Bobby Jindal Checks In
07-21-2009
With all of the political noise generated by the Democratic and Republican back-and-forth on healthcare, you may have missed this little item posted yesterday, and described as an “ideas” piece on health care reform by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. The op-ed caught my attention, not only for its content, but because it is literally the first thing I can recall seeing or hearing from Jindal, since his disastrous televised response to President Obama’s first address to Congress in February.
 
For me, it raises the obvious political question of whether this op-ed was placed on Politico.com (a website popular with Washington insiders and national political elites) as a means of beginning the long process of rebuilding Jindal’s credibility as a presidential contender. From a political buzz perspective, the past six months have not been kind to Jindal. A recent Gallup poll of potential 2012 contenders showed Mitt Romney edging out Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee, but Jindal’s name is nowhere to be found. It is true that Gallup limited the respondent’s choice to a list of six predetermined Republican candidates, but the fact that Jindal didn’t even make the survey's candidate cut speaks volumes about the changed political landscape he now faces. On top of that, it is another governor and presidential prospect, Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, who will be giving the high-profile “introductory” speech to members of the Republican National Committee in San Diego next week.
 
Still, political observers often suggest that with more than three years still to go before the next presidential election, the smartest thing a sitting governor can do is to focus on effectively governing his own state. You’ll notice that Jindal begins his op-ed piece by discussing just how busy, bipartisan, and successful he has been with Louisiana’s most recent legislative session (unlike, say, Gov. Palin?). I also keep coming back to the fact that Jindal just turned 38 in June, which means he is still about 10-15 years away from the political sweet spot for a presidential candidate’s age. While Jindal would probably like to get back to being a player on the national political scene sooner rather than later, as evidenced by his op-ed piece, other signs seem to indicate that he is more likely in it for the long haul.

Comments:


Posted On: 07-23-2009 08:41:17 by Jim Splaine
I think it's a bit of over-the-edge political observationism to suggest that Bobby Jindal had a "disastrous" response last Winter to the President's speech. I remember seeing it, and I thought it was just "an off night" for him, as you had earlier observed. Maybe it depends on one's definition of "disastrous." I consider the Titanic sinking a disaster. A bad speech is just a bad speech. I remember seeing Bill Clinton's loooooong 1988 introduction of Mike Dukakis at the Democratic National Convention, and I don't think that was "disastrous" either. It was a blip on the highway to the Presidency. Candidates have their ups and downs. All of them have their tough moments. Some of the more successful ones have more staring moments than not. I expect that as 2011 comes around, few will remember Jindal's bad moment(s) as he continues his national exposure, or visits our state. Substance does count in the NH First-In-The-Nation Presidential Primary, not one strike-out long ago on a cold Winter night.


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