Several political pundits have noted that despite an early Iowa caucus date, the Republican primary calendar is actually not front loaded this presidential cycle. In fact, several people are suggesting that the Republican field might not be closed.
The Iowa caucuses will likely doom a few candidates. While I initially supported Rick Perry, it seems he’s just not ready for prime time. Barring a massive comeback, he might be packing up his bags after Iowa. (If he doesn’t do well in Iowa, he won’t like New Hampshire’s verdict. He’s polling at 3% there.)
It’s clear that the Republican electorate is not happy with Mitt Romney and so far there hasn’t been a successful Not Romney that voters have settled on.
Bobby Jindal endorsed Rick Perry and he’s in Iowa campaigning with the Texas governor right now (even correcting Perry when he gets his own plan wrong.) CNN reporter Peter Hanby noted: “Three different Iowans here told Jindal they wished he were running for president.” Politico also quoted several Iowa voters who thought Jindal’s stump speech was very impressive.
So, if Perry drops out after Iowa, then why not draft Bobby Jindal? He just won reelection to a second term with 66% of the vote. And his first term accomplishments were impressive, notes Fred Barnes:
Jindal has done what most -governors only dream about. But he and his aides are painfully aware his accomplishments are unknown outside the state. To spread the word, they’ve produced a five-page report headlined “Louisiana Turnaround—The Untold Story.” It’s a largely factual document with minimal spin or exaggeration.
Listing 63 separate actions, reforms, or changes, it makes the point that a lot has happened in Jindal’s first four years. He cut spending sharply before that became sexy. In 2008, the state budget was $34.4 billion. For 2012, it’s $25.4 billion, a 26 percent decline. Nearly 10,000 state jobs have been eliminated. “If you enforce fiscal discipline, it frees you to do things you should have done anyway,” according to Jindal.
He gets credit for the biggest income tax cut—$1.1 billion over five years—in state history.
And he was signed into law a strong new ethics bill that moved Louisiana from 46th to 5th best state in the Better Government Association index. All of which has Quin Hilyer thinking what I’m thinking: Jindal is the right man for the White House. And he’ll be able to take on Obama on health care, make no doubt about it. Hilyer:
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. Why does Jindal know so much about it? First, he was the wunderkind Secretary of the Louisiana health department, where he flat-out saved the state budget from disaster while completely and successfully renovating its Medicaid program (after explaining Medicaid’s rules to the federal Medicaid officials who didn’t even understand them as well as Jindal did). Second, he was executive director of the Breaux-Thomas entitlement commission in the late 1990s that not only pushed the idea of premium support (the heart of Paul Ryan’s Medicare plans), but got several Democratic senators to buy in to the concept. Third, he worked on health care in the private sector, for McKinsey and Company. Also, (from Wikipedia), “as a Rhodes Scholar. He received an M.Litt. degree in political sciencewith an emphasis in health policy from the University of Oxford in 1994 for his thesis “A needs-based approach to health care”.
He also served as the Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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.
Almost every Republican primary voter I’ve talked with has expressed disappointment with the whole field. So why not draft Bobby Jindal?