“I think Governor Jindal would be far and away the best candidate for Vice President in the country.” Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich
Bobby Jindal is the “next Ronald Reagan.” Rush Limbaugh
June 20, 2008 …In the Hans Christen Andersen classic, the emperor pranced around town in what was supposedly a beautiful wardrobe; however, in reality, he was naked. Similarly, Governor Bobby Jindal has been parading around the country pretending to be a strong conservative. Sadly, here in Louisiana, we know the reality does not match this fanciful image.
Conservative leaders in the media and the Republican Party, such as Gingrich and Limbaugh, claim that Jindal represents the future of the GOP, a rising star. He is treated as a rock star and many desperate Republicans even believe that Jindal can save the party from defeat this fall.
Jindal is a frequent guest on national television and radio programs. For example, last weekend, he was featured on the CBS show “Face the Nation.”
While he is a friend to Fox News and CNN, Jindal studiously avoids appearing on Louisiana media programs, especially those that are critical of his position on the legislative pay raise.
On the national programs, Jindal knows he will receive easy questions about his potential vice presidential nomination on the GOP ticket. In contrast, here in Louisiana , Jindal will have to answer questions about why he will not veto the legislative pay raise.
He also avoids conflicts in dealing with Louisiana legislators, just look at how he crumbled when they demanded a huge increase in pay. The obscene bill to double legislative pay will reach Jindal’s desk soon. Although he claims he is opposed to the pay raise, Jindal will not veto the measure, saying he does not want to interfere with an internal legislative issue. This stance is incredibly weak and is not going over well with the public, who is exceptionally angry over the raises. As a result of his handling of this crisis, Jindal’s popularity in Louisiana has declined.
Republican leaders should take a closer look at what is happening here. On the major planks of fiscal conservatism, less government spending and lower taxes, Jindal has not governed as a conservative. The initial budget he submitted to the Legislature was larger than his liberal predecessor. Even though the state budget is surging, fueled by rising oil and gas royalties and a large surplus, Jindal had to be dragged “kicking and screaming” to the bargaining table to give taxpayers a minimal income tax reduction. While the small tax cut will not take effect until 2009, the legislative pay raise will begin July 1, 2008 .
If he cannot stand down Louisiana legislators, how can he serve as Vice-President, one heartbeat away from the presidency? A Vice President may be called upon to deal with terrorists and enemies of the United States . Americans need a leader who could step in as President and deal with numerous threats from abroad. Unfortunately, Jindal has failed the leadership test.
Before Jindal is considered for a national ticket, he needs more seasoning and experience. He also needs to grow a backbone and learn how to deal with conflict in a direct manner. Most importantly, Jindal needs to establish a true conservative record as Governor.
The reality is that this Governor has no conservative clothes. His admirers from afar can tout his conservative credentials all they want, but the citizens of Louisiana , who have witnessed his fumbling of the pay raise issue, know the truth.
The truth is that his conservative accomplishments are really not there, just like the emperor’s clothes. So, John McCain needs to keep looking for a potential Vice-President because Bobby Jindal is not ready.