December 16, 2012

Jindal: Birth Control Should be OTC

Gov. Bobby Jindal is quickly becoming one of my favorite presidential aspirants for 2016 as he continues to attempt to find ways to diffuse the various cultural “wedge issues” that the Left has successfully used to divide the nation’s former center-right coalition that ruled the country from 1968-2008. Jindal’s issue du jour is making birth control an issue that can truly be left up to the conscience of the individual by taking insurers out of the equation:

(CNN) – The political battle earlier this year over health insurance coverage for contraception wouldn’t be repeated if women could buy birth control without a prescription, Louisiana’s Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal wrote in an op-ed Friday.

Jindal was advocating a recommendation from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, who took the stance in November that birth control pills should be sold over-the-counter in drugstores. Currently contraception pills require a prescription from a doctor, many of whom are represented by the ACOG.

Jindal made the case Friday in the Wall Street Journal that such a shift in policy would eliminate the political back-and-forth over contraception policy, which divided many Americans in early last year.

“As a conservative Republican, I believe that we have been stupid to let the Democrats demagogue the contraceptives issue and pretend, during debates about health-care insurance, that Republicans are somehow against birth control. It’s a disingenuous political argument they make,” Jindal wrote.

This is a brilliant maneuver, in my view, that allows devout Roman Catholic employers to continue to abide by the teachings of the Holy See when it comes to contraception without leaving female employees sans contraception coverage, thus decreasing support for government mandates and subsidies when it comes to health care, which, of course, is the Left’s true goal. It also removes the need for the Right to maintain an official policy position on contraception other than “freedom to choose,” which puts the Right back in the position of being the party of personal liberty, and prevents the Left from suggesting that conservatives are simply using the contraception issue as a back door for a government takeover of individuals’ sex lives or reproductive decisions.

Finally, Jindal, as a devout Catholic himself and a favorite of social conservatives, is able to make such a suggestion without stoking fears on the Right that he himself is a progressive who is trying to use the government to encourage lower fertility rates, contraceptive use, or specific sexual lifestyles. The takeaway message is that the GOP is promoting a policy that enhances liberty, broadens consumer choice, and allows freedom of conscience for everyone, while removing burdensome regulations. That seems to be the sort of tack that Republicans will need to take on issues across the policy spectrum if they want to start rebuilding a party that seems to be on the verge of death by demographics.

by @ 12:00 am. Filed under Bobby Jindal

November 24, 2012

Trashing the Brand Won’t Help the Republican Party or Those Doing It

As often happens  after an electoral defeat, the losing side is going through a period of soul-searching. Right now a whole variety of figures on the right are proposing their own remedies and solutions to help the Republicans out of our current rut. Some are suggesting changes in policy, others in style, and others are for hunkering down. Regardless of what prescription is the way the party will go forward, I feel that any sort of trashing of the GOP brand is the absolute wrong way to go.

By trashing the brand I am referring mostly right now to Governor Bobby Jindal who is calling on the Republicans to stop being the “stupid party”. Not only is this offensive to millions of Republican voters, activists and candidates but it is also very unhelpful to both the Party and to Governor Jindal himself. Firstly, by having a Republican refer to the GOP as the “stupid party”, it is giving the media further license to do so. We Republicans can be furious at the overt bias in the media, but it does exist and we have to adapt to dealing with it. Now the media can turn to every other Republican politician and ask “do you think the Republicans are the stupid party?” or “what is it about the GOP that makes it the stupid party?” It puts other Republicans in a very awkward spot and gives the left and the media (but I repeat myself) a new cudgel to whack the Republicans in the head with.

More important than just causing headaches, the big problem with trashing the Republican brand is that the public will start to hear it and believe it. A Republican politician denouncing the Republican Party is one of the things that can get into the public consciousness. That means that the next time we present a policy, the damage done to the Republican brand by Republican politicians will make it that much harder for Republicans to persuade the public on that policy.

