There is a lot of talk today about Condi Rice for VP. I like Condi and all. But it won't be her. She is perceived as a moderate - probably unjustly so, but the fact is, on some social issues, she is distrusted by the conservative base. This conservative base is already skeptical of Romney, so Romney needs a reassuring pick, not a controversial one in this regard. She is also closely associated with the Bush administration. Now remember, for the most part, I liked Bush. This is not a bad thing for me. But Obama wants to run against the last two years of the Bush administration - two years that went south, largely because Pelosi and Reid were running Congress... but I digress. Romney needs to be able to say that he would not be just another Bush Republican. Condi on the ticket negates that. Finally, unlike most other politicians who say it, when she says she never wants to run for office, she convinces me. So who should Romney choose? I say, Bobby Jindal:
1) Let's get the obvious out of the way - Jindal is an Indian-American, and Romney is a boring white guy. Jindal on the ticket would be abother historic first, and would forever change the race debates in this nation. The GOP would no longer be the white people party. And it would highlight the racial double-standard of the left: to liberals, if you are black or Mexican, you are a special minority. But if you are Asian, you are nothing to them. However, Asians have just surpassed hispanics as the fastest growing immigrant group. They are an important voting bloc, and have been largely ignored by politicians across the country. This would be big. Real big.
2) Jindal is both the second coming of, and at the same time, the polar opposite of, Sarah Palin. Palin and Jindal agree on most issues, excite the tea party and conservative base, and break ground as historic minority figures. Jindal would add needed fire to the Romney campaign as Palin did for McCain. But elites hated Palin, unfairly, because she is a "low brow" figure who took more than four years to graduate from a podunk state college and went on to do things like work on fishing boats instead of working at law firms, universities, or major corporations like "respectable" people. Jindal is at home with blue collar working class folks, but has elite cred up the wazoo (see below).
3) Jindal would be one of the most intelligent, best educated candidates on a ticket - just like Romney. Obama fans brag about his Harvard Law degree and tenure as a professor. Well... Romney graduated with honors from Harvard Law AND Harvard Business. He needs a running mate with similar achievement, to avoid diminishing his own. Jindal graduated from Brown with honors (double majoring, in just three years), then went to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, graduating with a Master's degree in Political Science, and was a consultant for McKinsey and Company and president of University of Louisiana - that's real brains, with the paper to back it up. It would be impossible for anyone to say with any credibility that the Republican Party is the "stupid" party with Jindal on the ticket alongside Romney.
4) Jindal has government experience and executive experience that defies belief for someone so young. Jindal was the head of Louisiana Health and Human Services, president of University of Louisiana, assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Congressman, and Governor of Louisiana - all before age 40. He is younger than I am by a year. I feel so pathetic in comparison! Romney's big advantage - his private sector experience - is also a weakness in that people expect a President (especially after the Obama nightmare) to have extensive experience running GOVERNMENT. Romney has only his one term as a governor; adding Jindal to the ticket would add incredible balance in that regard.
5) Jindal excites the tea party. Romney doesn't. A Romney-Jindal ticket unites the big tent of establishment GOP, moderates, conservatives, and the tea party. Romney needs that.
6) Jindal is right on the issues. He favors limited federal government, states' rights, low taxes, less regulation, secure borders, life, liberty, guns, babies, God and country. Jindal is top rated by Right to Life, the NRA, and Club for Growth. He has the right vision for America, and will help reassure those on our side who fear Romney lacks a conservative vision or core conservative principles.
7) Jindal has experience that Romney lacks. Jindal served on the Homeland Security Committee in Congress and has national security expertise. This helps make up for a significant Romney weakness while the U.S. is still engaged in the Global War on Terror and faces new threats from the likes of Iran.
8) Jindal is a turn-around specialist, like Romney, but with government instead of private business. As head of Louisiana HHS, Jindal wiped out a $400 million deficit and created a $200 million surplus. As governor, he rescued his state's credit rating. He has the same vision for rescuing failing organizations with sweeping changes for improved efficiency as Romney - but has experience doing it with failing governments.
9) Jindal's greatest area of expertise is healthcare policy. The GOP is running on repealing Obamacare. The left keeps saying the GOP has no vision for replacing it. Romney's greatest weakness is that he implemented Romneycare as governor. Having Jindal on the ticket demonstrates a commitment to making actual healthcare REFORM, and not just Obamacare repeal, a top priority.
10) Jindal is Catholic. Romney is Mormon. Many voters will not support a Mormon. The Catholic Church has been, historically, one of the most critical anti-Mormon organizations. A Mormon-Catholic ticket would be an incredible thing, more so (in my opinion) than a Mormon-Protestant ticket. While there are many Protestant evangelicals who will not support Romney, I believe their biggest problem with him isn't religion so much as perceived weakness on social issues like abortion, gay marriage, and gun control. Jindal would do more to help with this than probably any Protestant other than Mike Huckabee - and Huckabee would do more harm with tea party conservatives than he would help with social conservative evangelicals.
11) JIndal has been vetted. He has been elected and re-elected congressman and governor. Louisiana is a tough state for politics. If there was dirt on Jindal, it would have already derailed him.
12) Jindal has handled crisis. He succeeded in leading during the Gulf oil spill and Hurricane Gustav when other states failed, and in stark contrast to Katrina before he became governor. When the 3 a.m. call comes, Jindal will have a cool head and get right to work solving the crisis.
13) Unlike some other potential candidates, Jindal was not in Congress during the end of the Bush years, and therefore does not have a TARP vote to rationalize! He has congressional experience (important, as VP is also President of the Senate), but without a long history of bad votes to drag him down.
14) Jindal has a strong family story. He is the child of immigrants. His parents came to America to make use of their education in a free country. His siblings are all successes. His wife is a chemical engineer with an MBA working on her PhD. Everyone in the family has strong personal values. There won't be any embarassing uncles showing up drunk or children being born out of wedlock.
And that brings up something that needs discussed: there is a lunatic fringe of the birther crowd who will claim Jindal is not eligible under the Constitution. Let's just clear this up. HE IS. Jindal was born in the United States. His parents came to America legally, under a visa, and subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. Anyone saying otherwise is a fool, allowing a non-issue to distract us from the REAL issue at hand: Obama, whether born in Hawaii or not, is a FAILURE as President who must be replaced because of his bad policies.
So that's my take. Jindal would be best. You can agree or disagree. But regardless of who Romney chooses as his running mate, my vote is with Romney to defeat Obama. I hope you and I can agree on that!