The Case For (And Against) Bobby Jindal as VP

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Scott Olson / Getty Images

Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal speaks to guests at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center on June 8, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois.

Are you bored by Tim Pawlenty? Does the thought of Rob Portman put you to sleep? If you’re eager for a fire-breathing conservative to fill out the Republican ticket, there’s still hope. Reputable sources have been reporting that Bobby Jindal has slipped onto Mitt Romney’s short list. According to Reuters, Jindal appears to have cracked the final three. 

The case for the two-term Louisiana governor is straightforward. Jindal is a deeply accomplished guy: a Rhodes scholar and former McKinsey consultant, he nabbed a Louisiana cabinet post at 25, served a stint in George W. Bush‘s Administration, and was a member of the House before entering the statehouse in Baton Rouge. He has fiscal cred with the party’s anti-tax faction and a record of business-friendly policies. A Roman Catholic who opposes abortion, gay marriage and restrictions on gun rights, he has trenchant support among social conservatives, particularly Evangelicals.

The capstone on this glittering resume is a penchant for bone-rattling rhetoric that delights the party’s base. Just yesterday, Jindal blistered Obama as the “most liberal, incompetent president since Jimmy Carter.” Last spring, he drew notice for claiming that Obama tactically boosted gas prices to carry out his “ideology.” He’s “the best choice, hands down,” writes conservative columnist Philip Klein. If you’re a conservative, what’s not to love?

Plenty, actually. From a political standpoint, the pick doesn’t make much sense. Louisiana is a lock to go in Romney’s column. If you’re not tapping a No. 2 who can help you pick up a swing state, you want him or her to provide an entree into a demographic group. The selection of Jindal, an Indian-American, would avoid the questionable optics of an all-white-guy ticket in a rapidly changing nation; to some it might signal an effort on the part of the GOP to expand its demographics. But Jindal is a staunch conservative with little obvious appeal to swing voters. He would excite the party’s base, but sheer antipathy toward Obama has that box checked already.

From a vetting perspective, Jindal has obvious downsides. Among them are an element of his background sure to dominate cable chatter if he were selected. In December 1994, Jindal wrote an article in the New Oxford Review (teaser here; subscription required for full version) that details his presence at the dorm-room exorcism of a female friend. Without casting any aspersions on Jindal’s beliefs, it’s safe to say that Romney — who has dealt with an undercurrent of bigotry toward his own faith — likely wants to avoid a protracted discussion of religious practices that would overshadow his focus on the economy.

Jindal’s record as governor would also come under critical scrutiny. As the Wall Street Journal wrote in a glowing profile this week, Jindal “has won plaudits for his smooth handling of crises such as 2008’s Hurricane Gustav and the 2010 Gulf Oil spill.” As I wrote at the time, Jindal became a hero for his aggressive attacks on the federal government’s response to the spill. But his policy prescriptions were questionable. Jindal pushed hard for the government to construct a pricey barrier of sand berms to protect the state’s marshland from oil, and the project was ultimately OKed over the objections of scientists. An investigative commission subsequently found that the project was a $220 million boondoggle that captured little oil. In a way, it’s not surprising that Jindal’s view broke with the scientific community; as governor, he signed a bill that provides for the teaching of creationism in public schools.

Finally, there’s the comfort factor. At the start of the primary, Jindal was an outspoken supporter of Texas Governor Rick Perry. He didn’t endorse Romney until April, long after Perry left the race. Unlike Pawlenty, who has been a dogged surrogate for Romney, Jindal is not said to have a strong rapport with the former Massachusetts governor. While Romney has regularly invited rumored veep candidates (such as Portman) to campaign with him over the past few months, his meeting with Jindal on Monday was the pair’s first joint meeting of this phase.

The details of Romney’s vetting are under tight wraps, and the leaks that have sprung lately (Condi Rice?) seem more like a transparent attempt to change the conversation than a true reflection of his thinking. So it’s hard to assess whether Jindal’s really in serious contention. But as a matter of pure speculation, his shortlisting seems like a salute to the GOP base. The smart money is still on Romney tapping a boring white guy.

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SmilingSmartBlonde
SmilingSmartBlonde

It seems that the GOP considers selecting  VP candidates who oppose abortion, with the hopes to gain votes.

Sarah Palin was tapped for the VP candidate  job and now this Jindal, who is thought to be  scholarly but does not seem to understand the complexity of science, is being considered, presumably because of  his views about  abortion? 

Will the GOP attempt to distract voters from the other issues and zero in on abortion? After all abortion is a unifying issue for the GOP, right?  Hmm, maybe not. It should be interesting to watch...

Michael S. Andrews
Michael S. Andrews

"A Roman Catholic who opposes abortion, gay marriage and restrictions on gun rights, he has trenchant support among social conservatives, particularly Evangelicals...as governor, he signed a bill that provides for the teaching of creationism in public schools."

So...Bobby Jindal is just like the rest of the Evangelicals, planning to force his religion down the throats of our children by teaching them biblical nonsense not supported through scientific inquiry...and thus putting the USA further behind the rest of the world? ๏_๏

When will we wise-up to the fact that Conservative Evangelical thinking is dividing this country and setting the USA on a downward spiral towards Totalitarianism...?       ¯\(°_o)/¯

Paul Gee
Paul Gee

OBAMANOMICS 101.....8.2% UNEMPLOYMENT-25 MILLION AMERICANS OUT OF WORK- RECORD AMOUNT OF FORECLOSURES and BANKRUPTCIES UNDER OBAMA-and a RECORD 16 TRILLION DOLLAR FEDERAL DEFICIT......YES WE CAN ....RUN AMERICA OFF A CLIFF........

