February 25 2014
A headline from Time magazine:
Jindal Breaches White House Protocol to Take Shots at Obama
Of what shocking breach of protocol is Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal guilty?
If you look at this clip, you’ll see that the governor’s transgression is voicing criticism of President Obama and his administration’s handling of the economy. Jindal made his remarks after a meeting of the National Governors Association with the president at the White House. Jindal stated his views firmly but without rudeness, rancor or name calling.
Jindal stated that the Obama administration is “waving a white flag” on economic issues. “The Obama economy is now the minimum wage economy,” Jindal added.
In the telling of Time magazine,Jindal “launched into a repeated assault on President Barack Obama’s leadership in the shadow of the West Wing, in defiance of established bipartisan protocol.”
Imagine that—in an attempt to discuss the serious economic issues of the day, Jindal has uttered dissenting views “in the shadow of the West Wing!”
[Jindal’s] remarks were a sharp contrast from the focus on cooperation and carefully watered-down criticism of Obama offered by Republican Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, the chair of the NGA.
I am not a protocol officer, but I can’t imagine that in the past it was considered an outrage to voice policy opinions different from the president’s “in the shadow of the West Wing.”
I mean, why bother to come to Washington for a discussion if you must behave as a sycophant in an Oriental court?
Governor Dan Malloy, a Democrat from Connecticut, was likewise horrified by Jindal’s breach of court etiquette. Malloy quickly jumped before the cameras to say that Jindal’s remark was “the most insane statement I’ve ever heard.” Where has the tender Mr. Malloy been for the last few years? He added:
”Here’s a guy who didn’t come to any of the meetings except this one today, and has the nerve to pull that stuff on everyone—ten feet from the West Wing,” the Connecticut governor told TIME. “He doesn’t pay his dues to the organization, he doesn’t come to the meetings of the organization, and then he wants to swing for the fences for obviously political reasons. I didn’t mind pushing back.”
Let me see—calling Jindal’s remark “insane” is okay but measured criticism of the Obama administration’s economic policies is beyond the pale?
But it is the courtier mentality that bothers me. It is courtiers, not elected governors, who would quake at the notion of disagreeing with the head of state “not ten feet from the West Wing.” But America has more robust political traditions. Jindal knows that. “I want to make sure [Malloy] hears a more partisan statement,” said the Louisiana governor.
The effort of some in politics to create a court atmosphere around this White House is disturbing. Aside from the obvious affront to American traditions, It also puts this president, who lives a gilded life, in a bubble. He needs more, not fewer, encounters with those who do not share his views.
The economy has not revived fully since the Great Recession, and the Congressional Budget Office has forecast that half million Americans will lose their jobs if the president’s minimum wage hike goes into effect. Meanwhile, the president says he can bypass Congress with his phone and pen.
Yet Governor Malloy and Time magazine believe it is a breach of protocol to talk about such matters in the shadow of the West Wing. Where else should these matters be broached if not there?