Specht: A tale of two politicians, Perkins and Jindal

This is a story about a young politician who captured the hearts and votes of the electorate. He was Ivy league educated, well spoken, and full of ideas to move his community forward. His election was about hope and promise. 

Following his inauguration, this “rising star” quickly rubbed the establishment the wrong way by implementing his own agenda.

However, national political groups saw his potential on a much bigger stage and began to court this young politician.

Soon, the allure of this recognition caused the young politician to lose focus on his current office, opting to enter the bigger race. Many of his followers felt abandoned. After all, the young politician hadn’t accomplished all that he promised during the campaign just a short time ago.

Those concerns seemed to fall on deaf ears, however, as big money and fame from the national politicos continued to distract the young politician.

Little by little, local support began to erode, but the rising star either didn’t see it, or didn’t care. But, the bigger stage was just that, bigger. His lack of a solid record and broader experience was picked apart by his opposition. 

With neither local support nor a broader following, the young politician’s star began to fall.

One may surmise the previous story is about Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins. Another may surmise it is about former Governor Bobby Jindal. Both would be correct, in part.

As Jindal’s aspirations for the presidency increased, many felt as if he had forgotten about Louisiana. His bid for the White House in 2015 ended quietly, as did his political career.

In the case of Perkins, the story is still being written, although the parallels are uncanny. Shortly into his first term as mayor, Perkins has allowed himself to be courted into a statewide race for U.S. Senator.

It is not known whether or not Perkins is expected to win against Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy. The odds are not currently in his favor. Perhaps this is just a stepping stone to another run for another office down the road.

Perkins suffers from much the same political shortcomings of Jindal. There are those who would ask, “What has he done for Shreveport?” With such a short record, the question may be difficult to answer.

Jindal was well into his political career when he became governor of Louisiana, serving previously under Gov. Mike Foster, and as a Congressmen. Perkins still has much of his political career ahead of him.

One can hope Shreveport’s mayor learns from the story of Jindal. Should he lose in November, Perkins would be wise to refocus on his “day job” and build a resume he can run on and gain widespread support. The more problems he solves in Shreveport, the more his star will rise. 

Shreveport’s goals and dreams match up with Perkins’ political aspirations. Hopefully he sees that now.

David Specht is editor and publisher of BIZ. Magazine.