July 26, 2012

Fitting the Veep to the Agenda: Part 1

I thought it’d be interesting, while Romney’s away, to rate the potential VP’s in terms of how well they fit into Romney’s agenda.  Since Romney himself has placed an overwhelmingly emphasis on the economy, we have a handy method of making this assessment: rate the Veeps in each category of Romney’s oft-stated 5-point economic plan.  Here’s how Romney described this plan in last night’s Brian Williams interview:

Well, let me describe– actually, there are five things that I believe are necessary to get this economy going. One, take advantage of our energy resources, particularly natural gas, but also coal, oil, nuclear, renewables. That’s number one. A huge opportunity for us, and doing so is gonna bring manufacturing back, because low-cost, plentiful energy is key to manufacturing, in many industries.

Number two, trade. I want tre– to dramatically increase trade and particularly with– with Latin America.Number three, take action to get America on track to have a balanced budget. Now those three things, by the way, are things which we have not been doing over the last few years, which I think are essential to getting this economy going again.

Number four, we’ve got to show better training and education opportunities for our current re– workers and for coming workers. And then finally what I call restoring economic freedom. That means keep our taxes as low as possible, have regulations modern and up to date, get health care costs down. These things will restore economic freedom.

My rating system is pretty simple.  I’ll rate each potential VP on a scale of 1-5 in each category.  A rating of 1 means the VP will hurt the Romney narrative in this category; a rating of 2 means the VP will neither hurt nor help, etc.

Now how am I determining what constitutes a 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5?  Roughly but, I think, reasonably.  A rating of 3 indicates the VP has meaningfully dealt with this issue but it hasn’t been a focus of his career.  So, for instance, a generic governor would receive a 3 for the “balanced budget” issue.  All governors balance budgets, but most are constitutionally required to do so, diminishing the accomplishment.  A rating of 4 indicates the VP has made the issue a key goal in his career but hasn’t necessarily accomplished much of significance.  Someone like Chris Christie might receive a 4 for the “economic freedom” plank, due to his prominent- but somewhat unsuccessful- push to lower NJ taxes.  A rating of 5 indicates the VP has made the issue a key goal in his career and has major accomplishments towards that goal.  A Condoleeza Rice might warrant a 5 in the “trade” plank, due to her work as Secretary of State.

To the ratings.  First up:

Rob Portman

Energy (2)- Looking through the 103 bills Portman has sponsored, I find no hint of an interest in energy.  The words “energy”, “coal”, “oil”, and “gas” are nowhere to be found in the titles.  Portman is from a state which produces coal but he seems remarkably unconcerned with the resource.

Trade (4)- As the former US Trade Rep, Portman’s experience here is substantial and unquestioned.  That said, he convince Bush to oppose a potentially popular tariff on Chinese steel.  This could potentially complicate Romney’s efforts in the rust belt (hat tip: Mass Con).

Balanced Budget (4)-  On the one hand, Portman was the director of OMB for a year; a substantial bit of experience.  On the other, unlike a trade Rep, which feels something like a diplomat, the head of OMB is closely associated with his President and his President’s policies.  Bush’s budget policies complicate any effort to make this experience an unalloyed positive.

Education/Workforce Training (2)-  Again, a close look at the list of Portman sponsored bills yields no sense of emphasis on this issue.  Education shows up nowhere in the bill titles and the only bills dealing with work seem to be workers benefits bills.

Economic Freedom (4)- I find 11 bills Portman bills dealing with minor tax credits, 3 bills dealing with regulations and 1 bill dealing with health-care.  Nothing major, but a sign that Portman is well-versed on these issues and has a story to tell.

Total Score: 16/25

Next up:

Bobby Jindal

Energy (5)-  As a governor of a gulf state, and one who dealt with energy related issues in the aftermath of the BP Oil spill, Jindal has significant experience on energy-related matters.  Additionally, he has taken to the national stage to criticize the President’s energy policy.

Trade (1)-  Jindal has conducted no trade missions and, while in Congress, had a record as something of a protectionist (he voted against CAFTA).  That said, he shares Romney’s belligerent attitude towards China’s currency manipulation.  Ultimately though, he might complicate Romney’s message of expanding trade.

Balanced Budget (3)-  Jindal has balanced his budget and stands in for a generic Governor here.  While I can find plenty of instances of Jindal calling for a national balanced budget amendment, he doesn’t seem to have been a particular leader in this regard.

Education/Workforce training (5)-  Earlier this year, Jindal passed the most sweeping education reforms in the country.  Additionally, Jindal has focused specifically on workforce training, implementing reforms in ’08 which have led to write-ups in the Economist and to 3 consecutive years at #1 in Business Facilities’ state rankings of workforce training programs.

Economic Freedom (5)-  Between Jindal’s passage of the largest income tax cut in Louisiana history, his various reforms designed to boost the state’s business climate  (reforms which have shot Louisiana up several spots in various “business friendly” rankings), and his health-care experiences in the late 90s, Jindal is very well positioned to further Romney’s message of economic freedom.

Total Score: 19/25

I’ll rate the next batch of Veeps either later today or on Sunday night.

by @ 10:43 am. Filed under 2012 Misc., Bobby Jindal, Mitt Romney, Veep Watch

July 19, 2012

NRO Veep Finalists Poll

Yesterday, National Review conducted a VP poll of the four men who most frequently turn up on alleged Veep shortlists: Tim Pawlenty, Rob Portman, Bobby Jindal, and Paul Ryan.  They had nearly 16k respondents.  The results?

Paul Ryan: 54%

Bobby Jindal: 28%

Rob Portman: 10%

Tim Pawlenty: 7%


Now, obviously this excluded at least one very popular potential Veep (Rubio).   Still, it’s another data point.

by @ 2:21 pm. Filed under Bobby Jindal, Tim Pawlenty, Veep Watch

July 4, 2012


The Hill reports that Tim Pawlenty and Bobby Jindal will be stumping for Romney in Pennsylvania and Ohio as a counterweight to Obama’s bus tour:

 The two Romney surrogates will hit the battleground states on the same days that Obama launches his first campaign bus tour of the year through those swing states…

A Romney campaign official said Jindal and Pawlenty would be in “several of the same areas” as the president “to make sure the Romney message gets out.”

What to make of this pairing of Pawlenty and Jindal?  Pawlenty is practically Romney’s most frequent surrogate; Jindal has never appeared with Romney anywhere.  Pawlenty has obvious appeal in Rust Belt states; Jindal’s appeal is less obvious.  It seems strange to pair the two for anything, at this stage, let alone a major campaign swing.  I haven’t put much stock in the Eagle’s rumblings but this seems awfully coincidental.  If Pawlenty and Jindal are the finalists, it makes sense to have them “squaring off” and a busy 4th of July weekend would camouflage the significance.

Although I’m happy to finally see some sign that Team Romney is aware of Jindal’s existence, I’m not sure how I feel about this theory.  Jindal has never stumped for Romney before.  It would be more than passing strange to expect him to engage in a high-stakes tryout now.  It’d be like giving a great minor league prospect his first at-bat in game seven of the World Series.    At any rate, it may be worth watching some of these events.  Oh, and Happy Independence Day!

by @ 9:13 am. Filed under Bobby Jindal, Tim Pawlenty, Veep Watch

July 2, 2012

VP Ideological Rankings

Chris Moody of Yahoo helpfully digs up the ideological rankings of some of Romney’s top potential running-mates.  You should read the whole thing but I’m going to highlight two rankings- National Journal’s and the Club for Growth’s- and list each person’s standing within the caucus (those with higher percentiles are more conservative).  Note: these are last year’s rankings.

National Journal:

Kelly Ayotte: 17th most conservative Senator (64th percentile within caucus)

Rob Portman: 35th most conservative Senator (25th percentile within caucus)

Marco Rubio: 13th most conservative Senator (72nd percentile within caucus)

Paul Ryan: 150th most conservative House member (38th percentile within caucus)

John Thune: 24th most conservative Senator (49th percentile within caucus)


Club for Growth:

Kelly Ayotte: 8th most conservative Senator (17th percentile within caucus)

Rob Portman: 29th most conservative Senator (38th percentile within caucus)

Marco Rubio: 10th most conservative Senator (79th percentile within caucus)

Paul Ryan: 101st most conservative House member (58th percentile within caucus)

John Thune: 20th most conservative Senator (57th percentile within caucus)

There’s also a little bit of info about the Governor’s under consideration- Jindal and Pawlenty primarily- but, generally, Governor’s receive fewer grades: basically, CATO is the only game in town.  Jindal and Pawlenty scored 2nd and 3rd in the last CATO rankings, both receiving A’s.


by @ 11:52 am. Filed under Bobby Jindal, Tim Pawlenty, Veep Watch

June 23, 2012

Bobby Jindal: King of the Grassroots

The Grassroots has a new king, per Hot Air’s newest Vice-Presidential Survey, and his name is Bobby Jindal.  Here are June’s results:

Some ballpark math.  More than a quarter of respondents prefer Jindal, while the two front-runners  (according to Intrade) clock in a less than 2% (Portman) and just over 4% (Pawlenty).

As Hot Air’s Patrick Ishmael notes, this is the first survey which Marco Rubio hasn’t led.  May’s results had (again, ballpark) Rubio collecting around 40% of the votes while Jindal managed just 5%.  So maybe the putative front-runners will yet catch the grassroots’ imagination.  For now though, we have a new king.  Your move, Mitt.

by @ 9:16 am. Filed under Bobby Jindal, Veep Watch

June 20, 2012

No One Knows, NO ONE

As soon as Mitt Romney had clinched the Republican nomination for president several weeks ago, I wrote a column with my own list of prominent persons who might be considered for vice president. I have been observing and writing for presidential politics long enough to know it was no more that. My list included Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana, Governor Robert McDonnell of Virginia, and Governor Susana Martinez of New Mexico. Soon after that, more lists appeared, many of them including other names. The person I have thought to be the most likely choice, Senator Portman, has appeared on virtually every list, and seems to be the first choice of several observers.

