Melissa Harris-Perry, 10/12/13, 10:42 AM ET

Dear Bobby Jindal, Republicans can’t live on optics alone

Melissa Harris-Perry’s “Open Letter” goes out to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on his fancy new ad campaign that tries to shine a light on achievements of...

GOP governors ‘driving America’s comeback’? Not so much

Updated

Americans are officially over Congress’s debt default and shutdown shenanigans. This week, an Associated Press poll found Congress’s approval rating has sunk to an abysmal 5%.

Five. As in one, two, three, four, five. It’s probably safe to say the last place anyone is looking for leadership to steer us through this mess is inside the U.S. Capitol–especially on the Republican side of the aisle.

An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released Thursday found Americans have reserved the lion’s share of contempt for Republicans and the Tea Party.

But according to one of the GOP’s most prominent leaders, that’s only because Americans are watching the wrong Republicans. If we want to see the real model of the modern Republican Party, he says we should be looking–not toward Washington, but someplace much closer to home: inside our governor’s mansions.

But I think this guy should clean up before he starts inviting folks over to the house. Which is why my letter this week is to my own governor.

Dear Gov. Bobby Jindal:

It’s me, Melissa… again.

Caught your fancy new ad campaign that’s trying to shine a spotlight on the achievements of Republican governors. I know you’re hoping the bright light will blind us from seeing the spectacular train wreck that is the Republican Party in Congress. and as chairman of the Republican Governor’s Association, you certainly know how to give good face. The rollout of the campaign features the governors who are, on the surface, the embodiment of the kind of inclusion the GOP claims to be embracing.

Gov. Susana Martinez. Governor Nikki Haley. And of course, you.

But a party cannot live on optics alone. Your campaign promises to eventually introduce us to the accomplishments of all of the country’s 30 Republican governors who, according to the campaign theme, “are the ones who are driving America’s comeback.” You want Americans to know that Republican state leadership is “where the rubber’s hitting the road… where you can see measurable results.”

And you know what? We should get to know more about those Republican governors. Like how they sign the worst voter suppression laws in the country. Because, I don’t know about rubber hitting the road. But when pen hit paper, and North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed the state’s new voter-ID law, he made sure that there’d be some measurable results at election time. Like making it harder for African-Americans and young people to vote.

And we should know about how some Republican governors seem to be off-roading. Like Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett last week. I’m not exactly sure how his analogy of same-sex marriage as the legal equivalent to incest is “driving America’s comeback.” More like driving even more people away from your party.

But hey, you might have a new Republican governor to introduce folks to this year if Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli wins the November election. Then you can tell Americans all about his failed crusade against anal sex, after the Supreme Courtrejected his attempt to reinstate Virginia’s anti-sodomy law. Have fun explaining that one.

And while you’re at it, try explaining to the eight million people who will remain impoverished and uninsured because their Republicans governors rejected the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion. You could start that explanation right at home, since your refusal of the Medicaid expansion has left 200,000 of your constituents without access to health care.

Seriously, Bobby, your own state senators are begging you to take action about the brain-eating amoeba infecting our state’s public water system. So maybe this isn’t the best time to invite the American people to take a look at how Republicans are running things during the Washington shutdown.

Maybe you ought to focus a little less on the ad campaign, and a little more on adding chlorine to the water. Unless letting the amoeba eat our brains is part of the strategy for convincing us Republicans are doing a good job.

Sincerely,

Melissa

Bobby Jindal

GOP governors ‘driving America’s comeback’? Not so much

Updated