Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Bobby Jindal – for President?

While the 2008 presidential election is just a few months away from primary season, the race for Louisiana’s governorship is coming to a close with Indian-American Bobby Jindal leading. If Jindal can pull off a 50% victory this Saturday, he’ll be planning his move to the Governor’s Mansion in Baton Rouge a little earlier than expected. If he fails to get 50%, the race will result in a runoff on November 17th. Either way, Jindal is a clear favorite with the most recent poll giving him 50% of the vote and his closest rivals 9%.

Jindal has been a bright star in this rather low point of a year for the GOP. In some ways his political career is reminiscent of Barack Obama. Some conservative commentators have labeled him the Obama with actual experience. Could Jindal run for president? Well for one he was born in the US and two, he certainly has the resume having been a Rhodes Scholar, President of the University of Louisiana system, Assistant Secretary for Health and Human Services, and most recently serving as a Congressman. All this accomplished by the age of 36.

Being elected governor would pay off significantly for a White House bid. There has been a trend of governors (southern state governor anyone?) winning the national election, the last person who was a Senator prior to President was JFK. Being a minority Republican candidate could also help Jindal gather more media attention and expand the party’s voter base.

Politics and race aside, the one issue that could make a presidential run successful for him is healthcare. With the first Baby Boomer applying for Social Security yesterday, 4 to 8 years from now healthcare for aging and retiring Americans will be a bigger issue than ever and Jindal who has spent much of his career focusing on public health issues will have a significant influence on policy. Perfect timing for a healthcare savvy governor looking for the next step in his career.

Anay Shah

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