Speculation about a vice presidential choice is one of the most inevitable, and least useful, aspects of a presidential campaign. With the exception of 1956 Democratic nominee Adlai Stevenson, only the nominee makes the choice after a highly confidential vetting process (a process heightened after 1972 Democratic nominee Geroge McGovern’s initial choice had to resign from the ticket after public disclosures about his health).  I say “least useful” because so much that is written and said about who will be chosen before the choice is announced is wrong.

Already, we read published speculations that former Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota is the new frontrunner, if not the certain choice, to be picked by
2012 presumptive nominee Mitt Romney. Senator Portman, these speculations also say, has been eliminated from consideration. Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, it is also said, is the second choice, and Governor McDonnell has also been taken off the list. The basis for most of these speculations is that certain politicians have “bonded” with Mr. Romney, and others have not.

It appears, however, that the vetting process has only begun, and that Mr. Romney is only now becoming better acquainted with the men and women he might choose.

Publications and networks, most of which have been hostile to the Republican cause, are breathlessly reporting “unnamed sources” with inside information about who is in and who is out. A recent such report, allegedly from high sources in the Romney campaign, stated that Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, and a major Romney ally, was not being vetted. Mr. Romney, on the campaign trail, promptly refuted the report, stating that Mr. Rubio was being fully vetted.

My rule of thumb is that ANY report before the official announcement, no matter how high (always anonymous) the sources from which it came, is to be viewed with considerable skepticism. Ninety-plua per cent of such reports, to be blunt, are false. (And those that are true are lucky guesses.)

Only one person knows who the nominee will be (Mr. Romney) and only one other person (Beth Myers, who he placed in charge of the nomination vetting process) knows fully who is being vetted, who is not, and the status of that process. As the date of the announcement approaches, more facts may be known, but the final choice will be a very tightly kept secret. The whole purpose of drawing out the process, other than the practical efficacy of the vetting, is to create suspense, and maintain news interest in the campaign. It is unlikely the final choice will be announced any time soon.

A lot of folks with various connections to the Romney campaign, to the Republican Party, and even to Mr. Romney personally, will be tempted to
parade their self-importance (hiding behind anonymity) to members of the news media by “leaking inside information.” And virtually everyone (myself included) will indulge in speculation about who the final choice will be.

But only Mitt Romney and Beth Myers will really know the facts, and they won’t be revealing anything until the final choice is made.

A little anecdote from the 2008 campaign: I was told by VERY HIGH sources the day before Senator John McCain was to make his vice presidential choice known that it would be then Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. Living in Minneapolis, I drove over to the governor’s residence in St. Paul that evening to see if the secret service were now protecting the residence, as they would have to do if Mr. Pawlenty had been chosen. No secret service were visible. In fact, they WERE quite visible that night accompanying Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska (who had been chosen.)

Mr. Pawlenty might be chosen this time, or it might be Mr Portman. It might be someone else. But no one knows who it will be now, and until a few hours before the announcement, no one but Mitt Romney will know.

You don’t have to wait for the fat lady to sing, but it will be a good idea to watch for which vice presidential hopeful is suddenly joined by a small horde of figures with little devices in their ears.


-Copyright (c) 2012 by Barry Casselman.  All rights reserved. Please visit Mr. Casselman’s personal site

May 17, 2012

More Jindal Movement

Two major conservative voices chiming in for Jindal + a major health care op-ed.

First, Grover Norquist:

Romney would do well to have a wing man who can astutely explain the flaws in President Barack Obama’s policies and lay out the GOP’s innovative, pro-growth alternatives. There are many attractive prospects out there, but Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal can do not just all that, he has already implemented the sort of bold reforms at the state level that are now desperately needed at the federal level.

Education could be the No. 1 civil rights issue of our time and has major implications for the nation’s future. When it comes to education reform, Obama has offered gimmickry, with contests and calls to throw more money at the problem, lest he upset the teachers union bosses who help bankroll Democratic campaigns.

Jindal, in stark contrast, last month signed one of the most significant school choice bills in U.S. history. It allows 380,000 students from low- and middle-income households across Louisiana to escape substandard schools. Sadly, Obama’s 2013 budget would trap 1,600 low-income Washington, D.C., children in failing schools by ending the District’s successful and popular school voucher program. Students in the D.C. voucher program have a 91 percent graduation rate, compared with 55 percent for union-run D.C. public schools. Meanwhile, Jindal just created the nation’s second-largest school voucher program, second only to the one Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels signed last year.

While Obama has doomed the future of children from some of the District’s poorest sections, Jindal has offered hope and opportunity to hundreds of thousands of families — empowering parents, rewarding success and instituting accountability.

There is probably no issue area where Obama’s policies have been more economically destructive than energy. And there is perhaps no person better suited to explain the White House’s energy policies than Jindal — who has 88 percent of the offshore U.S. rigs on his state’s outer continental shelf…

If Romney wanted to provide voters with a clear choice on tax policy, he would be hard-pressed to do better than add Jindal, one of 13 governors committed to not raising taxes, to his ticket.

While the president’s budget entails historically high levels of spending and taxation, it’s also noteworthy because it never balances during any time window. Jindal has balanced a budget every year as governor and never resorted to higher taxes.

In fact, Jindal has made his commitment to veto all tax hikes a key selling point in his successful efforts to persuade employers to expand or relocate to Louisiana. Any site selection consultant will confirm that businesses care a great deal about certainty — and under Jindal, they know that if they invest and create jobs in Louisiana, their tax burden will not rise.

And the Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein:

It is hard to predict who Mitt Romney will ultimately choose as his vice presidential running mate. But it is clear which pick would be the strongest: Louisiana’s Republican governor, Bobby Jindal…

Jindal’s strength is that he threads the needle between these two competing models. He’s more exciting than Portman and more experienced than Rubio…

With his deep understanding of policy and ability to absorb facts, Jindal would easily pass the “Meet the Press” test. That is, Romney could announce he was picking Jindal on a Friday, and the campaign could book him on every political show that Sunday, confident he’d be able to field questions on any subject while remaining on message. He’d also be able to run circles around Vice President Joe Biden in a debate…

Having taken over Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Jindal presided over a remarkable revival. Louisiana rocketed from 47th place in Chief Executive Magazine’s ranking of the best places to do business, to 13th. The state’s unemployment rate, currently 7.1 percent, has consistently been below the national average. He cut taxes and spending, and enacted tough ethics reforms in a state that had been notorious for political corruption. This year, he signed landmark education reforms to expand school choice and improve teacher performance.

Finally, a snippet from an excellent Jindal Repeal and Replace Op-Ed:

The American health insurance marketplace simply does not work as it should today.  It actually does not resemble any reasonably functioning insurance system.  The idea of insurance should be to pool risk over large populations and time to protect individuals against unpredictable and potentially overwhelming risk.  Obviously, different people with different income, assets, and medical conditions will have different levels of overwhelming risk.  Yet, health insurance, especially individual coverage, today often effectively screens out the sick, offering coverage when we least need it, and too often simply offers prepaid health care coverage.

A good way to understand the failings of the marketplace is to compare health care insurance with other insurance.  For example, most of us don’t file claims with our auto insurers for every ding our car doors get in the parking lot, knowing the resulting increase in premiums and hassle in paperwork aren’t worth the payout.  We either pay to fix the car door ourselves or live with the scratches.  Yet, we have been trained to expect first dollar coverage for minor procedures, while more and more employers and plans are capping coverage with episodic, annual, or lifetime limits.  Also, most of us aren’t frustrated at the end of the year that our homes haven’t flooded or burned down, expecting refunds for our property insurance premiums.  We don’t set fire to a bedroom at the end of the year to ensure we get our money’s worth!  Yet, many patients flood their doctors’ offices or refill prescriptions early towards the end of the year once they have exceeded their deductibles, determined to get their money’s worth.

Part of the problem is that our health insurance system has evolved over time almost by accident in response to wage controls, tax policies, and other pressures so that most Americans get their coverage through their employers.  The resulting subsidy and economies of scale are important benefits, but it is time to modernize our health care system since neither the status quo nor the President’s prescribed fix is acceptable.

All three articles are worth reading in full.

-Matthew E. Miller can be contacted at Obilisk18@yahoo.com

by @ 1:02 pm. Filed under 2012 Misc., Bobby Jindal, Veep Watch

May 11, 2012

At Last, Jindal Buzz

I feel I’ve been spending the better part of a year shouting into a hurricane where Bobby Jindal’s concerned.  First, my all but ignored draft efforts; more recently, the seeming deafening silence on the VP front, as all sorts of poorer choices drew murmurs from the chattering class and apparent interest from Team Romney.  Well, at last, someone has written a major story (Frum’s didn’t count, as Jindal was tacked on to a broader argument) about Jindal’s excellent qualifications and obvious appeal.  From CBS News (via RCP):

The Louisiana governor has a tendency to speak faster than his audience is able to think, so when it came time to deliver the Republican response to President Obama’s first address to a joint session of Congress in 2009, the most important speech of Jindal’s political life, he made sure to take it slow.

What resulted was an oratorical disaster.

On live national television, Jindal spoke in a jarring, singsong pitch that replaced his natural rapid-fire monotone. Even longtime friends found it difficult to concentrate on what he was saying, and the reviews were almost uniformly withering.

The man who had been regarded as the future of the Republican Party was suddenly the butt of a national joke.

“The delivery was absolutely awful,” Jindal recalled of the notorious speech in a phone interview with RCP from his Baton Rouge office on Wednesday. “But if you look beyond the delivery and actually look at the substance, the whole point of my speech at that point in time was to say that the president is proposing a nearly $800 billion stimulus plan. Our country can’t afford this level of spending and borrowing.”

And with that, Jindal launched into a blizzard of statistics on the growth of the GDP, a list of negative outcomes of health care reform and, for good measure, a quotation from Napoleon Bonaparte about leadership before finally coming up for air several minutes later…

Though the years since that 2009 speech have been undeniably fruitful for Jindal on the legislative front, it was his leadership during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill that helped solidify his reputation in Louisiana and rejuvenated his standing among national Republicans as a party heavyweight…

“The difference between him after the BP oil spill and his Democratic predecessor [Gov. Kathleen Blanco] after Katrina could hardly have been more stark,” Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour — whose neighboring state suffered a lesser impact from the most recent environmental disaster in the Gulf — told RCP. “He was decisive, he was knowledgeable, and he was working hard for his people. There was never any question — there was no uncertainty…”

As the counterweight to a presidential nominee blessed with wealth and privilege, Jindal’s stirring life story as the child of Indian immigrants — who bestowed upon himself at the age of 4 the all-American name of the youngest son in “The Brady Bunch” — could be especially appealing.

