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Don't Do It, Jindal!

Loose talk [1] about putting Jindal on the ticket is a sure sign of how bad the alternative choices seem to be.  This isn’t to say that Jindal wouldn’t make a good selection on the merits, but it would deprive Louisiana of an energetic and competent governor at exactly the wrong time, and it would deprive local Republicans of their de facto leader in the wake of the notable, but not necessarily very significant special election result [2] in Louisiana’s 6th that has put the Democrat, Cazayoux, in the House.  Jindal should stay put in Baton Rouge and follow through on what he promised to do. 

Besides, if I am wrong about how competitive the presidential election will be and it turns out to be a major Democratic year with McCain playing the role of Dole, any higher ambitions Jindal might have had will go out the window, probably forever.  That’s bad for him, but also bad for the GOP and perhaps even for the country.  Republicans don’t have an endless supply of popular and conservative governors, and they can’t go around frittering them away in reckless VP selections.  The conventional wisdom, which was correct then and and now, is that McCain doesn’t need someone from the South, and if he does need a Southern governor to shore up the ticket in the South all is lost anyway.  So Jindal doesn’t necessarily add that much to the ticket, and the danger of him appearing as a green pol being promoted too quickly is real. 

Does Cazayoux’s win portend general election doom for the GOP?  I am doubtful.  I am beginning to think that special elections for the House turn on the specific candidates and local conditions much more than they reflect national trends, and the NRCC, not exactly awash in strategic genius, has chosen to fight these elections by constantly invoking Nancy Pelosi and Obama.  This seems to shout in a loud voice, “We have no ideas!  We have no agenda!”  And, of course, they have no ideas and no agenda, which is a problem, but it strikes me as very strange that the GOP actually wants to nationalise the House races by tying local Democrats to national liberal figures.  If you nationalise the House races in this climate, you’re sunk.  If you can appeal to local interests, you might have a chance.  If, that is, Republicans can remember how to appeal to local interests, instead of nattering on about the evil of earmarks.   

Update: Ross [3] takes a similar view.

Second Update: Jim Antle [4] agrees–we’re on our way to a blogger consensus!

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3 Comments (Open | Close)

3 Comments To "Don't Do It, Jindal!"

#1 Comment By Howard J. Harrison On May 6, 2008 @ 12:52 pm

Besides, if I am wrong about how competitive the presidential election will be and it turns out to be a major Democratic year with McCain playing the role of Dole, any higher ambitions Jindal might have had will go out the window, probably forever.

I am not sure that this follows.

#2 Comment By Daniel Larison On May 6, 2008 @ 1:19 pm

Dan Quayle and Jack Kemp haven’t exactly been banging down the door to the White House. Losing veep nominees don’t usually come back for a second run, and except for FDR I can’t think of any case where they come back to win the whole thing at a later date. Mondale is fairly exceptional, in that he had already been elected once in ’76. Lieberman and Edwards have tried to break the pattern and failed. Obviously Ferraro and Bentsen never even tried.

#3 Pingback By Against the farm system « Upturned Earth || John Schwenkler On June 2, 2008 @ 10:41 am

[…] Indeed. Mr. Jindal is a governor, and his responsibilities right now are to the people whose state he has promised to help reform and rebuild. And this seems to me to be a point which many – though not all – of those who have discussed the Jindal-for-Veep meme have failed to address: a governorship is not a mere springboard to something bigger and better, and state and local politics are not (or at least should not be) simply a place for politicians to get some batting practice while they wait for a call to the big leagues. Bobby Jindal’s got work to do in Baton Rouge – find someone else to carry the water for John McCain. […]