Mark Begich are locked in a tight contest with thousands of ballots left to count.
"I knew everybody was going to be a little uncomfortable. But the fact of the matter is, we ought to be a party that stands up against corruption," Heineman said in a telephone interview from Miami, where the Republican Governors Association was meeting.
"And I said we should call for Ted Stevens to resign. He should resign today."
Heineman's request came as some Republicans in Miami acknowledged that the GOP brand took a hit in the national elections.
He said Republicans in Washington strayed from their values, ratcheting up the national debt and failing to address critical issues such as the energy crisis.
Heineman said the GOP has had too many corruption cases in recent years, feeding into people's perception that the party had been in power too long.
Republicans have faced their share of scandals, including those of jailed lobbyist Jack Abramoff and former congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham of California, who is in prison on conspiracy and tax evasion convictions.
At the Miami meeting, Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana told the group that his party must "stop making excuses for corruption."
When Jindal finished, Heineman responded that he believed Stevens should resign, and he asked whether his fellow governors wanted to make a similar statement. He said he wanted to take the discussion beyond the talking stages.
"Do we have the courage to do that?" Heineman said.
There was silence at the conference table, according to the Washington Post.
THERE'S YOUR ANSWER. Talk is cheap. And Bobby Jindal -- as evidenced by his own inaction when Nebraska's governor (a.k.a., Poppin' Fresh) called his bluff -- isn't willing to put his money where his own mouth is. But he was able to go on television and tell Schieffer, "We've got to match our actions with our rhetoric."
Or not. Whatever.
Today, I have strange new respect for a Nebraska pol I've never supported. He has a pair! Who knew?
And my suspicion that Jindal was all about gamesmanship, as opposed to leadership, has been confirmed. I tell you true, cher . . . if the Republican Party is in such bad shape that it's looking to a fast-talking Louisiana politician for redemption, its chances for survival well might be closer to "none" than "slim."