A Rhodes scholar who helmed the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals — the state’s largest agency — at the almost absurd age of 25, Piyush “Bobby” Jindal’s aptitude and credentials for the nation’s second-highest office would be difficult for anyone to question seriously.

Like Jindal, Romney was an academic overachiever who may never have been the life of the party but was the kind of kid that moms hoped their daughters would bring home one day, and the two men are similar in mind-set and temperament.

Though he does not share Romney’s decades of business experience, Jindal did have a brief post-collegiate stint working as a business consultant at McKinsey & Company before entering politics, and he shares the Bain Capital co-founder’s hyper-analytical approach to governing.

Able to point to a long list of accomplishments in a state with a constitutionally strong governorship, Jindal is among those who most clearly fit the bill.

“A lot of the thrust of the Romney campaign is going to be that on the other side you have flash and dash and big speeches, but we need someone who can run a country,” said one Republican consultant who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “It’s not just, ‘Are you better off than you were four years ago?’ It’s going to be, ‘And do you think these guys can make it better over the next four years?’ And in order to double down and make sure that answer is ‘no,’ I think there’s a pretty good chance he would pick someone with executive experience.”

Read the whole thing, of course.

-Matthew E. Miller can be contacted at Obilisk18@yahoo.com

by @ 7:37 am. Filed under Bobby Jindal, Veep Watch

May 3, 2012

Bobby Jindal for VP, says…David Frum

After dismissing the case for Rubio based on economics (Latinos vote Democrat because Latinos are generally poorer and Rubio is unlikely to sway many of them) Frum gives a Jindal pitch:

And to the extent that symbolic politics can sway votes, Republicans should be looking to groups more receptive to the core Republican message than Mexican-Americans are likely to be.

The Asian-American population is also growing fast, and many Asian groups — Vietnamese-Americans and Indian-Americans to name only two — are gaining their success in small business. They are natural targets for Republican recruitment.

In Britain, Australia, and Canada, conservative parties have done well with these immigrant groups. In fact, in the federal election of 2010, Canada’s Conservatives won a plurality of the vote among voters who spoke Chinese at home.

For these voters, inclusion does matter. Symbols of inclusion canwork.

As symbols go, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is a doozy: a brilliant policy mind with an inspirational life story who has run an effective government in corruption-tainted Louisiana. He can talk data with Romney and credibly sit at the kitchen tables of the struggling middle class.

Which leads to this thought: Bobby Jindal for vice president!

As is usually the case, I don’t entirely accept Frum’s premises.  But his conclusion?  Well, obvious answers make for strange bedfellows.  First Things contributor Pete Spiliakos echoes Frum, while also questioning his premises.

David Frum thinks that Bobby Jindal would be a better vice presidential candidate than Marco Rubio.  So do I, but I can’t endorse Frum’s reasoning.  Frum writes that Republicans are better off going after Asian-American voters with Jindal as VP than going after Latino voters with Rubio as VP.  I think that Jindal and Rubio are better contrasted based on who is better prepared to be President, who has more political accomplishments and who would be better at helping Romney sell his message.  I think Jindal wins on all of those counts (though I can see grounds for reasonable disagreement on the last one.)

It’s nice to see Jindal receiving some much-deserved buzz.  Next up: getting Jindal and Romney in the same room at the same time.

*Check here and here for the first two parts in my Jindal for Veep series.

-Matthew E. Miller can be contacted at Obilisk18@yahoo.com

by @ 8:48 am. Filed under 2012 Misc., Bobby Jindal, Veep Watch

April 30, 2012

The Case for Bayou Bobby: Part 2 (The Catholic Vote)

In the first part of this series, I discussed three ways a VP Jindal would help the Romney ticket; in this part, I’ll add a fourth.  I’ve noted a few features of the Jindal coalition in passing (urban, concentrated in Southern Louisiana, etc) but I haven’t really sketched the Jindal voter (a voter to whom Jindal seems more appealing than a traditional Republican).  I will do so now.  He is urban, white, and Catholic. There are two ways of showing this; unfortunately, the easier of the two- looking at exit poll data- isn’t available to us.  I was able to find comprehensive exit poll data for Louisiana elections in 2004, 2008, and 2010, but only fragments from articles for Jindal’s elections.  The second option is more roundabout but equally helpful: find the Louisiana parishes (counties) where Jindal performed unusually well, and then look to survey data (the census, where available) to mark the salient features of these parishes.

First, I wanted to know: where did Jindal perform unusually well?  To that end, I’ve looked at every major Louisiana election since 2000: 4 Senate contests, 3 Presidential elections, and 3 Gubernatorial elections.  Republicans won 8 of these contests and lost two (Landrieu ’02 and Landrieu ’08).  To facilitate comparison, I’ve separated these elections into Jindal elections and non-Jindal elections.  I’m collapsing a lot of spreadsheet work into one table and one map, highlighting just 3 parishes: Jefferson Parish, Orleans Parish, and Caddo Parish.

I picked these three parishes because A.)  They’re all urban (containing Metairie, New Orleans, and Shreveport respectively), and B.) Leaving aside population trends (Orleans lost a significant number of voters after Katrina), they don’t appear to have become significantly more Republican over the last decade.  I.e, the same kinds of voters are voting for Republicans and Democrats.  As you can see, Jindal has run significantly ahead of the average Republican in Jefferson and Orleans,  while basically mirroring the average (adjusted for statewide numbers) in Caddo.  Here’s a map, with Jefferson and Orleans in red, and Caddo in blue.

What distinguishes Jefferson and Orleans, on the one hand, from Caddo, on the other?  The Catholic vote.  I’ve had trouble finding census data (at least on the census site) of religious affiliation at the county level, so I’ve turned to city-data.com.  Now, city-data breaks down religious affiliation in a funny way, seemingly excluding some non denominational churches and historically black churches, but it nonetheless provides a good estimate of the proportion of adherents who affiliate with one of the major denominations.  Here are the charts it provides on the these three parishes:

Jefferson Parish

Orleans Parish

Caddo Parish

Jefferson and Orleans are bursting at the seams with Catholics; Caddo, not so much.  All three, by the way, have significant African-American populations (though Orleans’ is more than twice as large, as a percentage of the population, as Jefferson’s) and Caddo’s is actually somewhere between Orleans and Jefferson’s, so an over-performance with African Americans cannot explain Jindal’s numbers.

So Jindal does really, really well with urban Catholics.  Why does this matter, you wonder?  Well, three reasons.  First, these folks tend to be Louisiana’s swing voters.  They’ve been more resistant to Louisiana’s reddening than voters in the Protestant north.  Mary Landrieu, for instance, carried Jefferson Parish in ’08 and performed creditably there in ’02.  Catholics in Jefferson and Orleans are pretty much the only white voters that strong Democrat candidates can occasionally win.  So they’re not that conservative.

Second, these folks tend to be Democrats.  Again, elsewhere in Louisiana, white Democrats have been voting increasingly Republican for better than a decade: party affiliation seems to be little more than an affectation.  Not so in Jefferson and, especially, Orleans.  Rather wonderfully, Louisiana’s elections website provides parish-wide voting data by party affiliation, race, and race within party affiliation, for every single election.  I’ve therefore gone through the data for 5 elections-  the three Jindal contests and the last two Senate contests- and created tables highlighting two numbers: the percentage of the vote the Republican candidate won, relative to the white vote, and the percentage of the  non-Republican electorate the Republican candidate won (assuming he won 95% of the Republican vote), in Jefferson and Orleans.

White voters- especially white, Catholic Democrats- still tend to vote for strong Democrat candidates in Orleans and (to a lesser extent) Jefferson.  Even strong Republican candidates hit a barrier in Orleans.  Not so with Jindal.  It’s worth emphasizing just how impressive Jindal’s numbers are in Orleans.  The “non-Republican-electorate” is, in fact, heavily Democrat (over 80% Democrat) and heavily African-American (over 60% African-American).  Given a ceiling of 20% of the African American vote, Jindal won probably 50% of the white Democrat/Independent vote in Orleans (a population which is majority Catholic).  The average Republican probably wins about 20%.

Which brings us to the third, and final, reason Jindal’s appeal to Catholic voters matters: because there are a goodly number of important counties, in important states, with a robust Catholic vote.  I’ll highlight just two states: Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Here’s how this is going to work: I’m going to present you with two maps for each state; one simply colors in the Catholic counties (with a darker color representing a more Catholic electorate); the other is a recent close election (the Kasich election in Ohio and the Toomey election in Pennsylvania).  Ok.

Ohio-Summit County, Cuyahoga County, Lucas County, Lorrain County, Hamilton County

Pennsylvania- Lehigh County, Erie County, Allegheny County, Lackawanna County, Chester County, Bucks County, Delaware County, Montgomery County

Notice something?  These are the Democrat or swing areas in both states.  In Pennsylvania, outside of Philadelphia, these are pretty much the only places Democrats win in competitive elections.  But they’re not irretrievably Democrat.  Just like Louisiana, they’re chock full of urban Catholic Democrats and Independents (the light red color represents counties with 45-55% Catholic, per city-data, and the darker color represents counties above 55%); but also just like in Louisiana, these voters occasionally swing the other way.  Bobby Jindal has flipped these sorts of voters before, even when other strong Republican candidates struggled.   A VP Jindal is well-positioned to expand the Republican map into these urban, heavily Catholic counties which dot the mid-west and the rust-belt.

-Matthew E. Miller can be contacted at Obilisk18@yahoo.com

by @ 4:14 pm. Filed under 2012 Misc., Bobby Jindal, Veep Watch

April 24, 2012

And the Winner Is…

First, yesterday’s results:

Chris Christie

Mean: 7.66

Variance:  4.79

Jon Kyl

Mean: 5.06

Variance: 3.78

Marco Rubio

Mean: 7.88

Variance: 2.98

Jeb Bush

Mean: 5.91

Variance: 5.93

And now the Final Standings.  Note:  A few of the numbers of past contestants have changed because I checked my work and discovered basic arithmetic mistakes.  First, the weighted Veep Strength rankings (calculation method here).

