Wednesday, 18 July 2012 15:38

If it’s Wednesday, it must be Air Jindal in Ohio or Romney Campaign Elsewhere

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Jindal-airIf it’s Wednesday, Jindal must be in Ohio or campaign elsewhere

It’s Wednesday, so it must be Ohio. Or, is it Montana?

It is Wednesday in Ohio, if you happen to be Governor Bobby Jindal, apparent candidate for Vice President on the Mitt Romney ticket.

Once again, Jindal has left the state to do politicking for Romney and other GOP candidates.


Today, Jindal will be in that battleground state, exhibiting his orator skills, gaining political chits and coming back home to a state in a state of confusion, if not chaos.

Despite any turmoil and uncertainties over little matters such as healthcare and education being experienced by those Louisiana residents and their families who stay here seven days a week, Jindal is now becoming a legitimate possible VP candidate, at least in the minds and words of those writing articles and columns for the national political junkies to read.

If name recognition is of any consequence to Romney’s decision for his number two, here’s how the likely VP nominees are doing as per a Google Search:

Bobby Jindal 5,330,000

Tim Pawlenty 4,350,000

Marco Rubio 9,210,000

Robert Portman of Ohio 8,940,000

Why “of Ohio”?  To be fair, that name might have more competitors opposed to Jindal, Pawlenty and Rubio.  Chances are good there might be a Robert Portman imposter roaming about  with the same identify.  After all, we do want to get this game right, don’t we?

Yet, the VP sweepstakes is no game.

There’s a lot riding on who would back up Romney.  Certainly, nobody ever heard of Sarah Palin of Alaska until she was named by her benefactor, John McCain.  Now, she’s “a gotcha”, ya betcha, now that she’s gone rogue.

So, in keeping with Bayoubuzz’s goal to educate the world on the “Good, the Bad, the Pretty and the Ugly of Louisiana Governor Jindal”, here’s just a slice of what is being written about him:

Gov. Bobby Jindal took to the skies again today to join fellow Republican Mitt Romney campaigning in Columbus, Ohio.

Jindal, who is considered to be on the “short list” as a running mate with Romney in his effort to unseat President Barack Obama, has joined the expected Republican presidential nominee at several campaign stops, including one in Baton Rouge on Monday.

Besides campaigning with Romney, Jindal is to attend a fundraiser in support of Josh Mandel's campaign for U.S. Senate. Mandel, a Republican who is currently Ohio state treasurer, is trying to upset Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown.

Jindal is expected to return to Baton Rouge later today.

This is the third time Jindal has flown to other states this month and each departure was on a Wednesday.

On July 4, the governor flew to Toledo, Ohio, to take part in a bus tour the following day through Ohio in support of Romney’s presidential campaign. On Friday, he joined the bus tour in Pennsylvania and flew back to Baton Rouge that night.

On July 11, Jindal flew to Seattle to attend a fundraiser in support of the Republican Governors’ Association. He then went to Spokane, Wash., to attend a fundraiser in support of Republican candidate for governor Rob McKenna, currently the state’s attorney general. McKenna’s major opponent is former Democratic Congressman Jay Inslee.

McCain and his team tried to match history against history by picking former Alaska governor Sarah Palin — she was the first Republican woman on a national ticket — but it blew up in their faces (to put it kindly).

Picking Jindal would allow Republicans a historic do-over; he would be the first Indian-American on either parties’ national ticket and, unlike Palin, is much more of a known commodity — and hence less of a risk.

If you want to know how powerful a historic vice presidential pick can be — and how it can drive a positive storyline for days (or even weeks) in the campaign — look no further than when Al Gore chose Joe Lieberman as the first Jewish vice presidential pick in 2000.

There’s also this x-factor: The Indian-American community can be a major source of campaign cash if they are activated to give. Picking Jindal as VP would ensure huge buy-in — figuratively and literally — from this community.

* Flashy...enough: Jindal isn’t oozing charisma like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie or Florida Sen.Marco Rubio. But neither is he labeled as a vanilla pol in the way that Portman and Pawlenty have been cast.

Jindal wouldn’t likely overshadow Romney — as Christie and Rubio clearly would — but neither would he be lumped in with the “boring white guy” pick that might not get Romney the sort of bump he is looking for.

There are other ways where Jindal is a sort of middle-of-the-road pick too. His resume — he spent several terms in Congress before being elected governor in 2007 — allows Romney to pick someone who knows how the levers of power work in Washington but who has largely built his reputation outside of the nation’s capitol. He’s an insider’s outsider. Or an outsider’s insider. Whatever. You get the point.

Remember that the first rule of vice presidential picking is “Above all, do no harm”. That means that a sort of “warm porridge” guy (he’s not to hot or too cold) like Jindal could have real appeal to Romney.

* A reform record: In his four-plus years in office, Jindal has built a very impressive record that would fit nicely with Romney’s promises to bring conservative principles to the federal government.

Jindal’s top priority coming into office was ethics reform — political corruption is as common as good beignets in Louisiana — and he got it done quickly. Jindal has also pushed hard to reform the state's education system, an effort that won him praise from none other than the Wall Street Journal op-ed page. (Make sure to read HuffPo’s Jon Ward on Jindal’s impressive record.)

While Jindal’s aggressiveness in pushing through his agenda has made him his fair share of political enemies (Democratic operatives in the state loathe him), it has only bolstered his image with voters. Jindal was overwhelmingly reelected last fall and remains quite popular even in these lean fiscal times.

