Lousiana Governor Bobby Jindal withdrew from the presidential campaign yesterday. He is the third Republican to pull out, following Texan Rick Perry and Wisconsin’s Scott Walker. “This is not my time. I’ve come to the realization that this is not my time,” he told Fox News. He is right, and his withdrawal at this stage, before he gets severely embarrassed, leaves him a political future brighter than most of those against whom he had been running. Bobby Jindal isn’t done yet.
At 44, he is already a two-term governor of a medium-sized state. The state constitution bans him from a third consecutive term, but there is nothing preventing him from another go at the governor’s mansion after a four-year hiatus. That puts him on a great many short lists, including that for vice-presidential nominee. In the event that the Republicans win the White House in 2016, he can almost certainly count on being offered a cabinet post.
Mr. Jindal is an unlikely elected official. “I never thought Bobby would run for office,” Mary Beth Guillot, Mr. Jindal’s high-school principal had told Newsweek a few years ago. “He just wasn’t the backslapping, glad-handing type.” In truth, Mr. Jindal is much more comfortable arguing the finer points of policy than he is working a room full of donors and voters.
He signaled to Fox News that a policy-related job is next. “I’m going to go back to a think tank, one of the things I’m going to be doing, I’m going to go back to a think tank called America Next that I set up a few years ago to develop these policies,” Governor Jindal told Bret Baier.
Should the Republican Party come up short in the White House sweepstakes in 2016, the ideal position for him may well be in rebuilding the party’s brand. In a country where evangelicals have voted for the GOP for decades and achieved nothing for their efforts, he is positioned to help redefine what it means to be conservative in America in the 21st century. Mr. Jindal’s roots in India can help the Republicans overcome their difficulty in attracting non-white voters, and as a policy fan, he can get the powers that be to listen.
Governor Jindal’s withdrawal is something of an indictment of the current state of the Republican Party. One ought to note that the other two gentlemen who have dropped our of the race also carry the title “Governor.” In truth, the best possible preparation for serving as President of the United States is to have been a governor. The executive skills required in each role are almost identical.
Instead, the party has fallen head over heels for three candidates with no political experience (Mr. Trump, Ms. Fiorina, and Dr. Carson). One can appreciate the idea that members of the House and Senate, as Washington insiders, are part of whatever problem there might be with the federal government’s perceived ineptitude. Governors are a different matter entirely. If it were just one governor unable to get traction, one could put it down to a weak candidate. Just two, and it can be considered a coincidence. Three governors quitting, however, starts to look like a very unfortunate trend for the GOP.
This journal holds no brief for conservative policies, but it does respect the need for dynamic tension in politics between left and right to act as a correcting mechanism against the baser instincts of each party. Mr. Jindal is, for the most part, the kind of conservative the nation needs, a policy maven with executive office experience. One would be quite content with him as leader of the opposition.