Veep Strength

1.  Paul Ryan: 8.57

2.  Marco Rubio: 7.48

3.  Bobby Jindal: 7.24

4.  Chris Christie: 6.93

5.  Bob McDonnell: 5.98

6.  Tim Pawlenty: 5.66

7.  Mitch Daniels: 5.52

8.  Rob Portman: 5.29

9.  Pat Toomey: 5.27

10.  Luis Fortuño: 4.81

11.  John Thune:  4.07

12.  Jeb Bush: 3.86

13.  Mike Huckabee: 3.59

14.  Jon Kyl: 3.22

15.  Cathy McMorris Rodgers: 2.44

16.  Richard Burr: 1.52

Mean Rankings

1.  Paul Ryan: 8.72

2.  Marco Rubio: 7.88

3.  Bobby Jindal: 7.87

4.  Chris Christie: 7.66

5.  Mitch Daniels: 6.72

6.  Bob McDonnell: 6.59

7.  Tim Pawlenty: 6.43

8.  Luis Fortuño: 6.28

9.  Rob Portman: 6.20

10.  Pat Toomey: 6.05

11.  Jeb Bush: 5.91

12.  Mike Huckabee: 5.84

13.  John Thune: 5.38

14.  Jon Kyl: 5.06

15.  Cathy McMorris Rodgers: 4.68

16.  Richard Burr: 3.60



Paul Ryan is the runaway victor of the Race42012 Veepstakes.  Below him, Rubio, Jindal, and Christie form a clear second-tier.  Below them, Daniels, McDonnell, and Pawlenty form a clear third-tier. 

-Matthew E. Miller can be contacted at Obilisk18@yahoo.com

by @ 7:04 am. Filed under Bobby Jindal, Veep Watch

April 20, 2012

Results From Thursday’s Veep Poll

Yesterday, I asked you to rate how content you’d be if John Thune, Bobby Jindal, Mike Huckabee and Mitch Daniels were selected as Romney’s running-mate.  I put the data in a spreadsheet and calculated two numbers for each candidate: the mean (average) and the variance (how much the numbers were spread out).  Here are the results:

John Thune:

Mean: 5.38

Variance: 3.05

Bobby Jindal:

Mean: 7.87

Variance: 4.64

Mike Huckabee:

Mean: 5.84

Variance: 6.32

Mitch Daniels:

Mean: 6.72

Variance:  5.02

And now, the weighted Veep Strength standings, for the first three rounds (see yesterday’s post for calculation method).

Veep Strength

1.  Paul Ryan: 8.57

2.  Bobby Jindal: 7.22

3.  Bob McDonnell: 5.98

4.  Tim Pawlenty: 5.66

5.  Mitch Daniels: 5.52

6.  Pat Toomey: 5.26

7.  Rob Portman: 5.13

8.  Luis Fortuño: 4.78

9.  Mike Huckabee: 4.56

10.  John Thune:  4.07

11.  Cathy McMorris Rodgers: 2.43

12.  Richard Burr: 1.52

And the flat mean rankings:
1.  Paul Ryan: 8.72

2.  Bobby Jindal: 7.87

3.  Mitch Daniels: 6.72

4.  Bob McDonnell: 6.59

5.  Tim Pawlenty: 6.43

6.  Luis Fortuño: 6.28

7.  Rob Portman: 6.20

8.  Pat Toomey: 6.05

9.  Mike Huckabee: 5.84

10.  John Thune: 5.38

11.  Cathy McMorris Rodgers: 4.68

12.  Richard Burr: 3.60

Note:  Due to light weekend traffic, the final round of this poll will be posted on Monday around 1. 

by @ 7:00 am. Filed under 2012 Misc., Bobby Jindal, Veep Watch

April 19, 2012

Veep Poll: The Third Round

The second round of Veep Polling has passed (results here) and we’re moving on to the third round.

If John Thune was selected as Romney’s VP, how content would you be on a scale from 1 to 10 (1=You’d stay home, 10=You’d canvas the country for Romney)?

If Bobby Jindal was selected as Romney’s VP, how content would you be on a scale from 1 to 10 (1=You’d stay home, 10=You’d canvas the country for Romney)?

If Mike Huckabee was selected as Romney’s VP, how content would you be on a scale from 1 to 10 (1=You’d stay home, 10=You’d canvas the country for Romney)?

If Mitch Daniels was selected as Romney’s VP, how content would you be on a scale from 1 to 10 (1=You’d stay home, 10=You’d canvas the country for Romney)?

Example (mine):

John Thune- 5

Bobby Jindal- 10

Mike Huckabee- 6

Mitch Daniels- 8

Note:  I realize that some of you may not be overly familiar with some of these candidates, but please try to provide a response for each, or I will not be able to compile the data.  Lack of familiarity (which would likely lead to average numbers) is a response in of itself.

-Matthew E. Miller can be contacted at Obilisk18@yahoo.com

by @ 12:00 pm. Filed under Bobby Jindal, Mike Huckabee, Mitch Daniels, Veep Watch

April 14, 2012

The Veeps: Social Media Edition

As a sidebar to my ongoing Veep series, I thought I’d see how the leading Veep contenders stacked up on Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube.

First, some terms.

Facebook terms:

“Likes”-  The number of people who like a candidate.  A good proxy for how well-known the candidate is.

“People Talking About This”- The number of people who have interacted with a candidate’s page in the past week.  This is a good proxy for how “hot” a candidate is, or how active he or she has been on facebook.

Twitter terms:

Followers-  The number of people following this candidate’s twitter feed.  A good proxy for how well-known the candidate is.

Following- The number of people this candidate is following.

(I’ll also note how many “tweets” each candidate has made in the past month).

Youtube terms:

Subscribers- The number of people who subscribe to the politician’s official youtube channel.

Video views- The number of views that candidate’s official videos have received.

Without further ado.

Marco Rubio:

257,861 “likes”

12,227 “Talking About This”

85,507 Twitter Followers

Following 2,814 Twitter Users

24 Tweets in the past month

3,482 Youtube Subscribers

1,947,264 Video Views

Paul Ryan:

94,813 “likes”

6,727 “Talking About This”

121,106 Twitter Followers

Following 1 Twitter User

45 Tweets in the past month

2,624 Youtube Subscribers

1,155,206 Video Views*

*Congressman Ryan’s most viewed videos come under the House Budget Committee’s Channel.  These views are not included in this total.

Bobby Jindal:

151,683 “likes”

2,900 “Talking About This”

74,011 Twitter Followers

Following 21,978 Twitter Users

38 Tweets in the past month

60 Youtube Subscribers

25,421 Video Views

Rob Portman:

27,243 “likes”

906 “Talking About This”

11,501 Twitter Followers

Following 1,674 Twitter Users

122 Tweets in the past month

104 Youtube Subscribers

34,924 Video Views

Chris Christie:

57,681 “likes”

1,543 “Talking About This”

107,333 Twitter Followers

Following 388 Twitter Users

111 Tweets in the past month

4,553 Youtube Subscribers

4,366,169 Video Views


Facebook Winner:

Marco Rubio

Facebook Loser:

Rob Portman

Twitter Winner(s):

Paul Ryan and Chris Christie

Twitter Loser:

Rob Portman

Youtube Winner:

Chris Christie

Youtube Loser:

Bobby Jindal

-Matthew E. Miller can be contacted at Obilisk18@yahoo.com

by @ 10:35 am. Filed under 2012 Misc., Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie, Veep Watch

April 11, 2012

New Veep Video Series: Jindal Edition

As part of the ongoing Veepstakes, I’m going to start culling clips from longer speeches/debates of our leading VP contenders.  Because of time constraints, I’ll be focusing on the candidates I personally think are most promising.  If anyone feels like performing the same exercise for their personal favorites, by all means do so, and you can send me the clipped videos (email below) which I’ll post here.  We need to take our role as citizen activists seriously so watch these videos, if you can.  They are obviously meant to represent highlights but are no less illuminating for that.  Hopefully, someone at Team Romney takes notice and we can perform a useful function in the Veep vetting process.  Anyway, here are three clips from a Young Americans Foundation speech Jindal gave after the 2010 mid-term elections.  Take a look.

The Oil Spill

Health Care


-Matthew E. Miller can be contacted at Obilisk18@yahoo.com

by @ 10:26 am. Filed under Bobby Jindal, Veep Watch

April 10, 2012

More Jindal Buzz

Over the weekend, George Will made the case for two potential VP’s: Bobby Jindal and Paul Ryan.  Here he is on Jindal:

Barack Obama’s intellectual sociopathy — his often breezy and sometimes loutish indifference to truth — should no longer startle. It should, however, influence Mitt Romney’s choice of a running mate

So Romney’s running mate should have intellectual firepower, born of immersion in policy complexities, sufficient to refute Obama’s meretricious claims and derelictions of duty…

Louisiana’s Gov. Bobby Jindal, 40, was a 20-year-old congressional staffer when he authored a substantial report on reforming Medicare financing. At 24, he became head of Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals, with 12,000 employees and 40 percent of the state budget. Back in Washington at 26, he was executive director of the National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare. In 1999, he became president of Louisiana’s state university system, which has 80,000 students. In 2001, he served as an assistant secretary of health and human services. He became governor after three years in Congress.

Faux realists will belabor Romney with unhistorical cleverness, urging him to choose a running mate who supposedly will sway this or that demographic cohort or carry a particular state. But are, for example, Hispanics nationwide such a homogeneous cohort that, say, those who came to Colorado from Mexico will identify with a son of Cuban immigrants to Florida (Sen. Marco Rubio)? Do these realists know that, according to exit polls, Nevada’s Hispanic Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican, won only about a third of the Hispanic vote in 2010?…

For the next decade, American politics will turn on this truth: Slowing the growth of the entitlement state is absolutely necessary and intensely unpopular. In this situation, which is ripe for a demagogue such as the Huey Long from Chicago’s Hyde Park, Romney’s choice of running mate should promise something Washington now lacks — adult supervision.

