If all who love liberty are rightly upset by an administration’s harassment of conservative groups for political ends, we should be even more outraged when the administration, while playing political hardball, mistreats an entire state’s ordinary, apolitical citizens.
From the earliest days of his presidency, Barack Obama has shown a particular animus against Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, and has repeatedly held Louisiana citizens hostage to that animus. The latest outrage came via a May 2 letter from the national Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) disapproving Jindal’s brilliant semi-privatization of state hospitals that, in less than a year, already has resulted in better patient services across the board – thus putting at risk hundreds of millions of dollars in ordinary federal reimbursement for indigent care.
We’ll return in a moment to a few more details of this latest cynical maneuver. First, though, consider the litany of Obama’s abusive treatment of Louisiana; the Bayou State is surely the jurisdiction most victimized by the Obamite combination of wrath and pettiness. It began early, after Jindal’s (poorly received) 2009 State of the Union response, which represented the first major high-profile critique of Obama’s gauzy new administration. Clearly, Jindal got under Obama’s skin.
Just two months later, the Obama team was notoriously slow to respond to the massive Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Among a host of mistakes documented by a national commission on the disaster were clearly politicized decisions on numerous fronts, including on the allocation of oil-containing booms. Worse (and despite some media fact-check reports to the contrary), the Obama bureaucracy kept obstacles in place that blocked specialized foreign skimmers from helping to contain the spill — in part, it seems, to placate American unions.
President Obama’s most public early response to the crisis was to ostentatiously upbraid Jindal for supposedly politicizing the problem. (Jindal had sent the administration a letter that was actually a routine administrative matter.) The administration followed by implementing a moratorium, and then “permitorium,” on drilling in the Gulf, doing serious harm to Louisiana’s economy — and continued the slowdown in such contradiction to court rulings that a federal judge found the Obama team officially in contempt of court.
Since then, the administration’s battles against Louisiana have been almost unrelenting. They have been combined with national policy decisions, such as the blow to Louisiana refineries from Obama’s refusal to approve the Keystone pipeline, that have hurt Louisiana worse than most states.
Probably the most destructive, even malevolent, example of harassment came in Obama’s suit attempting to block the widespread school-voucher program Jindal had implemented. Parental satisfaction with the program has been astonishingly high, surpassing even the highest expectations of most voucher advocates, but the Obama Justice Department has tried several different legal means to prevent parents, mostly black, from having educational choices for their children.
That wasn’t the only Obamite attempt to misuse the courts. In its bloodlust to nail New Orleans cops for what almost certainly were inexcusable shootings in a bridge incident six days after Hurricane Katrina, Obama Justice Department officials not only countenanced an illegal blog campaign to poison the well but then deliberately helped cover up its involvement. A federal judge, appalled by the corruption, felt obliged to throw out the convictions and order a new trial, writing that the misconduct was so great that “there is no case similar, in nature or scope, to this bizarre and appalling turn of events.”
If that case seems a bit remote from direct Obama involvement, the president’s response to Hurricane Isaac in 2012 clearly was a personal call. As I reported at the time, Obama refused to provide fairly routine Stafford Act relief to Louisiana’s storm victims — in direct contradiction to a fiery post-Katrina speech in which he indicated that such money should be virtually automatic.