Maginnis: Vitter challenges Jindal on the right
Among the worst-kept secrets in Louisiana politics is that Gov. Bobby Jindal and Sen. David Vitter can barely stand each other. Hard feelings go back at least to July 2007, when Vitter's sex scandal—his phone number being found in the address book of a Washington, D.C., madam—erupted on the eve of the kickoff of Jindal's campaign for governor, resulting in a canceled mutual appearance and frosty relations ever since. After the governor passed on endorsing the senator for re-election in 2010, Vitter made a point of endorsing Jindal in 2011, and then urged him to be boldly conservative in his second term, thus inferring that he had not been so in his first. In the first months of this term, Vitter cheered on Jindal's change agenda for K-12 education and the public retirement system. The truce ended last week when Vitter swung from the right, criticizing Jindal for his budget policies and, more pointedly, his siding with landowners and environmental lawyers against the oil-and-gas industry over legislation dealing with land pollution claims. "If the governor wanted to get everyone together to forge a compromise, it would get done," says Vitter, adding that not doing so maintained the status quo of what he calls a "trial lawyer bonanza." Jindal coolly abstained from responding personally, but did so through his press office, which pointed out that since Congress has not passed a budget in nearly three years, Vitter should attend to his own business. Read the full column here.
(John Maginnis publishes LaPolitics Weekly, a newsletter on Louisiana politics, at LaPolitics.com.)
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