As regular readers know, Jindal and Ryan basically start and end my list, so I’m pleased to see Will onboard.  Another prominent Republican- strategist Mark McKinnon, who worked on both the Bush and McCain campaigns- makes the case for Jindal.

The guy, I think, is kind of an outsider that people should keep an eye is Bobby Jindal from Louisiana, ’cause he’s – he’d be sort of an outside pick, a bit of a long shot that would excite people because, you know, he’s of Indian descent. Conservatives love him. But he also has an amazing track record on health care issues. I mean he worked in HHS earlier on in his career, so you’d be an interesting pick and what I think would excite people and be a little bit different.

Jindal received two other nods worth mentioning: one is Begala’s dismissive “Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal might be a good choice, if he’s upped his game from his 2009 response to the State of the Union address, which he apparently did in character as Kenneth the Page from 30 Rock” and the other comes an Eyewitness News “Political Analyst”.  When asked about the recent Jindal buzz, here’s what he had to say:

“I don’t think its very realistic at all. There are a number of other higher profile, more nationally profiled, well-versed, frankly better debaters who bring more to the table and more to the team,” said DuBos.

Four years ago, Jindal was considered as a possible running mate for McCain. DuBos said the 40-year-old Governor isn’t ready politically to step out onto the national stage.

The political analyst said a perfect example was Jindal’s rebuttal to the President’s State of The Union Address in 2009.

Notice the lazy reference to the 2009 State of the Union rebuttal when discussing Jindal’s prospects.  This particular fellow doesn’t even seem to be trying.  Jindal’s not “well-versed”?  He’s a “bad debater”?  Because of his State of the Union rebuttal?  I’ll leave you with the video of a speech which actually resembles what a Vice Presidential Nominee Jindal would be doing most of the time.

This is a speech Jindal gave at a Rick Perry rally.  Be forewarned: somewhere around minute six, you may have an odd thought; this Rick Perry fella sounds like a real fine choice.  Why isn’t he running, again?  Dismiss this thought and focus on the man compelling the thought: a man making a more convincing case for Perry than Perry ever made for himself.


I’m going to propose a theory: this speech is more relevant, to whether or not Bobby would make a good running-mate, than his State of the Union rebuttal.  Of course, I know I’m taking a risk, because everyone knows that if you’re bad at delivering slow speeches, off a teleprompter, in an empty ballroom, you’re “not ready for the prime-time”.  I can’t help it.   I’ve always been a rebel.

– Matthew E. Miller can be contacted at Obilisk18@yahoo.com

by @ 8:40 am. Filed under Bobby Jindal

April 5, 2012

Jindal’s Triumph

Recall petitions were filed for Jindal and the House Speaker, and thousands of teachers protested at the Capitol during 50 hours of passionate debate but, scarcely 3 weeks into the legislative session, the centerpiece bills of Bobby Jindal’s landmark education reforms have cleared both houses and are headed to his desk.

Gov. Bobby Jindal triumphed Thursday in his bid to embark on an historic overhaul of public education in Louisiana, receiving final House passage of his centerpiece proposals.

In a state where student performance lags the nation, the complex bills will make it harder for teachers to gain tenure while establishing a statewide voucher program for private school tuition and multiplying the ways to create charter schools. The bills also lessen local school board authority in hiring and firing decisions, expand online schools and restructure public financing of education.

“We want to make sure that every child has the opportunity to get a great education,” Jindal said. “These bills coming to my desk are a great step forward for Louisiana’s children.”

Critics promised lawsuits. Final backing from lawmakers came over the opposition of teacher unions, local school board leaders and several thousand teachers who protested at the Capitol in recent weeks, claiming the governor had launched a “war against teachers” and public education….

After the votes, Louisiana Superintendent of Education John White thanked lawmakers “for having the courage to help us change.”

“If we want to change outcomes for our children, we adults have to change how we do our work,” said White, who shepherded the governor’s proposals through the session.

The bills give broad authority to White, his department and the state education board to determine performance standards for the new programs and to devise how they will run.

The package of legislation will expand statewide a voucher program now in effect in New Orleans, called the Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence Program.

Tax dollars will be used to send some children in schools rated C, D or F to private and parochial schools. The program will be limited by availability in private schools and to low- and moderate-income families, with priority given to children in D and F schools.

White said he will quickly begin contacting private school leaders to determine their interest. He estimates about 2,000 new vouchers could be handed out for children to attend private school in the fall of 2012.

“Parents will have applications in their hands later this spring for scholarships,” he said.

The measure also creates new paths to start up charter schools, which are publicly funded but run with broad autonomy from state and local education officials. Nonprofit corporations with an “educational mission” will be allowed to authorize charter schools, rather than just the state or local school boards.

It also will be easier for the state to take over a failing school.

Local school board authority will be lessened, strengthening the hand of superintendents and principals in issues of hiring and firing and giving the state education superintendent more review of local school board contracts with their own district leaders…

Anyone without tenure or who loses it because of an ineffective rating would need to be rated “highly effective” for five of six consecutive years in order to reach the job protection.

Statewide salary schedules for teachers will be scrapped. Teachers won’t lose any of their current pay, but raises will be tied to decisions by individual principals and school leaders. Seniority won’t be a primary factor in layoff decisions.

For breadth and scope, these reforms track neatly with the Daniels’ education package of 2011.  Approximately 380k of the state’s 727k students (or 53%) would be eligible to receive vouchers.  This is slightly lower than the 60% that qualify under Daniels’ reform but under the Daniels reform, vouchers would be capped for 1st through 8th graders, while all eligible students would receive the full per student funding amount in Jindal’s package.  Additionally, a second, less controversial, voucher bill is wending its way through the legislature, which would further expand opportunities.

With a 15-4 vote, the House Ways and Means Committee approved Rep. Kirk Talbot’s House Bill 969, which is modeled after a tuition-donation program that Florida enacted a decade ago under then-Gov. Jeb Bush. The full House could vote on the plan as early as next week.

The bill would allow corporations and individuals to give unlimited amounts of money to independent, nonprofit groups that would, in turn, grant private-school tuition scholarships to students who live in households at or below 250 percent of the federal poverty level. That’s about $55,000 for a family of four.

The contributor could then receive a rebate, paid from the state general fund, equivalent to the amount paid in tuition. The scholarship-granting entity would be able to keep up to 5 percent for administrative costs. The contribution could reduce a filer’s taxable income, but the rebate would later be counted as taxable income…

In Talbot’s bill, a student’s parent or guardian would apply to the third-party group, such as a Catholic diocese or an independent entity. The third party would pay the grant to the parents, who would then endorse the check over to the school. The MFP voucher would be paid directly by a local system to the private school. In both approaches, participation among private schools would be voluntary.

The Carter bill opens MFP vouchers only to students in public schools that are scored either as a C, D or F under the state accountability metrics. Talbot’s bill would attach no such requirement, leaving eligibility beyond the income restriction to the third party.

In the Talbot bill, aid for kindergarteners through the 8th grade would be capped at 80 percent of the state portion of a local district’s MFP per-pupil financing. The cap would be 90 percent of the state MFP portion for high school. The Carter bill would obligate the entire MFP financing from the state and the local tax base.

Talbot said his bill, with scholarships likely to fall in the $4,500 to $5,000 range, “would have parents have to put some skin in the game” in areas where the cost of tuition exceeds the value of the voucher.

Taken together, these reforms end the public education monopoly in Louisiana and drastically increase teacher accountability.  Not bad for the first three weeks of a three month legislative session.  Next on the agenda for Jindal?  Pension reform.

by @ 8:07 pm. Filed under Bobby Jindal

March 26, 2012

The Case for Bayou Bobby: Part 1

Two days ago, Louisiana Republicans overwhelmingly rejected the Republican nominee, and a handful of remaining states will deliver equally thunderous blows in the coming months.  To no avail.  It is no longer possible for a reasonable person to doubt Mitt Romney’s inevitability.  As of this writing, bettors believe Ron Paul has a better chance of emerging as the Republican nominee than does Rick Santorum.

Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee.  Doubts about his flaws and convictions notwithstanding, very soon the conservative movement is going to have come to grips with this reality, and begin planning for the always arduous task of ousting an incumbent.  And Mitt Romney will need to spend a considerable portion of the remaining campaign making that transition easier.  To that end, it’s time to begin in earnest the quadrennial Veepstakes.

I won’t pretend even-handedness- enumerating all the various traits of every conceivable running-mate, while trying to subtly steer readers.  We all have our favorites and Bobby Jindal is mine.  Here begins the case for his selection.

Demography is Destinty- Except When It’s Not

Romney’s Louisiana loss was sweeping but not uniform.  Once again, Governor Romney ran into a demographic wall, notably stumbling in the rural areas.
In 18 parishes, Romney won 20% of the vote or less.

Acadia, Allen, Bienville, Caldwell, DeSoto, Evangeline, Franklin, Jackson, LaSalle, Livingston, Richland, St. Bernard, St. Helena, St. James, Union, Vermillion, Washington, and West Carroll.

Only one of these parishes (Livingston) had more than 2846 votes (approximately, the 64 parish average).  Most had less than a thousand votes.  Rural indeed.  But while Romney’s struggles here were acute, they are not unique.  One other recent candidate initially struggled in these same areas: Bobby Jindal.  In another post, I compared two Louisiana Republican maps- the 2002 Suzanne Terrell losing Senate race (against Mary Landrieu) and the 2003 losing Jindal effort.  Both resulted in approximately the same scale of loss but produced very different maps.

By comparing these maps, we can tell where Jindal initially struggled.  How did he perform in these 18 parishes?  He lost 16 of 18.  And he performed worse than Terrell (who won 10 of the 18) in 15 of these parishes.  How much worse?  Well, first let’s define our terms.  If Jindal lost parish X 49-51 and Terrell carried it 51-49, that’s a 4 point swing.  So I’d say that Jindal did 4 points worse than Terrell in parish X.  So how much worse did Jindal do, in these 18 parishes, on average?  20.5% worse.  Hugely worse.  Almost unfathomably worse, given the similar statewide numbers.  In LaSalle parish, Jindal ran an astonishing 65.4% behind Suzanne Terrell.  Indeed, Jindal probably lost registered Republicans in some of these areas.

