The war of words almost makes it feel like they're in an election runoff, again. This time it's only Bobby Jindal running for governor, but that's not stopping Governor Kathleen Blanco from firing back at his criticisms of the "Road Home" program. It's almost like being transported back to October of 2003 in the weeks leading to Blanco's victory. The core issue is who is to blame if there is not enough money in the Road Home program for all 131,000 applicants. In a political year, that's going to lead to what you might call, "heated discussions."
Governor Blanco says, "We never get letters offering help. We get letters of criticism day in and day out and that's what I'm tired of, you know. Don't criticize. Ask what you can do to help and that's what I would like to hear from certain members of congress." Governor Kathleen Blanco never says exactly which members, but you should get an idea who she's referring to. In a letter from Congressman Bobby Jindal to Governor Blanco, Jindal points out an apparent shortfall in the Louisiana Road Home program of $4.4 billion, then goes on to write that he's "alarmed that at the current pace of distributions, the Road Home program may not have enough money."
Blanco fires back in a two-page letter writing, "I would encourage you to translate this to your voting record," citing that Jindal voted against a bill that would have sent $6.9 billion in federal dollars to Louisiana. Then, Jindal's spokesman, Trey Williams comes back with "It is disappointing that Governor Blanco has chosen to respond to Congressman Jindal's legitimate inquiry with unprofessional finger pointing."
Governor Blanco says, "We have willing members of congress and we have people who really have never offered to lift a finger." Congressman Jindal says, "I want to work with the governor, with the legislature, the rest of the delegation. We don't need partisan politics. We don't need finger pointing. What we need are real solutions."
Blanco says that real solution lies with the federal government. She says FEMA underestimated how many hurricane victims would need to rebuild, and that's why the feds did not give Louisiana enough money. She says Jindal needs to ask for more. Jindal wants to know how much more. And even though Blanco is not in the race, the state Republican Party is jumping in, firing off news releases to the media with questions for Governor Blanco. It is obviously a political attack against someone who claims to have no more political aspirations.