Poor form in Louisiana

Back in April, two Louisiana state Republican legislators introduced a “birther” bill, clearly to score some political points and try to make themselves relevant, I suppose. Specifically, the measure required that any presidential candidate seeking to be on the Louisiana ballot would need to swear out an affidavit that he was in fact a U.S. citizen, then offer a birth certificate to validate the claim.

Less than a week later, the office of Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) said he would sign the bill if it made it to his desk.

I have just one question surrounding this issue. Are you serious?

Why Louisiana? Other states are considering similar measures, so the foolishness of such a move is not lost solely down on the Bayou. But come on folks. Don’t the state’s lawmakers have enough to worry about with unemployment, high gas prices and other pressing domestic concerns to be moving legislation that will not improve one life inside its borders? Not to mention the ongoing cleanup from the BP oil spill that continues to haunt every major industry along the Gulf.

This is bad politics turned into bad policy. And it needs to stop.

But wait, it gets more laughable. Less than two weeks after President Obama succumbs to some invisible pressure to settle once and for all his own birth on American soil, Gov. Jindal somehow feels compelled to do the same.

We all knew Jindal is of Indian origin, but that’s where it ended. No one ever questioned his citizenship. So why does he choose to release his own birth certificate over the weekend? His office was apparently responding to an editorial in a local New Orleans newspaper that said Jindal might face similar “birther” questions should he ever decide to run for president if a Sen. David Vitter (R-L.) bill ever became law.

But here, again, bad politics and bad policy meet. No one honestly believes Sen. Vitter’s bill will go anywhere in the U.S. Senate. In fact, there are some who would just as soon see Vitter himself leave the august body given his recent peccadilloes.

And now the astute governor takes this weak bait and responds? What’s sad here is this latest move by Jindal says more about his political rookie-ness than any desire to run for the highest office in the land.

I'm sure the voters want to see an Obama-Jindal debate where the two spend an hour talking about who's more "American" than the other...

Republicans need to think long and hard about what their agenda is going to be moving into this presidential election cycle. So far, I haven't heard much in the way of substance, and heaven knows there's plenty of issues to talk about. 


Armstrong Williams is on Sirius/XM Power 169, 7-8 p.m. and 4-5 a.m., Monday through Friday. Become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/arightside, and follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/arightside.