Isn’t this, you ask, an argument against a Jindal selection?  If he shares Romney’s demographic weaknesses, isn’t he ill-suited to help Romney win over these reluctant rural voters?  The answer is, emphatically, no.  Because, where Romney has continually struggled, Jindal ultimately triumphed.  Jindal’s public career did not end in 2003.  He did not retire to a comfortable cabinet position or accept a sinecure within the maze of government bureaucracy.  He won a House seat and then, in 2007, ran for Governor again.  That year, Jindal won 17 of these 18 parishes.  He increased his percentage in all but two of them, one of which (St. Bernard Parish) was radically changed after Katrina cut its population half.  And perhaps most significantly, he won a higher percentage of the vote than Terrell had- 5 years earlier- in 9 of the 18 parishes.  The rural white voters who’d given Jindal so much trouble 4 years earlier had finally come home.  Bubba’s for Bobby carried the day.

If Romney hopes to win in November, he will need to increase his appeal to the Bubbas.  Not in Louisiana, perhaps, but in Ohio; in Indiana; in Pennsylvania and Virginia and North Carolina.  And no politician in the country has more experience than Bobby Jindal in turning a well-educated, competence-minded technocrat into someone acceptable to rural voters.

It’s The Energy, Stupid

Energy Policy is one of the many issues on which the Obama Administration and the American public are decidedly at odds.  Americans, it turns out, do not want skyrocketing electricity rates, nor are they keen on $4+ gasoline.  A Gallup Poll released last week highlights this disconnect between administration policy and public opinion.  57% of Americans- including a plurality of Democrats- believe the Keystone Pipeline should be approved.  A gaudy 68% of voters in the critical midwest want the pipeline built.  No matter who Romney selects at the convention, energy will be a key Republican advantage in the fall campaign.  But Jindal would considerably enhance the issue’s resonance, for two reasons.

1.  He knows more about domestic energy production than anyone else-  At least twice in the past month, Jindal has waxed eloquent on the energy policy failures of the Obama administration.  Here he is dazzling in a late February press conference:


2.  He can credibly address environmental worries-  As the Governor of Louisiana during the BP oil spill, Jindal had a front-row seat to the Obama administration’s incompetent handling of the crisis and its aftermath.  He can explain to the American people the extremeism of the environmental lobby.  His book, “Leadership and Crisis”, is full of anecdotes of bureaucracy overriding common sense.

Ending Obamacare and Preserving Medicare

For obvious reasons, health-care is something of a minefield for Mitt Romney.  Contra the Rick Santorum line, it is not quite impossible to imagine Romney turning the issue to his advantage.  As this morning’s Politico story notes, Americans don’t like Obamacare, but they’ve never been too happy with Republican health care proposals either.  Romney can probably offer an Obamacare replacement which will at least get the public’s attention.  But if he wants Americans to do more than simply reject Obamacare- if he wants them to vote on Obamacare in an election where a dozen other priorities intrude- he’ll need a replacement that does more than just grab the public’s attention.

Enter Bobby Jindal.  No politician in America has more experience in the health care sector than does Bobby Jindal.  He has a Master’s from Oxford with an emphasis in health policy.   At 24, he was appointed the head of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, where he eliminated 400 million in Medicaid expenses.  At 29, he was an Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services.  A Romney/Jindal ticket is uniquely capable of selling a vastly cheaper and less onerous replacement for Obamacare.

But what about Medicare?  What about grannies and cliffs and the biennial Democratic Mediscare campaign?  Here, again, Jindal is uniquely positioned to add to the ticket because of another item in his bio.  In 1998, Jindal was appointed the Executive Director of the National Bi-Partisan Commission on Medicare.   This is the commission Paul Ryan is referring to when he talks about the “bipartisan consensus” that emerged around premium support models in the 90s.  Jindal’s book devotes an entire chapter to this experience.  The title?  “Saving Medicare”.  Here’s a passage from page 242 of that book:

The [proposed] reform would help solve a core problem of the Medicare system: there is no relationship between pay and performance, and no incentive to compete on price.  With the premium support model, health plans would be given flexibility to compete by either reducing premiums or enhancing benefits.

We expected this reform would reduce the growth in Medicare spending by a modest amount up front, and by a significant amount in the long term through “the magic of compound interest”, as Senator Gramm was fond of saying.

On Medicare, Jindal was studying and pitching Ryan-like plans before Ryan even set foot in Congress.

Competence Counts

It’s easy to forget, given Romney’s frequently flailing campaign, but Competent Leadership was once Mitt’s brand.  He revitalized a moribund Bain and Company: rescued a failing Olympics; performed creditably during the Big Dig collapse; found a friend’s lost daughter; saved a drowning family.   Mitt Romney is far from perfect but he is a good man to have around in a crisis.  This November, the economy will matter; the debt will matter; energy prices will matter; entitlements will matter- but in a broader sense, the election will hinge on one thing: whether or not Mitt Romney can recover that brand; whether the American public will say, in something approaching a resounding voice, “this is a good fellow to have around in a crisis”.  John McCain never recovered his brand and lost.  Mitt Romney must or he will suffer the same fate.

Could it be that a whiz-kid Congressman, who swept into the governorship- after a disappointing defeat 4 years earlier- on the strength of Katrina crisis leadership, could enhance the Romney brand?  Could it be that what Romney needs, more than anything else, is to share a ticket with the fellow whose virtuoso performance during the BP oil spill stood as a marked contrast to the President’s hapless leadership?  What do you think?  Isn’t it obvious?

-Matthew E. Miller can be contacted at Obilisk18@yahoo.com

by @ 2:42 pm. Filed under Bobby Jindal, Mitt Romney, Veep Watch

March 15, 2012

Jindal’s Crusade for Poor Schoolchildren

Yesterday, the Louisiana House Education Committee took the first step in ratifying Jindal’s education crusade, by approving two of his three major education bills.  First, the voucher/charter/scholarship bill:

After a contentious all-day hearing, a House panel late Wednesday approved a major portion of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s proposed education overhaul, voting 12-6 to expand a voucher program that could let students from low-to-moderate income families attend private schools at taxpayer expense.

The complex bill also makes it easier for private organizations to obtain permission to run public “charter” schools.

Supporters cast the voucher provision as an escape hatch for students of modest means trapped in low-performing schools. Its harshest critics said it could harm local school districts by diverting badly needed public money to private schools. Even some who aren’t opposed to the voucher concept said Jindal’s bill lacks language to ensure that private schools getting taxpayer dollars would do a better job than public schools.

The bill goes next to the full House. The voucher/charter bill was approved after more than 11 hours of debate…

Jindal’s plan, a statewide expansion of a voucher program already in limited effect in New Orleans, would affect students from low-to-moderate income families who go to schools with a grade of C, D or F under the state accountability plan. Money that ordinarily would be allocated by the state to public schools for such a student would follow the student to a private school.

Critics complained the state allocation includes a share of local tax revenue approved by voters for public schools. Rep. John Bel Edwards, D-Amite, one of Jindal’s chief critics on the committee, said the bill enables the state to effectively bypass voter intent. And he questioned whether the policy violates state constitutional requirements regarding use of public education funds.

Jindal, in a rare committee appearance Wednesday morning, insisted the bill is constitutional. He said his measures would give parents more choice in where to send children in a state where 44 percent of public schools were graded last year at a D or F level on a statewide scale.

“This is not about the next election. This is about the next generation,” said the governor.

The scholarship program would be available to students in nearly 3/4’s of Louisiana districts, as only 28.4% of Louisiana school systems received an A or B ranking.

And the teacher tenure bill:

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s bid to make it tougher for teachers to get the job protection known as tenure and to do away with a statewide salary schedule for teachers has gotten approval from the House Education Committee.

After a marathon hearing Wednesday, the panel voted 13-5 for the bill that would get rid of job protection based on seniority, tie tenure to a new evaluation system based partly on student test scores and let school principals set teacher salaries.

Hundreds of teachers packed the state capitol to oppose the measure.

If these measures go through (and it’s hard to see how they’re stopped) Jindal will make an increasingly attractive VP choice.  The fellow who is “not concerned about the very poor” could use a running mate who has passed a massively expanded voucher plan directed at the poor.  Additionally, as Michael Barone notes in his Uncommon Knowledge interview, these sorts of education reforms are increasingly popular with well-off, suburban moderates and liberals.  Here’s a Jindal video on the scholarship program from last month.


The video has something you rarely see in ads supporting Republican proposals: remarkable color.  A VP Jindal could be just what the doctor ordered: allowing Romney to appeal to blue-collar whites and poorer Hispanics in the Southwest, while maintaining (or even improving) his margins in wealthy suburbs.

by @ 11:03 am. Filed under Bobby Jindal

February 28, 2012

Jindal Calmly, Rationally, Fluidly Eviscerates Obama

I’m sure glad that we’re presently deciding which of the two very serious, very compelling, men battling it out in Michigan will be our nominee.

by @ 3:49 pm. Filed under 2012 Misc., Bobby Jindal

January 30, 2012

Tomorrow, Time’s Up For a White Knight

Tomorrow is the decisive Florida primary. It is also another turning point in the race: tomorrow, it becomes mathematically impossible for a late entrant into the race to earn the 1,144 delegates necessary to win the GOP nomination. Frontloading HQ does the heavy lifting with a handy chart and a post entitled, “I’ll See Your White Knight and Raise You a Filing Deadline: Why It’s Too Late For Entry Into the Republican Nomination Race”.

The money quote:

If the list is constrained more simply to the states where filing deadlines have not passed, the total delegates open to a late entrant drops to 1157. After Tuesday, when Kentucky’s (and Indiana’s petition — see footnote 17 above) deadlines pass that total will drop below 1144 to 1066.

After tomorrow, a candidate can only get on the ballot in enough states to get 1,066 delegates. A late entrant to the race has always been an extreme longshot, but now it is mathematically impossible. Sorry, George Will, Bill Kristol, et al.

