ALTERNATE THEORIES

What's Jindal Trying to Prove?

On Friday, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal became the first GOP leader to announce he will reject a portion of the stimulus cash, inviting an onslaught of critics including fellow GOP governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger. Jindal's own second-in-command, Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu criticized Jindal sharply: "Jindal needs to choose whether to represent the state of Louisiana or be the spokesman for the national Republican party." Landrieu, a Democrat, says Louisiana should be "very aggressive" in laying claim to its stimulus cash. Meanwhile, Think Progress' Matt Yglesias offers an "beggar thy neighbor" theory: If Louisiana reduces unemployment benefits, would the state's poor decamp to more generous neighboring states? "It would be the equivalent of Mike Bloomberg fighting poverty by demolishing all the low-income housing in New York and hoping the poor people all move elsewhere," Yglesias explains. Or are Jindal's national ambitions driving a largely symbolic gesture? The GOP picked Jindal to deliver his party's respones to Obama's address to Congress on Tuesday. Mississippi's Haley Barbour, who is considering following Jindal's lead, points to a power struggle within the Republican party: "The last time Republicans made a comeback, it was led by Republican governors."