By Robert J. Guttman
June 26, 2015
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has now officially joined the growing list of governors and former governors vying for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.
On paper, Governor Jindal looks like a terrific candidate. He is a very smart person who has accomplished quite a bit in his young life.
“Jindal’s status as a conservative of color helped propel his meteoric rise in the Republican Party-from an early post in the George W. Bush administration to two terms in Congress and now a second term as Louisiana governor,” according to a recent article on Jindal in The Washington Post.
The Washington Post piece goes on to state, “He was elected governor in 2007 and reelected in 2011 with two-thirds of the vote-in part by positioning himself as a buttoned-down bureaucrat who could clean up the state and by learning how to cultivate the ‘Bubbas for Bobby’”.
Jindal, the first Indian American governor in American history, has been anxious to run for president, it seems, for many years. The former Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and Brown University graduate, has had a super star political career. He was Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals; Assistant Secretary at Health and Human Services in Washington; President of the University of Louisiana System and was elected freshman class president when he was in Congress.
The Louisiana Governor, who has battled hurricanes and the BP oil spill, is a well-known policy wonk and a hard working politician.
So, why is this overachieving politician from Louisiana hardly registering in the national polls with GOP voters?
His announcement speeches were clever showing a video of his wife and children reacting to his announcing for president and how it will change the life of his family for the next year.
He has already disregarded President Ronald Reagan’s 13th commandment of not speaking ill of his fellow Republican challengers for the GOP presidential nomination. Jindal criticized former Florida Governor and announced GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush in his announcement speech.
Part of the reason that Jindal might be discounted is that he is moving to the right on many issues to stand out in the crowded GOP presidential field.
Jindal is respected as a sound student of health care but he seems strident in speaking out against Obamacare.
Jindal is now an announced presidential candidate and the voters can judge for themselves if he is the person for the job at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
In an article written in 2014 on Jindal, The Washington Examiner says, “Jindal is obviously ambitious (he is just 43, despite the long resume), but he can sometimes come across as wanting it too much. And when he makes a move that looks baldly political as in his recent turn against Common Core, he only reinforces that impression. Also, it’s not clear that his deep policy knowledge is really the best equipment for a chief executive. Does Jindal see a big picture, a broad vision that will inspire voters? Or would he be better cast as Secretary of Health and Human Services?”
The current Governor of Wisconsin Scott Walker is already near the front of the polls for the GOP presidential nomination and he hasn’t announced officially yet.
Walker seems like an every person type of candidate. He drives a motorcycle, is not wealthy like many of the other candidates, and looks and sounds like a typical hard working person from the Midwest with solid values.
“Unlike most governors, Walker has his own national donor database. In 2012, he faced a recall election after stripping many unions of their bargaining rights. That contest, along with his reelection campaign in November, attracted the attention of conservative benefactors nationwide who relished his win over organized labor,” states a June 24th article in The Washington Post.
Walker, who is now taking on tenure for professors at universities and colleges in the Badger state, is known to Republican voters in Iowa, the first state to actually cast their votes in a caucus in February, 2016.
The former Wisconsin state assemblyman and former Milwaukee County Executive seems more soft spoken and not as bombastic in his speeches than some of the other GOP presidential candidates.
Speaking of not being soft spoken and being bombastic in speeches, one need look no further than the two term outspoken governor of New Jersey Chris Christie.
Governor Christie is not afraid to speak his mind. He tells it like it is and has a reputation for a tough talking take no prisoners type of governor.
This approach may or may not appeal to voters in Iowa and New Hampshire and other early primary states.
Before the so-called Bridgegate affair, Christie was being touted as the leading GOP presidential candidate. Bridgegate is mostly forgotten or hardly even remembered by most people outside of New Jersey which is good for the governor.
Many potential voters praise Christie’s response to the hurricane that devastated the coastal part of New Jersey. Many praise his ability to work with the other party to get legislation passed and things accomplished.
How Christie plays in the heartland will say a lot about whether the New Jersey governor fades early or moves forward. He touts himself as someone who can get things done. Time will tell after his soon to be expected announcement speech.
And, the sleeper in the GOP field, if he announces for president as expected, is Ohio Governor John Kasich. He is a proven winning candidate in a battleground state the GOP has to win to capture the White House in 2016.
“Ohio Governor John Kasich deserves the award for best performance in a battleground state. . . .Kasich won a majority of union voters, three-fifths of female voters, a majority of voters younger than 30, two-thirds of independents and a quarter of African American voters,” wrote Michael Gerson in The Washington Post in 2014 after the midterm elections.
Kasich also served in the US House of Representatives as chairman of the House Budget Committee and became well known to potential voters as a commentator on Fox News.
In addition to the current GOP governors running, the Republicans also have former New York Governor George Pataki, former Texas Governor Rick Perry and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush in the race.
If the GOP is smart they will look for the best ways to win Ohio and Florida-two crucial states to win the electoral vote. Kasich paired with either Rubio or Bush could be a possible winning ticket. Who would be on top of the ticket remains to be seen as the race continues to unfold.