Jindal asked to aim for the top spot - but later

May 29th, 2008 - 1:59 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Arnold Schwarzenegger
By Arun Kumar
Washington, May 29 (IANS) A conservative scholar wants the likely Republican presidential candidate John McCain not to pick Bobby Jindal, the first Indian American US governor, as his vice presidential running mate. Louisiana Governor Jindal would do more for the Republican party by staying where he is for the time being, says Nicole Gelinas, the Searle Freedom Trust Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, asking McCain to “Leave Jindal Alone!”

If McCain makes an offer to Jindal, it will probably be difficult to resist. But if McCain wants to help Louisiana recover from Hurricane Katrina, he’ll leave its new governor where he is. Jindal’s state needs him more than the nation does.

Asking Jindal to concentrate on turning Louisiana around, and bide his time, the scholar said: “As for Jindal’s political future: if he wants to be vice president someday, he shouldn’t worry that this opportunity will be his last.”

“As the nation watches Louisiana recover from Katrina, Jindal has a prominent stage on which to show that Republicans can govern competently, even as other stars in the party - including California’s Arnold Schwarzenegger - struggle to keep their promises,” he said.

“Four or eight years from now, Jindal will still be a young man. By then, if he’s done his job well in Louisiana, he’ll be able to point to his solid, permanent achievements as governor - and even, perhaps, skip the veep step and try for the top spot instead,” Gelinas suggested.

It’s easy to see why McCain would consider Jindal, he said in an article in the City Journal last week before the Republican candidate invited Jindal, Florida governor Charlie Crist and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney to his ranch home in Arizona.

When the 36-year-old governor came to office earlier this year, he already had an impressive record of accomplishment, Gelinas noted. “As a twentysomething in former governor Mike Foster’s cabinet in the 1990s, Jindal reorganised the state’s Medicaid plan, cutting costs and transforming deficits into surpluses.”

He then served ably in Congress. In his first few months as governor, he has shepherded ethics reforms through the state legislature and started working on an income-tax cut and an infrastructure-investment plan, he said.

“Jindal is an attractive candidate in political terms, too: he’s young (barely half McCain’s age), and he’s the son of Indian immigrants, a factor for McCain to consider as he prepares to run against either the first black or first female Democratic presidential candidate,” Gelinas said.

Although McCain and his campaign claimed the Arizona gathering was simply a weekend among friends and a chance for the McCains to thank the guests for their support, speculation was rife that it was in fact an audition for potential vice presidential nominees.

Jindal too later told a local TV channel in his home state that he discussed a number of topics with McCain except the possibility of being his vice presidential running mate.

But as McCain entertained his guests, the conservative Washington Times editorially endorsed Jindal as the best man for the number two spot.

According to The New York Times state Republican leaders across the US too gave a tentative nod to Jindal, Crist and Mitt Romney, saying the trio shared several qualities that many Republican officials hoped for in a No. 2 on the ticket.

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