Saturday, August 18, 2012

An Open Letter to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal

Bobby, Can You Hear Me in the Bunker?

By Dayne Sherman
Talk About the South Column
Published in the Hammond, Louisiana, Daily Star, 4A-5A
Sat., Aug. 18, 2012 / 850 words
Revised edition

Dear Bobby,

I hate to break the bad news. No, it’s not about Gov. Mitt Romney having the good sense not to pick you as VP, nor that you weren’t even on his shortlist of candidates, nor that you didn’t land a prime speaking spot at the RNC in Tampa. The bad news is something a conservative activist told me the other day. On Aug. 12 your political career ended.

Yes, not becoming Romney’s VP was the end of your political ascendancy. Blame Romney or blame yourself, but it’s caput.

Maybe you’ve already figured it out. Melinda Deslatte of the Associated Press ran a story with the word “bunker” in the title regarding your administration’s activities right now. Do your handlers let you read the newspaper in the bunker? I hope you have cable TV and can get ESPN, air-conditioning, too. But you need some reality therapy in a bad way.

A week ago The Dead Pelican website ran an unscientific poll. I suspect the readers are mostly conservatives. Did they let you see it in the bunker?

The poll asked a single question: “Will Bobby Jindal continue to be a rising star on the national stage, now that Paul Ryan has been picked for V.P.?”

Out of 1,079 votes cast, 68 % of the respondents said either “No” or “Who is Bobby Jindal?” Only 32 % said that your star will continue to rise.

Oh, my!

I think folks are catching on, conservatives especially. One Republican media figure recently said to me, “Dayne, I believe Bobby Jindal is going to kill the Louisiana Republican Party.” He wasn’t happy in the least.

The problem, though, is how sad a moral specimen you’ve become, an empty suit, a nihilist with only one belief left. 

John Maginnis, the dean of Louisiana political columnists, opined that perhaps being present at the college exorcism and writing candidly about it may have been your very last unscripted act.

Bobby, you only believe in yourself. Can’t you see it?

I suspect you don’t have a friend in the world to tell you the truth about anything important. 

And how does it feel to be used by Romney? According to reports, he didn’t even call you to say he was sorry for picking Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin). He called five other shortlisters but not you. He picked Ryan, a man with a single hero: Ayn Rand. Rand is a writer Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners calls “a philandering Russian atheist.” But at least Rand and Ryan have an ethos. A horrible ethos but an ethos nevertheless. An ethos is something very similar to an ethic or sense of morality, and a way of life in a community.

Bobby, you don’t have an ethos. There’s some interesting dialogue in The Big Lebowski, a great movie about friendship. You should watch it posthaste, and pay close attention to the "ethos" dialogue between The Dude, Walter, and Danny. Nihilism is bad, in part, because it leaves you friendless. Who cares to be a buddy to a nihilist? It escapes me. But if you had an honest friend, he might tell you the truth: you’re a caricature of the worst sort of politician on the make, and it has gotten old to Louisianans. You’ve sold your soul for personal political advancement, and everyone seems to know it but you.

Have you heard there is a giant sinkhole in Bayou Corne? Some say the thing could blow up like a nuclear bomb, a genuine apocalypse that’ll make Hurricane Katrina look like an afternoon shower. Why haven’t you been there with the press? Are you scared of the possible explosion or that no one will show up but sycophantic staffers with their iPhones to take photos, a press conference with no press? It’s not because the press won’t show out of fear, but that you’re no longer important enough to waste the drive.

Hey, out of our longstanding friendship, I’ll go if you go. Call me the press. I’ll write about it.

Bobby, we are a resilient people here in Louisiana. We have fought off hurricanes, levee failures, water moccasins, Yellow Fever, Reconstruction, a host of carpetbaggers and scallywags, and the Civil War, not to mention more bad governors and corrupt politicians than a country boy can shoot in the butt with a Daisy BB gun. We’ll survive your reign, especially now that your power is quickly diminishing. Thank God for the Law of Gravity.

So why not come on back to earth, Bobby? Your career is all downhill from here on out. Realizing this, however, may be the only thing that saves you from yourself. Read the late Catholic novelist Dr. Walker Percy. I think his writings will offer a diagnosis for what is really at stake in your downward slide.

Reading Percy and surrounding yourself with some honest folks won’t save your career, but it could help save your soul.

Come on over to my place. I’ll brew a fresh pot of coffee. We can have a long talk. There’s life outside the bunker. Isn’t it about time you try to leave lockdown and go out into the sunshine?

It’s not nearly as bad as you think.

Your pal,



Dayne Sherman lives in Ponchatoula and is the author of Welcome to the Fallen Paradise: A Novel. His website at

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