* Super wonk: While Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan gets credit within the Republican party as their wonkiest national voice, Jindal has a case to make that he actually deserves that title. This is someone who was running the Louisiana department of health and human services at 25 and two years later was appointed the executive director of the National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare.

If Romney wants to prove that he is serious about repealing President Obama’s health care law and replacing it with a more conservative approach, there is no one on the Republican side — with the possible exception of Romney himself — who knows the issue better than Jindal.

Picking someone with widely regarded policy chops like Jindal would also allow Romney to make the argument that he made a governing choice not a political choice in his vice presidential nominee — a sign that he is ready, willing and able to step into the office and do the job on day one.

* Fresh face: The Republican professional class knows that the stereotype of the party as a bunch of old white guys is terrible for them — and has to change.

Picking Jindal would address much of that criticism. Not only is he Indian American but he is also just 41 years old — more in Barack Obama’s generation than Mitt Romney’s.

With Jindal as the vice presidential nominee, Republicans would not only get the White House if Romney won but would also have a presidential nominee in waiting after four or eight years. Building that next generation of leaders — particularly those who are not white men — is of critical importance for Republicans’ long term political prospects. Naming Jindal could go a long way to solving their image problems going forward.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal made an unfortunate national debut in 2009, when his response to President Obama’s State of the Union address was widely panned by critics. He’s had more practice since then, but still isn’t completely error free. On a Republican National Committee call a few weeks ago to respond to the Supreme Court’s ruling on the healthcare reform law, Jindal nearly called the law “Obamneycare” -- even though it was an attack term he had never used before.

Republicans point to Jindal’s intellectual prowess and wonky policy knowledge as factors that could save him in the debates. That, and low expectations -– the same thing that benefitted former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in 2008……

Jindal, Pawlenty and Ryan are all well versed in domestic policy, but they do not have foreign policy backrounds. That would put them at a distinct disadvantage against Biden, who was chairman of theSenate Foreign Relations Committee before becoming Obama’s running mate. “It would be pretty easy to show that weakness of the whole ticket on that,” said a Democratic strategist who asked not to be named.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday the Express also announced its supporters' choice for Romney's running mate.

In a survey of over 8,000 supporters, Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio was the favorite, with 66% of the vote.

"It is not a big surprise that Marco Rubio is the favorite candidate of the tea party for the vice-presidential nod," Express Chairman Amy Kremer said in a statement. "He ran as a strong fiscal conservative, and he has delivered with his record in the U.S. Senate for the last two years. The only surprise is that he led the other excellent candidates by such a wide margin."

Those other candidates are: House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, who garnered 49.9% of the tea party VP vote, Florida Rep. Allen West, with 46.8%, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, with 44%, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, with 41%, and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann with 40.9%.

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty – three men believed to be leading vice presidential contenders – ranked low in the Tea Party Express results.

Before being elected governor, the majority of Jindal’s work experience came from the fields of education and healthcare; ironically, two areas that are facing tremendous hardships under his leadership. Since taking office, over 40% of money alloted for Louisiana’s higher education entitieshas been slashed. Over $600 million has been stripped from the state’s colleges and universities.

In addition, Governor Jindal has implemented a school voucher program that deregulates the K – 12 educational system in Louisiana. Jindal’s plan requires little to no accountability. Schools with no universal curriculum — some teaching students from DVDs, some side-stepping over proven science and history — will receive taxpayer money to poorly education Louisiana’s children. Several lawsuits were filed against Jindal by the Louisiana Federation of Teachers. In addition, an effort entitled “Recall Bobby Jindal” has been launched to remove the Governor and some of his legislative allies.

Since the Supreme Court found the Affordable Care Act constitutional, Governor Jindal has announced that he will not implement the law, despite the fact that Louisiana suffers from a serious deficit. On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” when asked if he was going to simply not provide coverage to Louisianas who need insurance, Jindal responded with, “every governor’s got two critical decisions to make. One is do we set up these exchanges? And, secondly, do we expand Medicaid? And no, in Louisiana, we’re not doing either one of those things. I don’t think it makes sense to do those. I think it makes more sense to do everything we can to elect Mitt Romney to repeal Obamacare.”

Jindal’s refusal to accept ACA funds seems to not be deterred by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals’ recent announcement that the department must face funding cuts that will have a financial impact on the state of almost $860 million. These cuts will overwhelmingly affect the uninsured and under-insured. Those suffering significant consequences are Louisiana’s most vulnerable residents: the elderly, disabled and those with developmental disabilities. The Louisiana State University hospital system will lose $122 million in the 2013 fiscal year, combined cuts to the system will total a 24% reduction in budget.

Last year, Jindal was re-elected with virtually no opposition. Conventional wisdom suggests that was more of an indicator of the state of the Louisiana Democratic Party than Jindal’s actual job performance. Jindal would solidify Romney’s efforts to court extreme conservatives, and he may also play to the idea that the GOP is becoming an inclusive party that welcomes various races and ethnicities. He would absolutely be the much-needed link between the Romney campaign and Evangelical votes, as Jindal has a long history of pandering to this constituency that may, otherwise, find discomfort in Romney’s Mormon faith.

Mitt Romney has said that he will run America like a corporation. Considering Bobby Jindal’s background is in education and healthcare, two systems headed for disaster under his watch, maybe Louisiana’s governor doesn’t have the work product to prove that he’s ready for the job.





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