Governor Bobby Jindal. His quixotic presidential campaign is about out of gas, and the fat lady is close to sing his swan song.
Things have gotten so bad on the campaign trail that even Duck Dynasty’s Robinson family, once strong Jindal supporters, has jumped ship to Donald Trump. Jindal’s national poll numbers fail to even register 1%. And with over 50% of Republican voters picking candidates who have never been elected to public office, any chance of growth for campaign Jindal seems slim to none.
Seven years ago, I wrote a column about the Louisiana Governor being the “fair haired boy” of the national Republican Party. He was loudly praised by the GOP nationwide and touted as John McCain’s running mate by the likes of The Wall Street Journal and Rush Limbaugh. His star lost a little luster with his poor response to the State of the Union speech in 2010. But Jindal has criss-crossed the nation, year after year, hoping to grab the golden ring for a 2016 run for the White House.
So what happened to Bobby Jindal? How could his campaign spiral into irrelevancy after so many years of campaigning? A number of things transpired that seemed positive at the time, but ended up being an anchor around the Governor’s neck.
Yes, Jindal was touted as the bright new GOP star, but the national Republican Party pushed him into the spotlight way to soon. Jindal had only a minor grasp of national issues, and no background in world affairs. He came across as simplistic, and was parodied as TV’s Mr. Rogers after his disastrous State of the Union retort. He was just too green and it was exceedingly early for Jindal to make waves on the national scene.
Once his presidential ambitions consumed Jindal, he turned his back on his home state. He failed to establish a record governing Louisiana that he could tout across the country. Once the national press began looking into his home state accomplishments, cynicism creeped into news stories about his abilities to run the country.
Try as he may, Jindal could not shake his image as just another politician. There are several other current governors running for the Republican nomination, and many voters view them as politicians out of touch and have discarded all of them, including Jindal.
This will sound a bit tongue in cheek, but Bobby Jindal is too short. When was the last time we had a little guy who was the leader of the free world? (I used the same line when I ran for Louisiana governor back in 1987. Congressmen Buddy Roemer and Billy Tauzin were both little guys well under six feet. And they both soundly trounced me. So much for short guy theories.)
But the main reason his current campaign hasn’t gained any traction is that Jindal has become the angry young man. Voters are not going to support a candidate who is fuming and furious all the time. Sure there are plenty of issues to get mad about. But voters have been worn out by Jindal’s constant tirades. He just seems to never have fun. Donald trump is amusing, entertaining and always seems to enjoy being on the campaign trail. Jindal rarely lightens up.
In a phrase, Jindal seeks to impose rather than propose. He demands that you agree with him, rather than pointing to a better road to take, and a superior method to solve the nation’s ills. Voter’s want inspiration, not a lecture. They want America to be exceptional again. Jindal offers worn out buzz words, rather than substance. His failure to recognize the need for the country to embrace a leader who offers a positive call to arms has been his downfall. Bobby Jindal chose a different path, and now he will have to live with the consequences.
Back home in the Bayou State, the state budget is in free-fall over Jindal’s lack of attention. The Louisiana Governor might want to turn on his radio. The band Matchbook 20 has a big hit still being played. There’s a line that should fit well in his future plans.
“If you're gone, maybe it's time to come home.”
“I’m going to apply all my knowledge and training from my Ivy League and Oxford educations,… and as Chief Executive Officer of the state Louisiana. Here it is– here’s my sophisticated analysis: we have one hell of a mess.”
Gov. Bobby Jindal