Amid clippings, Jindal’s gems for a 2016 race
Has Bobby Jindal already won the 2012 Veepstakes?
He’s not — or not yet — been selected as vice presidential candidate by Republican nominee Mitt Romney, but the Louisiana governor has received the kind of attention he craves from the speculation surrounding the possibility.
Regular readers of this page have already seen many of those columns, from such conservative luminaries as George Will, about Jindal’s qualities as a policy wonk — or a man believed to be a wonk by the national press.
The commentary has not been sparing on his appearance — he “bombed,” as many say — in January 2009 in response to new President Barack Obama’s first address to Congress.
Still, the quotes are mostly positive about the “youngest-ever director of Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals” (The Daily Beast). Not to mention the comments from Romney himself, when in Baton Rouge for a campaign fundraiser: “What I have seen watching this governor in the short years he’s been here has really opened my eyes and people across the country to see what one person can do.”
However, the quotes that Jindal and his political guru Timmy Teepell are likely to enjoy the most are those of value next time — “next time” being the 2016 race, if Jindal is not on the ticket this year, and if Romney should lose this year.
Think about that possibility. Then think about the orgy of scapegoating within the party that will go on once the ticket has lost. Then read this, from The Washington Post: “Jindal would be very, very well received among evangelicals. I hear nothing but rave reviews from evangelicals in Louisiana about how he has given them access and developed a relationship that is better than any other governor that they have ever had. What most evangelicals have been saying to the campaign is that it has to be somebody pro-life,” said Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention.
The role of evangelicals in a 2016 battle is certainly not going to be any less, given their discomfort with Romney this year.
Land goes further: “And he (Jindal) also counterbalances the elitist claim (because) he is an up-from-the-ranks guy, and it helps to have someone on the ticket who is from Main Street, not Wall Street.” That sort of message would be part of being the Not-Romney in 2016.
Another conservative view that would sound particularly relevant if 2012 turns out poorly is that of Quin Hillyer in The American Spectator.
A New Orleans native, Hillyer noted that there are complaints that Jindal is “sometimes too inaccessible, and that his own geniality masks a serious political ruthlessness in his administration.”
“In truth, there is a certain air of LBJ-like political muscle — definitely minus the corruption, thank goodness — that comes from the administration,” Hillyer said, in a shrewd comment that has been overlooked by the national press. “On the other hand, in the hardball realm of national politics in which the Left and its media allies have no compunction about smearing conservatives relentlessly, conservatives could probably use a measure of ruthless effectiveness.”
It is not necessarily in this year’s competition for vice president, but in a 2016 debate over what could have been done better, that “ruthless effectiveness” has a real ring to it.
Lanny Keller is an editorial writer
for The Advocate. His e-mail address is email@example.com.