If this is not enough to persuade politicians to stop tarnishing the Republican brand, then one thing above all should; self-interest. After all, attacking the Republican Party is very likely to alienate Republican voters who’ll decide who leads the party in 2016. Look at Jon Huntsman’s bid in 2012. The Ambassador’s disdain for his own party was extremely self-evident during his run for the nomination and Republican voters rewarded him for it by making him place third in the one state he competed in.

So, you may ask, how do we change without going after the Republican brand? It’s not the easiest thing in the world to do, but a skillful politician can do it. British Prime Minister David Cameron and President Bill Clinton are two examples of politicians who changed the image of their party without directly trashing their own parties. It caused some headaches and it was definitely a bumpy road, but the Democrats in 1992 and the Conservative Party in 2010 managed to persuade enough voters that their parties had changed to propel both back into power after long droughts.

With our defeat in 2012 the Republican Party does need to do some soul-searching. It’s the healthy and right thing to do as we look towards the future. But the idea that the only way we can move forward is by telling everyone how awful Republicans are is not the way to go. All the self-loathing will do is give more ammunition to those who have no interest in helping the Republican Party.

by @ 5:50 pm. Filed under Bobby Jindal, Republican Party

November 19, 2012

November 16, 2012

Bobby Jindal: GOP Needs to “Stop Looking Backward” + Overnight Open Forum

Gov. Jindal provides his vision for a winning Republican coalition going forward:

In the aftermath of the presidential election, Republicans have been inundated with advice to moderate, equivocate, and even abandon their core principles as a necessary prerequisite for winning future elections.

That is absurd. America already has one liberal political party; there is no need for another one.

Make no mistake: Despite losing an election, conservative ideals still hold true.
Government spending still does not grow our economy. American weakness on the world stage still does not lead to peace. Higher taxes still does not create prosperity for all. And, more government still does not grow jobs.

The Republican party does have a lot of work to do. But changing our principles is not a winning strategy. We need to modernize, not moderate. Here are seven lessons Republicans should learn in order to move forward.

1. Stop looking backward. We have to boldly show what the future can look like with the free market policies that we believe in. Conservative ideals are aspirational, and our country is aspirational.

2. Compete for every single vote. The 47% and the 53%. And any other combination of numbers that adds up to 100 percent. President Barack Obama and the Democrats can continue trying to divide America into groups of warring communities with competing interests, but we will have none of it. We are going after every vote as we try to unite all Americans.

3. Reject identity politics. The old notion that ours should be a colorblind society is the right one, and we should pursue that with vigor. Identity politics is corrosive to the great American melting pot and we reject it. We will treat all people as individuals rather than as members of special interest groups.

4. Stop being the stupid party. It’s time for a new Republican party that talks like adults. It’s time for us to articulate our plans and visions for America in real terms. We had a number of Republicans damage the brand this year with offensive and bizarre comments. Enough of that.

5. Stop insulting the intelligence of voters. We need to trust the smarts of the American people. We have to stop dumbing down our ideas and stop reducing everything to mindless slogans and tag lines for 30-second ads. We must be willing to provide details in describing our views.

6. Quit “big.” We are not the party of big business, big banks, big Wall Street bailouts, big corporate loopholes, or big anything. We must not be the party that simply protects the well off so they can keep their toys. We have to be the party that shows all Americans how they can thrive. We are the party whose ideas will help the middle class, and help more folks join the middle class. We are a populist party and need to make that clear.

7. Focus on people, not government. We must stop competing with Democrats for the job of “Government Manager,” and come up with ideas that can unleash the dynamic abilities of the American people. We need to lead the way with policies that can create prosperity. We believe in organic solutions, not big government solutions. We need a bottom-up government that fits the digital age. Right now we have an outdated centralized government trying to manage a decentralized economy.

There are many challenges facing our country. For example, our education system seems to be in the Stone Age and miserably outdated. It’s time to update traditional public schools, charter schools, home schools, online schools and parochial schools. Let the dollars follow the child instead of forcing the child to follow the dollars, so that every child has the opportunity to attain an education.

