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|Why Romney should tap Jindal|
If political wisdom prevails, Gov. Bobby Jindal will be asked to join the Republican ticket as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's running mate in this fall's presidential race.
Though Republicans won't officially nominate Romney until late August when they gather at their national convention in Tampa, Fla., the political handicappers have been busy trying figure out who Romney might or should tap as his vice presidential candidate. Jindal is on the short list. Besides Jindal, there's Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
There exists a movement – both privately and publicly – to convince Romney to turn to Jindal, who many on the Right – nationally, that is – consider a representative of the future of the party. That probably comes as a surprise to some conservative Republicans in Louisiana, but when was the last time the Right in Louisiana was accused of being too rational or in step with their counterparts elsewhere in the Republic?
It's understandable that it may be difficult for the average Louisianian to comprehend why Jindal is in the position he's in today. After all, Louisianians have been inundated with news reports about a contentious legislative session in Baton Rouge, which was dominated from the get-go by Jindal's drive to overhaul public education and efforts to implement vital reforms in the state's retirement system. Those controversial measures forced to the surface a long-held belief among the status quo in Louisiana that it is not the government that serves the people but it is the people who are expected to serve government.
What's often overlooked by Louisianians is Jindal's record. Like it or not, his record as governor is far more impressive than anything Daniels, Portman and Rubio have accomplished during their stints in public service. Think about it.
Over the past four-plus years, or since Jindal first took office in January 2008, taxes have been cut and government spending has been kept in check for the most part. The number of people employed by state government is at its lowest level in 20 years.
Jindal also can claim a victory or two on the economic front in spite of a national recession that took hold in earnest in the fall of 2008. We saw an example of that in March when the number of Louisianians employed in nonfarm jobs reached its highest level in years, a mark not achieved since before Hurricane Katrina roared ashore in August 2005. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate in Louisiana has remained below the national average during the entirety of the President Barack Obama administration.
There haven't been any scandals since Jindal took office other than an administration official or two who forgot their place and got fired. We don't know of any thefts or graft or corruption, and Jindal can point to his handling of the responses to a couple of hurricanes and the BP oil spill as examples that he can keep his cool when the tough gets going.
All of that and more are reasons why scores of Republicans nationwide are salivating at the thought of Jindal joining the Romney ticket. Those Republicans also are fully aware that Daniels and Portman don't have much credibility among hard-core conservatives, who must turn out in record numbers for Republicans to have any hope of unseating Obama. Think about that, too.
When Daniels served as director of the Office of Management and Budget from 2001-2003 under President George W. Bush, he inherited a $236-billion surplus from the Clinton administration and helped created a $400-billion deficit. Portman served as director of OMB from 2006-2007 and proceeded to gin up the deficit by some $470 billion. Startling figures to say the least.
Rubio's record, as lean as it is, could be described in two words – ethically challenged. So much so that he reportedly is no longer a consideration by the Romney camp.
Though Jindal repeatedly says he has the job he wants and has no desire to move on to greener pastures, let's be honest with ourselves. His record as governor, his appeal among conservatives nationally and his fundraising abilities make him a very attractive vice presidential candidate. That's especially true in light of the reservations some conservatives have about Romney and his somewhat moderate past as governor of Massachusetts.
If Romney was wise, he would tap Jindal as his running mate, and we could boastfully say Louisiana was making a positive contribution toward the betterment of the nation.