In the aftermath of a report from Reuters suggesting that GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney had narrowed his potential running mates down to three people – Rob Portman, Tim Pawlenty and Bobby Jindal – vice presidential speculation has been on a tear. Surely none of these names were people who would have been expected before the process began (with the possible exception of Jindal), yet here we are.
Depending on your convictions, either one of those names probably jumps out at you as an overwhelmingly good choice, or none of them does. All the same, that hasn’t stopped members of the press from making the case for and against each of them obsessively. To that end, today’s entry in the “reasons why so and so should be Vice President” trend comes from Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post, who has taken it upon himself to set out the case both for and against Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.
Today, he’s arguing for him. See if you agree with his reasons:
One of the major problems for Republicans in 2008 was that they were running against history. Then Illinois Sen. Barack Obama was the first African American presidential nominee for either party, and the chance to elect the country’s first black president clearly had an emotional and symbolic pull on many voters that Arizona Sen. John McCain (R) was simply unable to combat.
McCain and his team tried to match history against history by picking former Alaska governor Sarah Palin — she was the first Republican woman on a national ticket — but it blew up in their faces (to put it kindly). Picking Jindal would allow Republicans a historic do-over; he would be the first Indian-American on either parties’ national ticket and, unlike Palin, is much more of a known commodity — and hence less of a risk.[…]
Jindal wouldn’t likely overshadow Romney — as Christie and Rubio clearly would — but neither would he be lumped in with the “boring white guy” pick that might not get Romney the sort of bump he is looking for.[…]
In his four-plus years in office, Jindal has built a very impressive record that would fit nicely with Romney’s promises to bring conservative principles to the federal government.[…]
If Romney wants to prove that he is serious about repealing President Obama’s health care law and replacing it with a more conservative approach, there is no one on the Republican side — with the possible exception of Romney himself — who knows the issue better than Jindal.[…]
The Republican professional class knows that the stereotype of the party as a bunch of old white guys is terrible for them — and has to change. Picking Jindal would address much of that criticism. Not only is he Indian American but he is also just 41 years old — more in Barack Obama’s generation than Mitt Romney’s.
Now, we realize that Cillizza isn’t voicing his own opinions, but is instead playing devil’s advocate for one particular point of view, which he will endeavor to take on in later pieces. Nevertheless, at the risk of stealing Cillizza’s thunder, we have to wonder if all of this is a bit too clever by half, and overlooks a few glaring problems with Jindal’s record.
Moreover, some of Cillizza’s is self-contradictory. For instance, how is Jindal supposed to look like a wonderful fresh face, if he’s not terribly exciting (as this article implies), and thus wouldn’t be noticeable in the first place? And what if the parts about him that are noticeable are all the bad things, like, say, the exorcism he apparently participated in in college? With a doozy of a story like that, it would seem that one needs a more compelling image to counteract it.
Nevertheless, it would be fascinating to watch Jindal debate Joe Biden. If nothing else, it would be a teachable moment for Biden regarding what Indian-Americans do besides (according to him) working at 7-11.