Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand on Tuesday (Feb. 23) said Bobby Jindal was an "idiot" that he regrets endorsing and admonished fellow Louisiana Republicans for resisting proposed tax increases aimed at closing the enormous budget shortfall left behind by the former governor.Remember that Normand is the elected sheriff of one of the most conservative counties in America:
Normand, the most popular elected official in conservative Jefferson Parish, lamented the state's budget crisis and its potential effects on law enforcement during a speech at the Metropolitan Crime Commission's annual awards luncheon.
"The state budget, what a mess," Normand said. "Bobby Jindal was a better cult leader than Jim Jones. We drank the elixir for eight years. We remained in a conscious state. We walked to the edge of the cliff and we jumped off and he watched us.
"And guess what? Unlike Jim Jones, he did not swallow the poison. What a shame."
Normand accused Jindal of "trying to rewrite history" since leaving office, attempting to deflect responsibility for budget gaps estimated at $943 million between now and the June 30 end of the fiscal year. The state is also estimated to face a $2 billion shortfall in the 2016-17 budget year.
"We're facing enough challenges today," Normand said. "We do not need to face the stupidity of our leadership as it relates to how we're going to balance this budget, and talking about silly issues, because we're worried about what Grover Norquist thinks. To hell with Grover Norquist. I don't care about Grover Norquist. Give me a break."If the sheriff of Jefferson Parish can call for tax hikes, maybe all is not lost in America.
Norquist, the founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform, is the leading promoter of anti-tax pledges signed by many Republican politicians nationwide.
"We have to look at ourselves critically as a party, and figure out where we are and what we're going to be about," Normand said Tuesday. "The fact that the Republican leadership in this state is now trying to blame Gov. John Bel Edwards, who's only been in office a little over 40 days, is absolutely incredulous to me.
"C'mon folks, we have to wake up. Let us be honest about what we're doing. Propose a solution. Let's work together and collaboratively toward an outcome that's going to make sense for us as a society."