One effect of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan being on the GOP national ticket: On the first Wednesday after the first Tuesday in November, we get our governor back.
Oh joy, groan Democrats, and some others who find Gov. Bobby Jindal much less of the reformer he says he is. His return to full-time work in Louisiana is not, however, the end of Jindal’s national profile.
As Stephanie Grace pointed out in The Times-Picayune, Jindal’s position was either a “silver medalist” or “bronze medalist” in the vice presidential Olympics. Either one, we suggest, indicates the governor will continue to be a player in national politics.
Maybe he’s not going for the gold right away, but certainly national office is not out of the question for him someday. Just not right now.
For those happy enough to see Jindal out of state, he will doubtless be campaigning for the national ticket of Mitt Romney and Ryan for the next 80 or so days. The day after that, though, the governor’s travels — except, reasonably enough, for a deserved family vacation this winter — will be considerably reduced.
The political speculation will be fueled anew by the results of the fall elections. Should Romney and Ryan topple President Barack Obama, then President-elect Romney might well reach out to Louisiana’s governor to be part of his team in Washington.
Alternatively, if Obama is re-elected, Jindal will have promised to serve out his term as governor, apparently ruling out a run against U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., in 2014.
Some conservatives disagree: “A Romney/Ryan win pushes Jindal greatly towards challenging Landrieu. If not, serving out his present position and a stab at the presidency in 2016 seems likely,” commented LSU-Shreveport political science professor Jeff Sadow in his blog.
If Jindal does not pursue the Senate job, he is free to run for the presidency if he wishes to do so. Being out of office would not hurt: Romney has been free to run, having been out of office for the last six years. If anything, holding another job is an inhibition for presidential ambitions, distracting one from the campaign.
The Republican Party, having likely come close in its presidential Olympic bid, may well be involved in recriminations. The “what might have been” thinking will be destabilizing at the least. Many will look to Jindal for a fresh start.
That means that Jindal will still have something to say about national politics even during an enforced leisure in 2013. We doubt if the governor will be any different: Bobby Jindal is the sort of man who spends at least a third of his time on his next job.
Get used to it.