53underscore3
53underscore3

For:

Entertainment.  Hearty guffaws.

Against:

 Insane.

NYC_Esq
NYC_Esq

"If you’re not tapping a No. 2 who can help you pick up a swing state,

you want him or her to provide an entree into a demographic group."

Which swing states did Dick Cheney and Joe Biden help their tickets pick up?  What new demographic groups did they tap into?

NYC_Esq
NYC_Esq

"If you’re not tapping a No. 2 who can help you pick up a swing state,

you want him or her to provide an entree into a demographic group."What swing states did Dick Cheney and Joe Biden help their tickets pick up?  Which new demographic groups did they tap into?

 

tpaine1
tpaine1

Sean Trende has an excellent piece on this - Pawlenty and Rubio are tied and both in swing states.  Given Florida electoral college advantage, it should be Rubio.

RobCon
RobCon

Gov. Jindal is the best choice since he brings accomplishment, competence, name recognition and as President Lincoln once said of Gen. Grant...."he fights".

fhmadvocat
fhmadvocat

Two things against Bobby Jindal:

He gave a response to SOTU was panned, especially by conservatives.

Second, he used the term "Obamneycare", clearly linking the Massachusetts plan to the Affordable Health Care Act.  You can be sure the Demos won't let that slip by.

Karl Magnus
Karl Magnus

QUOTE: "At the start of the primary, Jindal was an outspoken supporter of Texas

Governor Rick Perry. He didn’t endorse Romney until April, long after

Perry left the race."

And Gov. Jindal should hold that initial thought for when Perry and he and run for POTUS/Veep in 2016. Willard is gonna get rolled like a stick on a Hula Hoop by ChiTown Barry this year.

Jindal's time isn't quite there. Give him time, willya? The GOP is all too eager to endorse and promote the potential candidate du jour.

~(Ä)~

tpaine1
tpaine1

But this is why we have elections - right?  Romney is in far better shape - both in the vote count and fundraising - than Reagan was against Carter at this point in the campaign.

Obama is going to lose Herbert Hoover sized and for, pretty much, the same reasons.

Diecash1
Diecash1

Obama is going to lose Herbert Hoover sized 

Not exactly a fact-based argument.  You're likely to be seriously disappointed in November when Mittens self-immolates.

Diecash1
Diecash1

NH hardly matters and I don't think Mittens can connect with the average PA voter so he loses there but wins NH. That doesn't add up to a win for him. Check out Nate Silver's work if you want to see just what a challenge Mittens is up against.

@sacred - I'll bring the brats and beer!

tpaine1
tpaine1

Well, actually I'm looking at the polling numbers of "likely voters" in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania and Obama has some real problems with "independents" - like only  a third of them are going to vote for him this time.

Tough to run on "most Americans EVER in poverty and on food stamps."

sacredh
sacredh

Let's have the hot dogs and marshmallows ready. It's a shame to waste a good fire.

Lakbima
Lakbima

Really? A observation of an event in 1994 in a college dorm is what is questioanble.   At least Jindal said it was about a specific girl and not about a "white girl" he dated is  a complicaton of many women, as the Barack "giver of success" Obama.  Where do these jokers from the limp/prog mentality get their logic skills?  Oh! right, they are taught self-esteem and not any valuable form of honest analysis.

John
John

IMO Jindal has two huge negatives:

1. The first is the terrible speech he gave a few years ago rebutting Obama's State of the Union address. He looked like a deer in the headlights. If it's the best he can do, forget about Jindal.

2. The second is that he's funny looking. I know looks shouldn't matter, but they do. He looks sort of like an Indian Don Knotts. The ridicule from the Left will start the moment he's nominated and will run 24/7 until the day he dies.

DarthYoda
DarthYoda

Geeky looks are devastating in presidential politics among low-information swing voters as Mondale and Dukakis can tell you.  Jindal and Pawlenty are both bad choices in light of that.

Rubio, Thune, or Portman are the options for good optics.

Lakbima
Lakbima

Ignorance, bias, prejudice,  when not stigmatized and not ridiculed by the media entertainment industry/Borg must be the drugs that gets you going every day.

moderate Guy
moderate Guy

Hmm, wasn't this "commission" that thought the berms a ..."

boondoggle that captured little oil" appointed by the loser Obama?  The most liberal, incompetent president since Jimmy Carter? There's a reliable source for you.

Jindal's "staunch conservativ[ism]", one imagines, would have plenty appeal to swing voters, or to any voters ... and political commentators, with IQ above single digits. As would Jindal's ability not to be bamboozled with pseudo-scientific ideas from the official liberal hymnbook, from evolution to the hoax of "global warming".

You really, really, are going to have to get a second opinion if you want to make the assertion of "smart money" to be met with more than derision, sparky. 

Inkan1969
Inkan1969

Poltical extremism psychotic enough to think that global warming and evolution are pseudoscience will not appeal to swing voters or any voters that think sanely.

moderate Guy
moderate Guy

And what, pray tell, would YOU know about sanity?

Inkan1969
Inkan1969

I know that posts like yours are a strong indicator of a complete loss of sanity.