So far, his polling and fundraising have not lived up in the polls to his storied legacy from childhood to the governor's mansion, but as he surpasses bashing Trump, and calling out Hillary Clinton's dishonesty and "Weekend at Bernie" Sanders' unsettling socialism, he may rise to a better occasion and take his place in the Big Ten (or Seven or Five) Debate stage in the months that follow.
With the boldness of The Donald (minus the Democratic undercurrent of support liberal candidates and policies), plus the sure record of reforms and efficiency mirroring Walker and former Governor Bush, Jindal can still shine.
The son of Punjabi migrants who landed in Baton Rouge, Piyush (later Bobby after one of the characters in "The Brady Bunch" watched his dad take life by the horns, not waiting for opportunity to come, but going for opportunity.
An entrepreneur at an early age, from candy stores to software companies, and a winner early on, from tennis matches to elite university scholarships, Jindal went after wins just like his father. Graduating from Brown with honors, he was offered Harvard of Oxford for his medical training.
He crossed the pond, and as a Rhodes Scholar he studied health and politics. Politics may be hazardous to our health, but for Jindal, their union were his life-blood for entry into public office.
First serving as an expert on health care policy (specifically Medicare) for a Louisiana House Rep, then in the Bush Administration, the Asian-American Rhode Scholar ran for Governor in 2003. He lost, but used that experience to run and win a Congressional seat (replacing David Vitter, who went to the US Senate, and in turn is seeking to replace termed-out Jindal as Governor).
Now, what about Jindal's gubernatorial legacy in Louisiana so far? Elected in 2007 following one term in Congress (where he rose quickly, becoming assistant majority whip), Jindal called in two emergency sessions to fulfill campaign promises, which included reforming ethics laws, expanding tax breaks to bring in business leery of Hurricane Katrina territory, as well as tax deductions for private-school parents.
His press for better education has attracted national attention, too, starting with the reforms which sparked Louisiana teachers and Occupy Baton Rouge to rage and protest outside the statehouse. Perhaps nothing like the hordes of public sector workers bullying the Wisconsin state capital in 2011, but still enough to show that Big Labor took major exceptions to this conservative governor's reforms.
|Governor Bobby Jindal at CPAC 2013 (Gage Skidmore)|
National Review wrote a glowing review still not getting proper national attention:
Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal has enjoyed a spectacular run of success at governing his state, overhauling Louisiana, once derided as America’s “banana republic,” by cutting down corruption, improving business-friendliness, and reforming the health-care system. In fact, Jindal’s efforts were so successful that the Democratic party essentially didn’t bother putting forth a challenger in 2010; Louisiana had gotten so bad that dramatically reducing spending and cracking down on ethics violations didn’t anger the body politic at all.
His National Education Plan? Less Washington. Less Bush (“Bush” includes not just his current contender, but George W. Bush, whose No Child Left Behind plan has left many behind while forcing ahead the federal government into a local issues).
Following the 2012 disappoint of the Romney-Ryan ticket, Jindal got bold and sought to fill in the leadership vacuum in the GOP.
"We have to stop being the Stupid Party" he declared. The Hill further reported:
For Jindal, a popular rising star in the party who is thought to be an early contender for the 2016 presidential nomination, that recalibration involves Republicans learning to "stop insulting the intelligence of voters.”
Despite the critiques of fiscal hawks, Jindal correctly pointed out that a polity of austerity was not enough to win votes: "We must become the party of growth".
Before US Senate candidates Cory Gardner and Thom Tillis took away the "War on Women"" meme regarding contraception, the social and fiscal conservative Jindal called for permitting over-the-counter contraception.
Unlike other candidates, Jindal bypassed the PC and announced "Islam has a problem". Jindal calls Hillary Clinton a liar, yet compliments Bernie Sanders for his honest embrace of European Socialism. He wittily slammed Hillary’s hubby Bubba for this lie: “The era of Big Government is over”. When governors throughout the South and the Midwest were caving on religious liberty, he refused to cave to the Big Government, Big Business onslaught against the First Amendment. When the state legislature in Louisiana refused to pass RFLA laws, he issued an executive order to affirming freedom of religion and conscience for all Louisianans.
So, why is Jindal struggling in the polls? The national audience does not know about him. He is not a popular governor in Louisiana, either, with an abysmal 27% approval rating. Why? “Bipartisan dissatisfaction”, according to the Best of New Orleans.com. Then again, this article slighted the brave opposition of 47 Republican US Senators against Barack Obama’s flailing Iran deal. Besides, according to an editorial in the New Orleans Time-Picayune, the Big Easy’s budget problems relate to structural issues beyond Jindal, which require looking back and looking forward. In short, they cannot blame Jindal.
As the Louisiana Governor declared in his first debate:
[W]e got a lot of politicians that will kiss babies, cut ribbons, do whatever it takes to be popular. That's not why I ran for office. I think our country is tired of the politicians who simply read the polls and fail to lead.
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback curried resistance from 100 Republicans as well as Democratic during his reelection bid in 2014. The adult always takes heat from the kids after taking away their toys (and government entitlements).
If Jindal can enter the nest Top Ten debate forum, while fixing the budgetary and political problems in his home state, Jindal will position himself strongly for front-runner status. Or at least prove his executive chops for VP.