Remember when the large stimulus bill was passed earlier this year and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal came out against Obama? For a while he even made headlines by refusing to accept some of the stimulus money. What has happened to him since then? Whatever else you want to think about Jindal, he is undeniably intelligent. After Obama, he might be, intellectually speaking, among the smartest of elected officials in the country. Jindal knows when to hold and knows when to walk away. After the “Kenneth debacle” he smartly walked away from the limelight. Let Pawlenty and Palin and Huck go all Icarus. The shrewd ones like Jindal and Romney (and maybe even George Allen) will fly under the radar, biding their time (for the record, Huntsman is my 2016 dark horse).
Jindal knows that there is no way he has a shot in hell of being president in 2012 or even 2016 unless he has a record as a successful governor (cough cough…Sarah Palin). You know what you need to deliver to your people in order for them to consider you a successful governor? Healthcare reform. From his op-ed in WaPo last week:
A majority of so-called Republican strategists believe that health care is a Democratic issue. They are wrong; health care is an American issue, and the Republican Party has an opportunity to demonstrate that conservative principles work when applied to real-world problems…
Republicans must shift gears. Conservatives should seize the mantle of reform and lead. Conservatives either genuinely believe that conservative principles will work to solve real-world problems such as health care or they don’t. I believe they will. [Link]
p>The people of Louisiana want healthcare reform. They also want continued post-Katrina assistance. By cozying up to Obama he sacrifices some love from the Republican base for a whole lot more of everything else he needs to be successful as governor. But just who is playing who here?
President Obama on Thursday praised Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal after a crowd here booed the Republican, who is considered a future challenger for the White House.
“No, no, Bobby’s doing a good job,” Mr. Obama said when a large portion of the crowd booed the mention of the governor’s name.
Mr. Obama noted that he and Mr. Jindal have political differences, but praised the young governor to the crowd of a couple thousand at New Orleans University.
“This person’s working hard on behalf of the state,” Mr. Obama said. “You got to give people credit for working hard.”
The president told Mr. Jindal from the podium, “Bobby, if it makes you feel any better, I get that all the time.” [Link]
p>Methinks there are some soundbites here that could hurt Obama some day. In addition to cozying up to Obama, Jindal has yet to endorse fellow Louisianan (and adulterer) David Vitter-R.
the governor pointedly declined to offer his endorsement of Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), who could face a serious reelection battle next year in the wake of his appearance on a Washington madam’s client list and his subsequent admission of an undefined “very serious sin.”
…he also staked out some of the ground that helped Obama get elected last fall — appealing for bipartisanship and seeking to tamp down some of the partisan vitriol in Washington. Jindal offered little in the way of direct criticism of Obama, except to say that he thought the Republican Party was effectively channeling many Americans’ reluctance to support what looked like a Big Government solution to health care. [Link]
The bottom line here is that Jindal’s original strategy was to go to the right, just like Palin, Huck, and most of the others. He is majorly course correcting now and all of the above is evidence of this. He gets the fact that his original strategy got him nowhere fast.