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|Jindal may be acting prematurely|
On one of his recent visits to northeastern Louisiana, Gov. Bobby Jindal was wearing a pair boots.
They were work boots, though they definitely didn't appear to have been worn on the "back 40" lately. After all, can you picture Jindal driving a tractor or cleaning a fence row?
Appearing at the United Way in Monroe to thank the organization for its efforts during hurricanes Gustav and Ike, Jindal and his boots kind of stood out. Better put, Jindal sporting a pair of boots just doesn't fit him.
But one could suggest Jindal was wearing his boots in Monroe to break them in before his trip to Iowa this weekend. As we all know, Jindal will visit the Hawkeye state to speak in Des Moines Saturday night at the Iowa Family Policy Forum. His appearance at the conservative group's get-together will follow a tour of Cedar Rapids, which took it on the chin earlier this year in light of a great deal of flooding.
Jindal's trek north, though, to big-time farm country has nothing to do with discussing flood control in Cedar Rapids. Instead, the governor is headed there to begin the long process of establishing a foothold in the state that hosts the first caucus, or primary, in a presidential election year.
As we all know as well, Jindal's stock has been rising as of late among Republicans, who have been scratching their heads on the heels of John McCain's defeat at the hands of Barack Obama. In other words, Jindal's success as governor in Louisiana, though narrow in scope, has catapulted him onto a list of rising stars in the GOP. And yes, discussion about who will take on Obama in 2012 is already being bantered about.
That brings us back to Iowa.
Iowa is vitally important for any candidate who desires to secure his or her party's nomination for president. If you lose Iowa, your prospects of securing your party's nomination are slim. There have been exceptions, but winning Iowa is literally a must. Jindal's prospective campaign for the GOP nomination in 2012 is no different.
Yet, Jindal should be reminded that he is the governor of a state (Louisiana), which faces a host of problems, including a projected $1 billion revenue shortfall that his administration and the Legislature must tackle when they craft the state's spending plan for the 2009-10 fiscal year. The governor also should be reminded that Louisiana holds the dubious distinction of possessing one of the worst public education systems in the country. Louisiana also can lay claim to being the home of some of most impoverished people in America, while our inadequate workforce serves as a deterrent in attracting new business and industry to the Sportsman's Paradise.
All of those issues most certainly will become common fodder among Democrats and their friends in the national media if Jindal's toying with the Republican nomination for president picks ups steam. Those issues will rear their heads, too, when Jindal runs for re-election in less than three years. That will be the case because you can bet the farm the Democrats will not give Jindal a free pass for second term as governor if he's eyeing a bid to unseat Obama.
While the ethics reform package and the expedited tax breaks for the business community Jindal shepherded through the Legislature earlier this year were solid steps toward remaking Louisiana into a better place to live and work, the governor has a great deal of work ahead of him before he can legitimately say he would make a formidable candidate for president. Better yet, Jindal has a great deal of work ahead him before he can say he deserves another term as Louisiana's governor.