The Making of Bobby Jindal

“We don’t have time for meetings. We don’t have time for red tape and bureaucracy. We’re literally in a war to save our coast. Every hour matters. Every day matters.”—Gov. Bobby Jindal (R.-La.)

Since Bobby Jindal came on the scene as a U.S. congressman from Louisiana, he’s shaken the status quo.  He is an unabashed conservative within the Republican Party—a unique blend of the political and business world.

He also gave the party some color.  Republicans are sensitive about their perceived “color problem,” and Bobby Jindal added a religious fervor and true conservative credentials along with his Indian heritage and he skyrocketed to the top of every conservative list. 

When he moved to the Louisiana Governor’s Mansion in 2008, he completed the perfect combination of a social and fiscal conservative with both Washington and executive experience.  People were talking about a presidential run in 2012. While it was only “15 minutes” after President Obama had been elected and Jindal became a governor, battered Republicans were already thinking about 2012.

                                     Cartoon courtesy of Brett Noel

Jindal was tapped to give the Republican response to President Obama’s first address to Congress and the expectations were high for the new governor of Louisiana.  The message was on target but the delivery left much to be desired.  He seemed nervous and stilted and many people said, “He’s done.” 

However, Jindal’s term as governor has been successful.  With the rebuilding of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast as a region, Louisiana has lower than average unemployment.  There are jobs in Louisiana and increased energy costs had helped the important oil industry.

The BP oil spill thrust Bobby Jindal back into the spotlight. Since then, Gov. Jindal is everywhere as a hands-on man of the people and a no-nonsense governor.

There are two major areas that are resonating with his constituents and the American people. 

First, Jindal presented an early plan to dredge around the barrier islands and create sand berms to keep the oil from getting to shore. This plan was the right way to go but, as if they were the keystone cops, the Obama White House, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency stood in the way of keeping oil away from Louisiana. 

It took 31 days to get an answer to this proposal. Citing environmental concerns, the government finally said Jindal can proceed in a limited manner.  Precious time was lost, time that can never be recovered.  The federal government was inept on every level and when presented with common-sense solutions from Jindal, they didn’t know what to do.
Second, when the Obama Administration banned all offshore drilling, Jindal went to bat for the workers of his state and fought the government in court and won.  When the Obama Administration said they way would find another way to ban drilling and kill jobs in the Gulf region, Jindal gathered the people.

In what was called a “Rally for Economic Survival” to protest the moratorium, 11,000 people showed up outside the Cajundome in Lafayette, La.

Jindal wants to “send a clear message to Washington, D. C.” The governor said, “Our people don’t want a BP check, our people don’t want an unemployment check, our people want this arbitrary moratorium to end so they can go back to work.”

Eleven thousand people gathered to talk about lost drilling jobs as well as lost small businesses up and down the Gulf Coast.  Distributors and suppliers who provide services to offshore drillers are standing empty and are laying off workers. 

There weren’t any passes to get into this event. These people were not screened with a special ticket to hear their governor speak.  These were the people of Louisiana but they could have been the people of any state. These were the real people that were destroyed by an arbitrary decision by an arbitrary administration.

Bobby Jindal is a man of the people but more than that he understands the free market.  He may be a long shot for President in 2012, but if he keeps leading like this, people will forget the Republican response in 2009.

What’s great about Jindal is that he isn’t thinking about the next political job, he’s doing the one he’s in now to the best of his ability. That is what makes a leader; a commodity that is in short supply.  Bobby Jindal is a leader and his future is ahead of him not mired in the past.