Vice President Jindal?The New York Times reports that John McCain is meeting with potential running mates, and one of the folks he is meeting with would indeed be a very pleasant surprise to have on the Republican ticket:
Charlie Crist, the Governor of Florida, and Bobby Jindal, the Governor
of Louisiana, have both accepted invitations to meet with Mr. McCain at
his home in Arizona, according to Republican familiars with the decision. One
Republican said that Mitt Romney, a former rival of Mr. McCain for the
presidential nomination — is also expected to visit him this weekend. Mr.
Romney’s advisers declined to comment.
Bobby Jindal would be decried by Democrats as young and inexperienced, but he has many assets that make him very attractive on the Republican ticket. Jindal is a strong social conservative who is extremely pro-life, he strongly opposes embryonic stem-cell research, he supports the second amendment, voluntary school prayer, and even favors teaching intelligent design alongside evolution in public schools. Clearly, Jindal would appeal to evangelicals in the party who are disillusioned by Senator John McCain.
Jindal, however, is a very devout Catholic. He embraced the Faith as a teenager, and at least one person I talked with who is more familiar with Jindal told me they believed that he is a daily communicant. He is far more open to the Church's social doctrine than an evangelical would be, and that would likely appeal to blue-collar ethnic Catholics in States like Pennsylvania and Ohio-voters Barack Obama has hitherto had trouble with. What's more, Jindal's family immigrated from India and he was able to be elected Governor in a socially conservative Southern State. In an election when liberals can be expected to make an issue of Barack Obama because of his race-as evidence that we are moving toward a "post-racial" future (assigning to another made-up word whatever value the Left thinks that it has), Jindal as a candidate for Vice President shows that Republicans and conservatives are also a diverse group of people from many different backgrounds with unique ideas (in Jindal's case, when he ran for Governor, Democrats in Louisiana actually attacked his ethnic background in an attempt to say he wasn't a real Louisianian-it backfired). Of course, because Jindal is a conservative we could expect our friends in the party opposite to find some way to say that the diversity Jindal represents isn't authentic.
Bobby Jindal is also a policy wonk on the issue of health care-it is a specialty of his, having served as Louisiana Secretary of Health and Hospitals, and was Chairman of the National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare. He has a degree in biology and public policy from Brown-and he is a Rhodes Scholar. If health care reform becomes an issue in a McCain Administration-as it almost surely will be- it is quite conceivable that a Vice President Jindal would play a starring role in the process.
The biggest problem with making Jindal the Number Two on the ticket isn't his age (36) or perceived inexperience, but the reality that he has only been Governor since January of this year. Jindal ran on a strong platform of reforming the corrupt nature of Louisiana politics, and his strong work in this regard is making waves there and has only just begun. If he were to leave for Washington after barely a year in office, much of his promised agenda would remain unfulfilled.
I do not expect Jindal to be McCain's final choice, but if he were to be chosen, I think he'd be a huge hit on the campaign trail and would balance McCain very well. As a national leader, Jindal is someone the conservative movement can look to as part of the future of the political cause.