Our energy policy is outdated as well, stuck in old ideological arguments which harm our ability to create a more sustainable future where energy independence can actually be achieved. We have to change that.

We need an equal opportunity society, one in which government does not see its job as picking winners and losers. Where do you go if you want special favors? Government. Where do you go if you want a tax break? Government. Where do you go if you want a handout? Government. This must stop. Our government must pursue a level playing field. At present, government is the un-leveler of the playing field.

This is a pathway forward for the Republican party, one that honors our principles, the American people, and also, will help us win elections.

And as always, have at it in the comments!

by @ 12:32 am. Filed under Bobby Jindal

November 15, 2012

Bobby Jindal: Romney “Absolutely Wrong” on Reason for Obama Victory

Politico has the story:

“No, I think that’s absolutely wrong,” he said at a press conference that opened the RGA’s post-election meeting here. “Two points on that: One, we have got to stop dividing the American voters. We need to go after 100 percent of the votes, not 53 percent. We need to go after every single vote.

“And, secondly, we need to continue to show how our policies help every voter out there achieve the American Dream, which is to be in the middle class, which is to be able to give their children an opportunity to be able to get a great education. … So, I absolutely reject that notion, that description. I think that’s absolutely wrong.”
He reiterated the points for emphasis.

“I don’t think that represents where we are as a party and where we’re going as a party,” he said. “That has got to be one of the most fundamental takeaways from this election: If we’re going to continue to be a competitive party and win elections on the national stage and continue to fight for our conservative principles, we need two messages to get out loudly and clearly: One, we are fighting for 100 percent of the votes, and secondly, our policies benefit every American who wants to pursue the American dream. Period. No exceptions.”

Then, without prompting, Jindal circled back to the topic as the press conference wrapped up.

Considered a likely candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, he blamed Romney’s defeat last week on his failure to outline a vision for where he wanted to take the country.

“Gov. Romney’s an honorable person that needs to be thanked for his many years of public service, but his campaign was largely about his biography and his experience,” he said. “And it’s a very impressive biography and very impressive set of experiences. But time and time again, biography and experience is not enough to win an election. You have to have a vision. You have to connect your policies to the aspirations of the American people. I don’t think the campaign did that, and as a result this became a contest between personalities. And you know what? Chicago won that.”

Be sure to read the full story here.

Hat-tip: The Argo Journal

by @ 6:00 am. Filed under 2012 Postmortems, Bobby Jindal, Mitt Romney

October 18, 2012

Jindal’s Excellent Surrogacy

It’s a real shame Bobby Jindal isn’t from a swing-state- if he was, he’d be as ubiquitous a surrogate as Rob Portman and deservedly so.  Here are three excellent appearances post-debate.

First, in the CNN spin room:

On Fox and Friends:

Then finally on Morning Joe:

Here’s to hoping the final three weeks feature extensive Jindal surrogacy work.  No one- not even Romney or Ryan- has a better command of the facts.  Exit question:  Is Secretary of HHS or Education a waste of Jindal’s talents?  I’ve been bearish on the usefulness of Jindal taking Landrieu’s seat, if only because the Senate isn’t the ideal place from which to pursue high office, but maybe adding some foreign policy to his portfolio will make Jindal Ryan’s natural running-mate in 2020.

by @ 10:55 am. Filed under Bobby Jindal

September 21, 2012

Christie, Jindal, and Santorum to Iowa

Is the race for 2016 already underway? If it’s not, Iowa is certainly becoming a popular hub for potential Republican presidential contenders these days. First, a certain New Jersey governor seems to have found his way to Sioux City:

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie officially endorsed Iowa Congressman Steve King today, at an appearance in Sioux City as keynote speaker for King’s 5th Annual Defenders of Freedom fundraiser.

King, however, wasn’t at his own event! According to his campaign, King flew to Washington D.C. yesterday to continue fighting for the passage of the Farm Bill.

That didn’t stop Governor Christie from coming out and supporting King, and the Romney campaign.

Christie campaigning for Romney and for down-ballot Republicans may just be the governor displaying his creds as a good party man, but still, the choice of venue seems…interesting.