But what about a brokered convention? Could someone jump in and deny Mitt Romney the ability to get to 1,144? Theoretically, yes. But here’s what Frontloading HQ has to say about that scenario:

But here’s the thing: Who is that candidate? Let me rephrase that. Who is the candidate who can not only successfully enter the race late, but who can also marshal the organization necessary to cobble together enough delegates to take the nomination or throw enough of a monkeywrench into the process and still maintain support in the party to win the nomination at the convention? Let’s think about this for a moment. There are people in this race now actively seeking the nomination (and who have been running for president for quite some time) who cannot get on the ballots in some states. And we are expecting someone to come in and immediately be able to beat these deadlines, organize write-in efforts and uncommitted slates of delegates to get within shouting distance of 1144 or a lower total held by the frontrunner.

After tomorrow, we can finally put to rest the wild fantasies of a White Knight run by the likes of Jindal, Jeb, Christie, or Ryan. Sorry, dreamers.

by @ 3:18 pm. Filed under Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Primary & Caucus Dates

January 23, 2012

Bobby Jindal: Run. Now

The latest disaster to befall the Republican Party has the normally clinical Ross Douthat a little exciteable.  He praises Bill Kristol, ever-piner, for continuing to call for a new entrant.  He writes:

And do you know what? He’s been right all along. Right that the decisions by various capable Republicans to forgo a presidential run this year have been a collective disgrace; right that Republican primary voters deserve a better choice than the one being presented to them; and right, as well, that even now it isn’t too late for one of the non-candidates to change their mind and run. True, any candidate who jumped in would have a necessarily uncertain path to the nomination (requiring, at the very least, more than one convention ballot), and by casting themselves as a white knight they would risk embarrassment on a significant scale. But with the field having been winnowed and their opening clear, their path would be smoother and their odds higher than many successful presidential candidates in the past — Barack Obama in 2008 very much included…

And under such circumstances, it seems absurd and pathetic that both the party and the country won’t have the chance to consider another option besides Newt the Great and Terrible.Absurd, pathetic, and pretty much inevitable. But Kristol deserves credit for demanding better, long after the rest of us have given up. The scenario he’s seeking almost certainly won’t happen. But that’s very different from saying that it couldn’t, if someone, from Daniels to Jeb to Bobby Jindal, were willing to step into the breach that caution has created, and cowardice sustained.

His post is entitled “Calling Mitch Daniels”, referring to Kristol’s latest coquette, but while a potentially interesting conventional entrant, Daniels makes little sense as a late entrant.  He has poor name recognition and a mediocre story, little cache with the grassroots, and is every bit as bloodless as Romney.  If by some miracle he managed to drag us to a convention, it’s hard to see how he’d represent any sort of compromise between the disparate factions of the GOP.  Jennifer Rubin casts her net wider, in an appeal to various and sundry Republicans.  She writes:

Dear Govs. Haley Barbour, Mitch Daniels, John Kasich, Bobby Jindal; Sens. Jon Kyl, Marco Rubio and Jim DeMint; and Reps. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), and Mike Pence (R-Ind.):

…It seems, gentlemen, it’s time to get off your … er … time to get off the bench and into the game. It is time to make the case for winning conservatism — a conservatism attractive to centrist voters that can be translated into a reform agenda. If conservatism becomes a movement of anti-media bashing and hyperbolic rhetoric, it will cease to be a force in American politics. And if it is led by an egomaniac whose personal advancement takes precedence over any principle, the GOP will be (correctly) mocked.

Barbour the pardoner is a non-starter.  Kasich is mired in the 30s in Ohio.  Kyl is entirely unknown.  Rubio is too green.  Demint and Cantor too controversial.  Pence, involved in another pressing race.

As I wrote, more than a month ago now, the best possible late entrant is a fellow who nearly 3 years ago delivered a speech which seemed to limit his meteroric rise: Bobby Jindal.  Like Romney and Daniels, he has a first-class demeanor; like Newt, a roving intellect.  Like Barack Obama and Sarah Palin, he would be embarking on an historic candidacy, instantly catapulting him into contention (he would both be the youngest President in history and the first Indian-American President). And he marries the regional biases of the GOP’s base (which prefers Southerners) to the cultural biases of the GOP’s establishment (which prefers big brains from big schools).

He is such an obvious choice for a draft movement; so clearly superior to the other possibilities; so much more likely to actually emerge victorious from the sausage-making messiness that is a convention fight, it’s a wonder anyone else is even in discussion.  We need to abandon the pining of elites for figures, like Daniels and Bush and Barbour, who only appeal to elites.  If Jindal sometimes seems a little too wonky, well, he’s the fellow who backed and campaigned for the grassroots Perry in events that observers said had the feel of Jindal ’16 rallies.  Yes, 3 years ago Jindal gave a bad speech.  But some 24 years ago another rising star gave a bad speech.

“He droned on and on, and droned on,” remembers Tom Brokaw. “When he finally said ‘In conclusion,’ people began to cheer.”

Three years later, this man went on to clobber a weak Presidential field and then a weak incumbent.  With the Republic on the line, we need Bobby Jindal to try to capture the same lightning that fell into Bill Clinton’s bottle.  Before it’s too late.

by @ 11:27 am. Filed under 2012 Misc., Bobby Jindal

January 13, 2012

Bobby Jindal Inauguration Video

For those of you who want a break from 2012 talk, here’s a video of Bobby Jindal’s very fine second inaugural address from a few days ago.


by @ 8:51 am. Filed under Bobby Jindal

January 5, 2012

Bobby Jindal… for President?

An idea I’ve been talking about for ages, Bobby Jindal making a late entrance, is finally getting a little establishment play- almost certainly too late in the game.  Matt Lewis reports:

Today, a prominent conservative, Morton Blackwell, has suggested a new candidate may emerge. Blackwell’s idea is for Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal to replace the man he endorsed for president — Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Blackwell believes that — for a variety of reasons — Gov. Jindal is “almost a perfect candidate.” For one thing, he says, “[Jindal is] a font of ideas at least as fertile as Newt Gingrich — but without the wackiness.”

But considering some candidates are already missing filing deadlines to get on ballots, how could such a swap work?

According to Blackwell — who sits on the RNC’s Standing Committee on Rules — if Rick Perry drops out, “People could run as Perry delegates — with Perry being a surrogate for Jindal.” Perry would essentially say to the public: “Vote for me; my delegates will vote for Bobby Jindal.

The bolded part is eerily similar to something I wrote in the comments section of my “None of the Above” endorsement 3 weeks ago.  I wrote:

Or, in Jindal’s case, he could instruct voters to cast their ballots for Perry (who will almost certainly be all but out of the race, but still on the ballots, at that point). Perry, would then simply pledge to hand over the delegates to Jindal at the convention. Back in the day, when front-runners didn’t enter every primary, it wasn’t uncommon for them to run “favorite son” supporters, who would then hand over the delegates at the convention. I.e, the Governor of Ohio- supporter of candidate X- would run in the primary and win the delegates for candidate X. Perry, who’d likely be a Jindal supporter at a convention anyway, could help both Jindal and himself by fulfilling the same role in some the states where Jindal couldn’t get on the ballot.

Oddly enough, despite Perry tanking epically in Iowa- a prerequisite for this scenario- this whole scheme looks less plausible to me now than it did then.  It was written at a moment when it looked like Newt Gingrich would win Iowa and probably the nomination.  And Newt Gingrich was simply a weaker front-runner than Romney is.  Mitt’s millions and the establishment’s disdain for Gingrich would have ensured a long-battle, another pre-requisite for a “consensus” late entrant.  Jindal running under Perry’s line in a handful of states would sure yield Perry more delegates than he’d get otherwise.  But unless he could also run under Gingrich’s line (Jindal and Gingrich are friends so this isn’t totally implausible) AND convince Santorum to take a hike, it’s hard to see how he overcomes Romney.  Still, it’s nice to know that I wasn’t insane for thinking that Jindal’s re-election bid was no real impediment to a Presidential run.   Here we are in January (WAY later than I would have envisioned a bid kicking off) and seriously people are finally talking it up.

by @ 10:51 pm. Filed under Bobby Jindal

December 14, 2011

None of the Above

Quin Hillyer, who has been a voice of sanity in this Brave Newt World we seem to have stumbled into, has a new post recommending something I’ve been calling for since the beginning of the primary process: a Bobby Jindal Presidential candidacy.  He writes:

Talk is heating up about the need for a new entrant in the Republican presidential sweepstakes…

A name I am increasingly hearing is that of Bobby Jindal, subject of glowing reviews in the past three or so months by Fred Barnes, Jim Geraghty, Michael Barone, Chris Cillizza,  and Yours Truly.

Here’s the key thing: There is not an elected official in the country who knows health care policy as well as Jindal, and once the Supreme Court decides the Obamacare case, health care will be front and center in the campaign…If Republicans want somebody who not only will oppose Obamacare (that’s an easy thing to do), but also to be able to outline a positive alternative and explain it understandably, nobody, not even Paul Ryan, can do it better than Bobby Jindal.

Rhodes Cook, of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, lays out a lengthy case for why a late entrant, even now, could win the nomination.  He writes:

But next year, the arrangement of the primary calendar is much different. It is less condensed at the front, much more loaded with events at the back, with the prospect of a viable, late-starting candidate quite real…

But the elongated layout of the nominating calendar this time provides the opportunity for a late-starting candidate to emerge. Should Mitt Romney stumble badly in the January events in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida, another establishment Republican could enter the race in early February and still compete directly in states with at least 1,200 of the 2,282 or so GOP delegates. Many of them will be up for grabs after April 1 when statewide winner-take-all is possible.

Here’s his eye-popping chart on the delegate counts.


That’s right: nearly 60% of the delegates are awarded after March 6th.  A late entry with the right profile- someone able to raise, say, 15 million for a non-competitive re-election bid- could plausibly steal enough delegates to send the race to the second ballot.  At which point, the established candidates, bruised and broken by over a year of negative campaigning, would be distinct underdogs.

