When conservative titan Rush Limbaugh declares a politician “the next Ronald Reagan, if he doesn’t change”, I make it a priority to learn about such an individual.
Bobby Jindal became the youngest governor in the United States when the 36-year old garnered 54% of the vote in the 2007 Louisiana gubernatorial race (None of his other three opponents even topped 20%).
In this the era of the Republicans losing the mantle of fiscal responsibility, Jindal’s accomplishments clearly indicate he has the ability to cure the “drunken sailor” mentality of today’s GOP. During his tenure as secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, Louisiana's Medicaid program went from bankruptcy with a $400 million deficit into three years of surpluses totaling $220 million. Such success led to his 1998 appointment as executive director of the National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare, a 17-member panel charged with devising plans to reform Medicare.
In September 2003, Jindal went on the record in the Times-Picayune by saying he is "..100 percent anti-abortion with no exceptions. I believe all life is precious." He never once backed down from that statement. Despite narrowly losing to Kathleen Blanco in ’03 gubernatorial race, Jindal decided to run for the US House in Louisiana’s 1st Congressional district, which is notorious for its social conservatism. Jindal won a seat in the House in 2004 with 78% of the vote and was re-elected in 2006 with a whopping 88%.
With 71-year old John McCain the presumptive GOP nominee, conventional wisdom says that he would select a rising young star as his running mate. While Jindal would appear to be a choice which would galvanize conservatives for the McCain campaign, my preference would be to have him serve out his term in Louisiana. If his track record is any indication, Jindal will strengthen his credentials by proving his leadership in an executive position of government.
Without a Jimmy Carter, there would have never been the longing for a Ronald Reagan in 1980. We may see history repeat if a 41-year old Jindal makes a White House run in 2012, especially if we’ve had to endure four years of an Obama presidency.
However, it is my hope is that the Republicans will make serious adjustments in time for the 2008 elections.