Governor Bobby Jindal has been mentioned, usually at the end of a long list, as a possible running mate with John McCain in November. Governor Bobby Jindal (Louisiana) was born on June 10, 1971, which makes him less than two years older than my own son, who was born March 26, 1973. That also makes it hard for me to think of him as a Vice-President, but then my son is the kind of bright young leader that I could vote for in a heart beat.
The most frequently mentioned reason for John McCain to not choose Bobby Jindal is his age. But Bobby Jindal has just as much experience as Senator Barack Obama, at least if you look at his experience objectively. And he has already accomplished far more as a real leader than Obama could imagine. Like you, I have heard Jindal’s name a great deal in the news recently so I decided to check him out. Would McCain shock us and pick this young man? Before you say, “No way,” consider that McCain has almost never followed anyone’s script for anything.
You can learn a lot about Bobby Jindal at his own Web site. Jindal is not known nationally at all. But he would be a fresh face for sure. He has what one columnist has called “rising star power.” Jindal has been often been referred to as “the smartest guy in the room.” Apparently his mind is not only exceptionally bright, as is Obama’s, but he also projects a qualities that have been seen in Obama—he is fresh, bright and a great communicator.
Of even more interest is this—Jindal is not a white guy. He is the son of Indian immigrants, which would make him a Republican version of Barack Obama, and what Kathleen Parker this last week called an “anti-Obama.” He is a fiscal, social, anti-abortion conservative who came to office on the promise of “change” and real reform in the wake of the catastrophe of Hurricane Katrina. And he delivered.
Here is the story, and it is very impressive. While Governor Kathleen Blanco told President Bush she would "get back to him" about what she needed in the state after Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, Jindal in contrast orchestrated a national emergency system of volunteers, through faith-based agencies, retailers and truckers, to donate time and supplies to the homeless. All of this created stories of legendary proportions. Jindal then ran for governor and shocked everyone by winning.
Before becoming governor Jindal served in the U. S. House and before that he was the secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. In that post he took the state’s Medicaid program from a $400 million deficit to a $220 surplus.
The more I studied Bobby Jindal’s life and record the more impressed I became. This is not your ordinary young son of immigrants from India. Jindal openly speaks of his Christian faith. He is a convert to Catholicism and doesn’t hide it. His conversion came in high school where his sweetheart, now his wife, stole his heart, and also led him to faith in Christ and membership in the church. In college he wrote a paper on exorcism, a subject someone from India, based upon my firsthand experience with the demonic there in the 1980s, should have more than a passing interest in. I wonder how the media would handle this if it became national news. It would be interesting for sure.
Jindal says he is not interested in running for the vice-presidency. He wants to serve his state right now. I believe him. He is rebuilding Louisiana from the ground up. This could create a compelling success story that would make Jindal a much better candidate on the national stage down the road. Being only 37 he has plenty of time, or so you would think. Either way I will be watching him more closely in the days ahead. This is clearly one unusual governor. Don’t forget that some of our best leaders have first served as governors. Thus Jindal is to be watched with more than passing interest. Obama made a splash four years ago with his speech on “The Audacity of Hope,” and now I wonder how the nation will discover Govenor Bobby Jindal. Any governor who can help Louisiana recover from its disaster is worthy of consideration. I think he has to be a leader who will get serious attention. If I were a betting man, and I’m not, I would bet on Bobby Jindal.