And who could miss Rick Santorum and Bobby Jindal, riding the So-Con Express to the Hawkeye State!

Former Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Rick Santorum heads to Iowa next week to join a bus tour led by the social conservative group the Family Leader, furthering speculation that he’s looking ahead to another presidential run in 2016 if President Barack Obama defeats challenger Mitt Romney in November.

The bus tour, which takes place Sept. 24 to Sept. 27, will take Santorum to Des Moines, Pella and Ottumwa on Monday the 24th. It’s intended to protest retaining Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins, who joined the 2009 ruling that made same-sex marriage legal in Iowa.

The Family Leader endorsed Santorum for president in 2011.

Louisiana Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal will also join the tour and is scheduled to travel to Mason City, Marshalltown, Fort Dodge and Carroll on Wednesday the 26th.

More than once I’ve suggested that the race for 2016 would begin on the morning of November 7th. I was wrong. It’s already here.

by @ 8:28 pm. Filed under 2016, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie, Rick Santorum

August 4, 2012

Bobby Jindal Endorses….Paul Ryan for Veep?

Exceedingly odd.  He gets into the Veep stuff at about 1:35.


Ok, does this happen unless Jindal’s already been told he’s not the guy?  I don’t see how.

by @ 5:10 pm. Filed under Bobby Jindal, Paul Ryan, Veep Watch

August 1, 2012

The Diversifying GOP

It’s not every day that the Republican Party gets some positive mainstream media coverage about minority inclusion, but we’ll take it when we can get it, especially from the Washington Post:

Ted Cruz’s come-from-behind victory in the Texas GOP Senate runoff on Tuesday — and the near-certainty that he will cruise to a general election win in November — ensures he will immediately join a rapidly growing group of rising national Republican stars that have one big thing in common: None of them are white.

…For a party that has struggled in recent years to escape the caricature that it is dominated by old, white men, the spate of minority faces rising to statewide office is a welcome development.

Since elected officials obviously serve as the most public faces of a party, this definitely represents a positive for the GOP. After all, in politics, perception is everything.

by @ 9:02 pm. Filed under Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, R4'12 Essential Reads, Republican Party

Down to Two?

Jonathan Karl reports that two of the potential Veeps have been put on “standby” for an announcement.  I’m assuming standby means “don’t plan anything else”.  Given that, who seems to be otherwise occupied?  Well, the Republican Governor’s Association has meetings all this week and Jindal, McDonnell, and Christie are attending.  So they’re out, I suppose?  Curiously, the buzz around Ryan seems to be heating up and Karl reports that Ryan makes the final three (with Portman and Pawlenty).  It seems like we will indeed get our launch prior to the swing-state tour. Who will it be?

Update:  It appears that Romney will be making an appearance at one of these meetings, so perhaps the attendees aren’t quite out of consideration.

by @ 2:48 pm. Filed under Bob McDonnell, Bobby Jindal, Paul Ryan, Rob Portman, Tim Pawlenty, Veep Watch

July 31, 2012

VP RUMOR MILL: Romney to Announce VP Aug 10; Major Multi-State Bus Tour Planned for Rollout

Political Ticker reveals some details about an upcoming multi-state bus tour which are being leaked out by the Romney camp — and quotes the source of the leak as saying, “Sounds like VP week…”

On August 11, Romney (and his VP?) will be campaigning in the three largest media markets in Virginia – metro D.C., Richmond, and Norfolk. August 12 takes him through the media markets in North Carolina. August 13 finds him doing a Florida swing through Jacksonville, Orlando, and Miami. And tour dates are being added in Ohio – and potentially other states – for the end of the tour.

It sure sounds like a VP rollout to me, as well, and the timing really makes perfect sense. It gives Mitt and his VP two weeks to campaign together, building momentum up to the RNC on August 27. The Romney campaign, for what it’s worth, have confirmed that the leaked schedule is accurate, but are saying only that Romney will be discussing his vision for the economy during the bus tour.

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

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

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

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  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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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