As it turns out, today is the 4 year anniversary of my 2008 endorsement.  This should come as no surprise to those who follow the comments section but, if my primary were held today, I would cast the same ballot.  Holman Jenkins’ WSJ editorial does a good job of  highlighting why, between Romney and Gingrich- two peas in a pod in many respects- Romney is the obvious choice.  Here’s the key section:

Our world that’s coming is a world of narrowing, not widening, choices. It’s a world that suits Mr. Romney’s skills and history, his knack for operating within constraints and making choices based on data, data, data. Mr. Obama lives in the same world, of course, but is unequipped to deal with it given his dubious gifts for execution, execution, execution. Also, given his inclination to seek refuge in a clueless reverie of big new programs at a time when the resources simply don’t exist.

Nor is there a Big Idea that can transform our unhappy prospects. Lunar mining will not rescue Medicare. People like Mr. Gingrich play a useful role in politics: It’s good to be able to talk thrillingly about history, civilization. But they make bad—perhaps we should say, unnecessary—presidents. When ideas are new and unfamiliar, they’re not executable. When they’re executable we need people who can execute.

The consensus for painful reform comes when the status quo hits the wall. It’s a myth that we don’t know what our choices are. That’s the Romney moment. His strong suit has always been to do what everyone else has put off.

Yet, execution doesn’t convince skeptics or fire-up troops; it doesn’t speak to steadiness or conviction; it doesn’t win hearts.  In politics, “moments” are created as much by voters as candidates.  Romney, like Mr. Gingrich, has made too many compromises and calculations.  Romney, like Mr. Gingrich, has sacrificed the public weal for easy encomiums.  We may not need Big Ideas but we need Big Men.  Whatever Romney has been in his private life, in public he has not been Big.  Not Big enough.  Not for these times.  If the Republican Party sours on Gingrich, as they should, and remains sour on Romney, as they may, maybe we’ll have an opportunity to elect a Big Man.  Bobby Jindal is as good a candidate as any.

by @ 12:36 pm. Filed under 2012 Misc., Bobby Jindal, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich

October 25, 2011

Conservative Print Media Still Waiting for Godot

Over at The Weekly Standard, Bill Kristol claims that his dreams of a late entry to the presidential field ain’t licked yet:

CBS reports that “voters are not firm in their support of any of the candidates. About four of five voters said it is too early to say for sure who they support for the nomination, with just 19 percent saying their minds are already made up. That’s about the same as it was at this point in 2007.” …(So) mightn’t at least one of Mitch Daniels, Mike Pence, Paul Ryan, or Jeb Bush be rethinking his decision not to run?

That led Quin Hillyer of The American Spectator to once again call on a Jindal entry, his second plea to the recently re-elected Louisiana governor today, the first of which Matthew Miller noted this morning. Hillyer also seems to think that it’s not too late for a deus ex machina candidate:

…if I were Karl Rove, I’d be looking at all of Mitt Romney’s weaknesses and thinking how vulnerable he would be against Obama, and I’d be picking up the phone and calling the Louisiana governor’s mansion.

You know, people say Bobby Jindal bombed in his only national speech. Well, the last time somebody famously bombed in a nationally televised speech, so badly that he was all but booed off the stage, was a guy in 1988 whose given name at birth was Billy Blythe. We know him as William Jefferson Clinton, and he bedeviled us for two full terms in the Oval Office (but not in the Lincoln Bedroom, because it was for rent). One ill-received speech does not break a career, especially when the candidate is an incredibly able debater and retail politician.

Jindal’s biggest problem with an 11th hour entry may not be money, organization, or endorsements, but his own decision to back Gov. Perry for president, something that will be very difficult to wiggle out of in any respectable manner. If Perry were to close up shop, and tag his friend Bobby into the ring, things could get interesting. And then there are those annoying filing deadlines for pivotal early states, of course, most of which are just days away…

by @ 7:15 pm. Filed under Bobby Jindal

Hillyer Floats Jindal (A Little Late)

Well, my preferred Presidential Nominee from day 1 (even ahead of Ryan), has finally received a draft mention from a prominent conservative writer.  Much too late I suspect.  The American Spectator’s Quin Hillyer makes the case:

But as a hypothetical, if one were to create from scratch a near-perfect presidential candidate, one might come close to creating Bobby Jindal, who just won re-election in Louisiana this past Saturday with a phenomenal two-thirds of the vote against nine (!) opponents

In this contest, you would want somebody fairly youthful and energetic because Barack Obama’s youth otherwise remains an advantage. You would absolutely, positively want somebody who can beat Obama like a drum on the issue of health care — and there is no elected official in America, not even Paul Ryan, who knows health-care policy better than Jindal does. He was head of Louisiana’s health department at 24, where he almost single-handedly fixed the state’s horrendous Medicaid problems. He was executive director of Bill Clinton’s Medicare commission, headed by Louisiana Democratic U.S. Sen. John Breaux and California’s Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Thomas, which garnered bipartisan support but fell victim to the politics of the Lewinsky era. He can explain “premium support” and market solutions better than anyone in the business, especially in a debate, where — unlike, perhaps, in a formal speech setting — Jindal absolutely sparkles.You would want somebody acceptable to cultural conservatives (he’s solidly rightward on cultural issues) without the rhetoric or mannerisms that make some candidates scary to otherwise right-leaning independents who may be culturally a bit center-left (Yuppies, Bobos in Paradise, whatever you want to call them). You want somebody with a fiscal record Tea Partiers would absolutely love. (Try a rare “A” on CATO’s report card and, as Geraghty describes, a 26 percent overall cut in state spending.) You would want somebody with a good record of economic development who leads a state with better-than-average unemployment figures…

Jindal already has endorsed Rick Perry for president. Party leaders still looking to recruit another candidate might want to consider convincing him to renege on that endorsement. This nomination battle is still volatile enough for one more candidate to blow into the race with hurricane force tailwinds.

Read the whole thing.  Now, I’m no political maven, but I’m not sure how Jindal could go about “reneging” on his Perry endorsement.  Even if he could theoretically meet the filing deadline in Florida by the 31st and South Carolina by the 1st (both rather important states for a southern conservative), the whiplash of unendorsing Perry would surely complicate his first few days in the race.  Yes, Jindal’s a nigh perfect candidate.  Yes, it was a mistake for him to nix the idea ages ago and a mistake for conservatives to take him at his word- they didn’t take anyone else at their word.  And, yes, as Monday’s enormous victory showcases, Jindal probably could have flirted with running without significantly impeding his reelection chances.  But unless Perry drops out today and endorses Jindal- which would be an odd thing to do the day you unveiled a flat tax proposal- I can’t conceive of a scenario where Jindal parachutes in and ends up anything other than embarrassed and ineffectual.

by @ 7:53 am. Filed under Bobby Jindal

October 23, 2011

Gov. Bobby Jindal Wins Second Term

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Gov. Bobby Jindal has managed to pull off a massive supermajority victory over his opponents in his race for re-election as Louisiana governor. Jindal’s win is largely being overlooked by Republicans at the national level. It shouldn’t be. The fact that a youngish, non-white Republican wonk was able to win nearly two-thirds of the statewide vote in the state that nearly elected David Duke just two decades ago speaks volumes about the changing nature of Dixie and about the vacuity of the Left’s perennial critique of the Republican Party as a vehicle for the perpetuation of racial inequality.

Had Gov. Jindal won re-election a year earlier, we might be talking about Jindal-Mania right about now. As I recall, Jindal was one of the first prominent Republicans to come out of the gate talking about charting a way forward for the party after its loss to President Obama in 2008. Unfortunately, Jindal was derailed by a bust of a State of the Union response in 2009, and by the peculiar nature of his own state, with its election cycle timed very poorly for would-be presidents.

In any case, Gov. Jindal deserves a spot on the vice presidential short list of the ultimate Republican presidential nominee next year, especially if that nominee turns out to be Mitt Romney. Jindal’s endorsement of Gov. Perry notwithstanding, he remains, like Rubio and Cain, a Southern, base-friendly, non-white conservative that would balance a Romney ticket in so many important ways.

by @ 2:43 pm. Filed under Bobby Jindal, Veep Watch

September 12, 2011

BREAKING – Bobby Jindal to Endorse Rick Perry

CNN is reporting that Bobby Jindal is going to endorse Rick Perry for President. You can read more about that here.

-Sorry to break into Matthew’s post, but I thought that the text of the official announcement would be better placed here than its own thread—KWN:

“Rick Perry is the candidate who can lead our party to victory in 2012,” said Gov. Jindal. “His record on job creation simply cannot be beat, and the one million jobs he’s helped create as governor is a stark contrast to the 2.4 million jobs lost on President Obama’s watch. President Obama promised hope, but he simply hasn’t delivered. Rick Perry will bring our country more than hope – he’ll get America working again.”

As Governor, Rick Perry has helped build the nation’s top economy. Since June 2009, Texas is responsible for nearly 40 percent of the net new jobs in America.

“I truly appreciate Gov. Jindal’s endorsement because he is a leader who knows what it takes to rebuild an economy and restore people’s confidence,” said Gov. Perry. “His efforts to cut taxes and reduce unreasonable regulations are helping the Louisiana economy grow, and that is exactly what I aim to do for America. I look forward to continuing to work with him throughout this campaign, and with his help, we’ll get America working again.”

by @ 1:59 pm. Filed under Bobby Jindal, Endorsements, Rick Perry

March 7, 2011

Whom do Pacific Northwest GOP Activists like? Mitch Daniels

The state Republican parties of Oregon and Washington state have had their annual meetings. During that time, they followed the time-honored tradition of holding a Presidential Straw Poll among the party’s most active activists. As the Oregonian Magazine says, “Straw polls of party activists usually have little impact on the presidential nominating process, but they do offer a sense of who is exciting interest among those likely to get involved in campaigns.” So take the results with a grain of salt.

Here they are:

(Oregon 3-6)
Daniels 29%
Romney 23%
Palin 18%
Huckabee 10%
Gingrich 6%
Paul 5%
Pawlenty 4%
Barbour 3%
Trump 2%
Obama 0%
(Washington 1/31)
Daniels 31%
Romney 14%
Pawlenty 13%
Christie 9%
Thune 8%
Jindal 5%
Ryan 3%
Gingrich 3%
DeMint 3%
Palin 3%
Barbour 2%
Huckabee 2%
Pence 1%
Huntsman 1%
Bachmann 1%
Paul 1%


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