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Stephanie Grace: David Vitter is 'absolutely a problem' for Bobby Jindal's presidential campaign, and here's why

U.S. Sen. David Vitter; Gov. Bobby Jindal

Pretty much everyone who follows Louisiana politics knows that the state’s two leading officials, Gov. Bobby Jindal and U.S. Sen. David Vitter, aren’t allies. They’re not even “frenemies,” two people who don’t like each other but manage to work together toward common goals. Nope. The only apparent connections between these two are the… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Petal an example of why Louisiana film tax credits need better monitoring

If Malcolm Petal was a character in some big-budget caper film — perhaps even one of the numerous movies shot in Louisiana since the state instituted its generous production tax credit — he might well be the protagonist. Movies are big on anti-heroes these days, and Petal, a lawyer-turned-convicted-crook who admitted to ripping off the film… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Jindal seems like he’s just passing through, but it didn’t always seem that way

Governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA), a potential 2016 GOP candidate, speaks at a APPs State luncheon discussion on Common Core at the Mayflower Hotel on Feb. 5, 2015 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

Not long ago, prompted by a call from a national political reporter seeking to understand likely presidential candidate Gov. Bobby Jindal’s rise in Louisiana, I pulled out an old profile I wrote during his first campaign. And I have to confess that reading it again, after all these years and with so much water under the bridge, was… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Tom Benson, Brian Williams, Bobby Jindal, the Landrieus ... New Orleans' Mardi Gras floats 'gave everyone an awful lot to laugh at'

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON -- The Krewe of Muses'

What’s that they say? If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry? Well, Louisiana in general, and New Orleans in particular, have experienced so much angst since last Mardi Gras that this year’s Carnival floats gave everyone an awful lot to laugh at. Always a fascinating measure of the collective zeitgeist, the 2015 satire season hit all the… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Like George Costanza, Jindal finds his worlds colliding

“It’s just common sense,” a supremely exasperated George Costanza insisted during a classic episode of the old “Seinfeld” sitcom, after learning that his girlfriend Susan has started hanging out with his platonic pal Elaine. “Everybody knows you gotta keep your worlds apart.” When worlds collide, the punchline goes, “it blows… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Where has this Bobby Jindal been?

Associated Press file photo by CLIFF OWEN -- La. Gov. Bobby Jindal

I haven’t had the opportunity to write something like this in a while now, so it feels sort of strange. But here goes. Good for you, Gov. Bobby Jindal. Not for championing any in a long list of policies clearly aimed at impressing right-wing presidential primary voters instead of helping Louisiana. Not for supporting… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Cassidy defending a Landrieu legacy

How’s this for a re-election slogan? “Bill Cassidy, protecting Mary Landrieu’s legacy since 2015.” Sorry folks, couldn’t resist. The irony is simply too delicious. How else to characterize Louisiana’s newly elected Republican senator, the very guy who won by painting the Democratic incumbent as a patsy for President Barack Obama, fiercely defending his ousted… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Little Free Libraries need encouragement

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- Marguerite Gorab, left, visits with her neighbor, Kasey Trahan, while she browses the selection of a little free library in front of the home belonging to Marion and Robert Rosser along W. St. Joseph St. in Lafayette on Monday afternoon. The little library features a children's section and was stocked in part by other homeowners in the neighborhood, Gorab said.

Free the Little Free Libraries! Oh, what, you assumed those charming handmade bookshelves that popped up all over in recent years were free, beyond the reach of overzealous government officials? Apparently not in Shreveport. On the strength of a single complaint, the city’s Metropolitan Planning Commission… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: David Duke once again shows he’s ‘a petulant, resentful, racist, anti-Semitic, self-regarding and seriously thin-skinned low-life’

U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, left, and David Duke

So now David Duke is threatening to run against Steve Scalise. Talk about ungrateful. If anything, the former state representative, Ku Klux Klan leader, and way-too-close-for-comfort gubernatorial candidate should be thanking the Metairie congressman for inadvertently shining the spotlight back in his direction. Duke’s been old news for more than a decade now,… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: State's budget problems can't wait for Jindal to leave

Advocate staff file photo by BILL FEIG -- Aerial of the new State Capitol building and grounds.

In speaking to lawmakers over the last couple of years, I’ve heard a common refrain from both House and Senate members, Republicans and Democrats: Just wait until Gov. Bobby Jindal leaves office. Then — finally, they say — they’ll be able to stop factoring Jindal’s national ambitions into… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Bobby Jindal can't do a thing about same-sex marriage possibly becoming law; that's the way it should be

Associated Press file photo by JONATHAN BACHMAN -- Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

If the U.S. Supreme Court wraps up this year’s session by declaring same-sex marriage a constitutional right — a scenario far more probable than not, most knowledgeable observers predict — tourism officials in New Orleans will be ready. According to a recent Gambit story, the New Orleans Tourism and Marketing… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: The bigger Bobby Jindal tries to go, the smaller he looks in quest to get attention he craves

Gov. Bobby Jindal may have billed his European swing as an economic development mission on behalf of Louisiana, but his primary agenda has been obvious to anyone who’s turned on a television set, logged onto the Internet or followed his PR operation via email or social media. Far more than state business, Jindal’s trip was all… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Here's the gameplan Jay Dardenne, Scott Angelle, John Bel Edwards might use against David Vitter in race for Louisiana governor

When U.S. Sen. David Vitter used the opening forum of the 2015 gubernatorial campaign season to tout his leadership on a bipartisan congressional highway bill and vow to press ahead on a follow-up, one of his rivals seized on the opening. “This is precisely why we want to you stay,” Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne quipped,… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Even if Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal performs well in Iowa, here's the downside

