FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
The 2012 campaign has begun
Jindal visits Iowa
Bobby Jindal, the Louisiana governor the Washington Post calls “the Republican’s version of Obama,” visited Iowa last weekend. Jindal’s Iowa trip ignited talk that the campaign for the 2012 Republican presidential has begun:
Already, a fierce fight is looming between him and other Republicans –
former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who arrived in Iowa a couple of
days before him, and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who is said to be coming
at some point — for the hearts of social conservatives.
The Post likens Governor Jindal to President-elect Obama:
Like the president-elect, Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana is young (37), accomplished (a Rhodes scholar) and, as the son of Indian immigrants, someone familiar with breaking racial and cultural barriers.
[. . .]
Jindal is, above all else, a political meteor, sharing Obama’s
precocious skills for reaching the firmament in a hurry. It was just
four years ago, after losing a gubernatorial election, that he won
election to Congress, and only this year that he became Louisiana’s
governor, the first nonwhite to hold the office since Reconstruction.
And now, 10 months into his first term, the talk of a presidential bid
is getting louder among his boosters.
Jindal is his own invention, in the mold of an Obama. Born in Louisiana
as Piyush Jindal to highly educated immigrants from India, he decided
as a young child to nickname himself “Bobby,” after his favorite
character on the TV show “The Brady Bunch.” Raised as a Hindu, he
converted to Catholicism while in college and later wrote a lengthy,
intimate story that provided a window on his religious evolution, in a
manner that fairly calls to mind Obama’s books about his own grappling
with issues of self-identity. Success at Brown University and later at
Oxford University during his Rhodes years led to high-profile attention
in the power corridors of Louisiana and Washington.
Around the country, Republican players have taken notice of Jindal:
Steve Schmidt, the chief strategist of McCain’s failed presidential bid, sees Jindal as the Republican Party’s destiny.”The question is not whether he’ll be president, but when he’ll be president, because he will be elected someday.” The anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist believes, too, that Jindal is a certainty to occupy the White House, and conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh has described him as “the next Ronald Reagan.”
While in Cedar Rapids, Jindal claimed he only had one political race on his mind, but like Obama he talks of a new politics:
“I’m running for reelection to begovernor of Louisiana in 2011,” he said. “I’m not running for any other office.”
“I want to be the best governor I can be for the people of Louisiana. Look, I think the
American people are tired of campaigns and politics. We need to get
behind our new president and our new Congress, support them, and stop
being Democrats and Republicans. We need to work together to make sure
our government is successful.”
Jindal might continue to be coy about it. But, with Jindal and Huckabee already visiting Iowa, Gallup and Zogby conducting preference polling on potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates, and a TV ad already aired, 2012 has begun: