Friday, October 24, 2008

Jindal Career Counciling

Oyster aptly assesses Bobby Jindal's prospects for national office after Mitt Romney fluffs the governor on local radio:

Running for Prez in 2012 would be difficult for Bobby. He'd have to gear up while running for Gubernatorial re-election in 2011, which would be sort of farcical. Also, displacing a sitting President isn't an easy thing to do. 2016 would make the most sense for him. He'd still be young and fresh, but would have more "executive experience"... etc. And after eight years of Obama and a Democratic powergrip on Congress, the GOP will be looking for a political savior to lead them out of the wilderness.

I agree to an extent. The McCain campaign exemplifies an erosion of the Republican coalition and message that will take more than one election cycle to halt. The GOP will have a very difficult go of things in 2012 for a wide variety of reasons. It is a lot easier to picture a successful "savior" campaign in 2016 when memories of recent history have been sufficiently erased.

My disagreement is with Oyster's assumption that the 2012 campaign would complicate his 2011 reelection bid. Running on a 'the work's not done' message would only be slightly more complicated when questioned about his habitual getaways to Iowa and New Hampshire. I do not foresee any challenge that Bobby Jindal's astronomical approval rating cannot withstand. His core donors are extremely wealthy and have been extremely generous on his behalf. While some might tap themselves out propping up the Vitter campaign in 2010 there will be something left in the tank for the Governor, if what I've learned about Vitty Cent's diminished support within the base is true. Plus, given that Bobby Jindal has already being introduced to the national kingmakers, he'll have no problem glad-handing his way to an enormous reelection war chest.

What Democrat in Louisiana will consider it worthwhile to go up against an exceedingly popular incumbent governor with overflowing campaign coffers?

Will the promise of a couple of TV ads worth of "duh, den why he all in Iowa?" be enough to convince a high profile Democrat to go all-in?

For my money, Mitch Landrieu, Charlie Melancon, and Don Cazayoux are the only Democrats with the credibility to run a statewide campaign. Either Melancon or Cazayoux will defeat Vitter in 2010 and the remainders are smart enough to realize that it's much wiser to consolidate Democratic power by locking down and expanding reach into the various congressional seats.

The only democrat dumb enough to campaign for governor in 2011 is John Neely Kennedy.

In other words, Jindal has nothing to worry about if he wants to go all-in for 2012.

However, to go back to the first point about the national political climate in 2012, my guess is that Jindal will go all-in on a bluff. It will be very much worth his while to campaign hard in the early primary states in 2011 in order to build an infrastructure for the real thing in 2016. The other possibility is that the Republican primary voters get it together to nominate somebody with the sense to remake the conservative message. For instance, should Mike Huckabee continue to make a play for young evangelicals with a message of charity, environmental responsibility, and the Earth is 6000 years old. . . well Bobby Jindal might find it helpful to slide into the VP slot. If Rudy Giuliani is the GOP nominee, Jindal might find it helpful to soak in the national security credentials rub.

Whatever the outcome, Jindal will almost certainly have his sights set on the 2012 GOP primary. However, his intention will be to run, not to win. If he is to seek the Presidency in 2016, if he is to even consider it, he'll need to have some semblance of a national grassroots infrastructure already in place. He can afford to prime the pump in 2012 because the 2011 gubernatorial reelection will be nothing more than a pesky mosquito.

1 comment:

jeffrey said...

I agree with you that Jindal doesn't have to worry about his higher ambitions hurting his chances of being reelected. Really, when has that sort of thing ever stopped anyone? If I'm running against Jindal, one argument I don't want to try is, "Don't vote for that guy because a lot of people think he'll make a great President"

I disagree with your assessment of the GOP's chances in 2012. Angry Republicans are a far more effective opposition party than the Douchey Dems have been. After Clinton was elected in 92, it only took them two years to find their footing again. Four should be more than sufficient especially taking into account the kind of resentment Sarah Palin is currently sewing on the campaign trail.

I think Jindal will run in 2012 but I don't buy the intending-not-to-win thing, though. The way I see it, Jindal will have to settle for VP because Huckabee is clearly the guy.

I would love to disagree with your assessment of the Democratic field for Gov of LA in 2011 but given the pathetic candidates we had in 2007, it's really hard to do that. I will say that the circumstances were pretty unusual what with Meemaw dropping out and then Breaux being denied entry. Given enough time to prepare, I think somebody like Mitch could run a decent campaign... and we still don't know what Nagin wants to do so there's always that...