FILE - In this Oct. 16, 2014 file photo, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La. speaks in New York. The presidential contest that's starting to take shape is exposing divisions among likely Republican candidates on the nation's role in global affairs. Among those outlining foreign policy this week: Bush, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal, as well as the party's 2008 presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s putting together all the pieces of a presidential campaign. He’s got a national consulting team, a think tank and a policy record that’s been carefully curated to appeal to Republican primary voters. He’s a regular on the political talk show circuit, and he’s about to check off another box when he heads to… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: How U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise's relationship-building talents got him into David Duke-led white nationalist event mess, but might save him too

Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., arrives for a meeting of the House Republican Conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, June 18, 2014. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise cultivates relationships. That’s not news to people here in Louisiana, who’ve watched the gregarious former state representative rise to one of Congress’ top posts in remarkably short order, although the rest of the country seems to be just figuring it out. It’s an instinct that’s helped him become such a successful politician.… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Scalise’s pitch to Duke supporters seems plausible

This is what I remember about the first time I met Steve Scalise nearly 20 years ago: He told me he was like David Duke without the baggage. I was a new reporter covering Jefferson Parish, and Scalise, now the majority whip in the U.S. House of Representatives, was just starting out in the Louisiana Legislature (I’m… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace's predictions for 2015: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will finally admit he's running for president; St. George breakaway attempt will lose luster

Politics is an unpredictable business, and even the seemingly safest bets can look foolhardy in retrospect. Case in point: As 2014 dawned, I confidently predicted that Louisiana’s U.S. Senate contest would be a nail-biter. Not exactly. Mary “Landslide” Landrieu finally got that elusive rout, but she found herself on the wrong end of it.… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Sneering press release, bragging about 'retiring' Mary Landrieu proof Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal out of line

Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana addresses activists from America's political right at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington in this Feb. 11, 2012, file photo. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Although he says he’s still praying over whether to seek the 2016 Republican nomination, clearly Gov. Bobby Jindal envisions himself as a potential president. So let’s say, for argument’s sake, that he runs and wins (bear with me here). And let’s say that one of his cabinet secretaries plans a trip to some state run… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: The Pledge against common sense

It’s known, in shorthand, as the pledge, and it sounds straightforward enough. “I, ____________, pledge to the taxpayers of the state of ____________, that I will oppose and veto any and all efforts to increase taxes.” That’s the entirety of the “taxpayer protection pledge,” promulgated by the Washington, D.C., group Americans for Tax Reform.… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: How fiercely ambitious U.S. Sen. David Vitter has gone from maverick to establishment

Sen. David Vitter, R-La., left, listens as Chuck Adams, with Tempo Insulation. voices his concerns regarding the Affordable Care Act, Tuesday, March 18, 2014, in West Monroe, La. Vitter spoke about health care and minimum wage and took questions and concerns from West Monroe-West Ouachita Chamber members during his talk at the West Monroe Convention Center. (AP Photo/The News-Star, Dacia Idom) NO SALES ORG XMIT: LAMON101

An important seat was up for grabs in Washington, D.C., and back in Louisiana, senior Republicans didn’t want to take any chances. So rather than risk an open-primary free-for all, they set out to winnow the field, identify a consensus candidate and present voters with a united front. The year was 1999. The office was the… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Why the phrase 'all politics is local' seems to be fading after Bill Cassidy vs. Mary Landrieu, other elections

You’ve surely heard the one about how all politics is local, the rule of thumb popularized by the late U.S. House Speaker Tip O’Neill. After watching this year’s endless elections, I’m wondering whether the saying has outlived its usefulness. Consider the U.S. Senate election.… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: With Cassidy’s election, La. belongs to the GOP south

Congratulations, Louisiana voters. You’ve elected yourselves a Republican U.S. senator. If that sounds like a shallow assessment of U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy’s decisive win over three-term incumbent Mary Landrieu, chalk it up to the fact that Cassidy pursued a one-dimensional strategy of relentlessly linking Landrieu to unpopular President Barack Obama and his policies, with the Affordable… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Deja vu all over again at NOPD

Former New Orleans Police Superintendent Richard Pennington’s rough welcome to town 20 years ago is the stuff of legend. Recruited by newly elected Mayor Marc Morial to take over a deeply dysfunctional force, Pennington soon learned that things were even worse than he’d thought. An FBI drug sting, it turned out, had unearthed evidence against a dozen… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: It's easy for Louisiana GOP to be unified now, but just wait until next year

The Republican bigwigs who converged at Huey’s Bar in Baton Rouge on Monday billed the lunchtime gathering as a unity rally. And indeed, Republican leaders are unified around the common cause of ending Democrat Mary Landrieu’s 18-year U.S. Senate tenure next month and completing a remarkable clean sweep of statewide offices. They should enjoy it… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Edwards’ campaign the real reality show

Advocate staff file photo by Travis Spradling -- In this March 17, 2014, file photo, former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards speaks at the Baton Rouge Press Club in Baton Rouge, La. With enthusiasm and vigor that belie his 87 years, Edwards is running for Congress in south Louisiana in what would be his second political resurrection.

Call it the reality show former Gov. Edwin Edwards should have had in the first place, instead of “The Governor’s Wife,” A&E’s grotesque look at his new life with his much younger third bride, which he now concedes was “horrible.” “You may quote me as saying there’s nothing real about… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: McAllister, once written off, could prevail at polls

As Louisiana entered this season of unpredictable elections, one certainty seemed to be this: U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister, the charismatic, self-professed family man who stormed the 5th District just last fall, handily beat his party’s establishment choice and then proceeded to get caught kissing a married aide on surveillance film leaked by someone… Continue reading →