Here's the first one:
I saw Bobby Jindal talk last week at the National Press Club.
He's being widely touted as McCain's potential running mate,
though I agree withRoss that this would bea mistake--for Jindal.
No one should run for office this year as aRepublican who
doesn't have to. Mostly I was incredibly impressed. He looks
like the president of the high school chess club, so it's something
of a shock to my elitist coastal ears to hear a rich good-old-boy
southern accent issuing from him. But he's a hell of a talker, and
most of what he says actually makes sense.
Of course, I'm just in that first flush of puppy love, when a journalist
meets a handsome young politician who just might be The One. Soon enough, I'll undoubtedly find things about him to hate. But frankly, it's rare enough to
meet one I like. True love may have to wait.
Here's the second quote:
Last summer, the charismatic former congressman had been much buzzed about
as the great hope of the GOP, touted as a potential running mate for its
presidential candidate, Arizona senator John McCain....It’s true that the
brilliant, hardworking Jindal did not bring the impassioned verbiage and
lofty rhetoric that seems to have so entranced the Democrats and much of the
American public these days.
Jindal, who can give a good, substantive speech off the cuff, looked uncomfortable in front of a teleprompter, probably frustrated at the inadequacy of “responding” to apresidential address to Congress from the relatively modest confines of the
governor’s mansion in Baton Rouge. A fiend for wonky detail, he was most likely
also annoyed that he didn’t have the time to rebut the president’s
arguments point by point.
Jindal has along, bright political future. Right now, he ought to focus on rebuilding and reforming the disaster-and-corruption-riddled state that he so loves. And he should fight his battles as he faces them — making clear, as he did on Meet the Press recently, that he’ll only take money from the federal government if it
helps the residents of Louisiana, and refusing to create new, unsustainable
bureaucratic entities. When he does that, and does it in his element, he sings.
And it’s a song — of responsibility and principle and common sense — that we
thrill to hear.
The first quote is Megan McArdle, the second is Miss Kathryn Jean Lopez. One is a pseudo-intellectual and the other is a pseudo sane person, yet they both share the need to elevate a rather strange little man to the presidency. Politics make very, very strange bedfellows at times.
Jindal is smart and hard driving and has the mannerisms of a bad Mr. Rogers impressionist. His meteoric rise was very meteoric. He leap-frogged from post to post, going from student to governor in only ten years. He went from Oxford to consulting in 1994,. Two years later he was Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. Two years after that he was Executive Director of the National Bipartisan Comission on the Future of Medicare. Three years later he was Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services for Planning and Education. Two years later (once again), he quit to run for governor, lost, ran for State Representative, and won. Three years later he was governor, and two years later he was talked-up as vice president. I am reminded of the scene in The Court Jester, where Danny Kaye was rushed through his knight training in about five minutes, the quicker to elevate him when the king needed him. The effect is even more ludicrous when they try to make him out to be an impressive man in the process.
It's Jindal's personal beliefs which are the most repulsive, however. That's a bonus for Lopez but it's strange that McArdle is able to overlook his non-elite religious beliefs. One simply doesn't associate with the sort of people who actually believe what the Church tells them, who is afraid of demons and thinks women must suffer because of the sins of Eve. It's enough to make one's cheeks flush to think of it.
Here's more raving from McArdle. I know you've already seen it, but please humor me.
[...T]he guy just has skills. His message, like Obama's, is one of
hope and actual change; he tends to emphasize the work he's done reforming
Louisiana's notoriously corrupt political culture. And like Obama, he has
the charisma to put it over. Nearly all prominent politicians are
extremely charismatic. Being in a room with them is like being in a room
with the sun; you can't really look anywhere else. But some have it more
than others, and Jindal has a lot of it.
He's also a really good political organizer, which is how a Republican
carries Louisiana (to be sure, the Democratic governor's monstrously incompetent
performance during Hurricane Katrina helped quite a bit.) And on the other
metrics by which Obama stands out--his academic chops, his meteoric rise--Jindal
actually betters Obama. The guy was accepted to both Harvard Medical
School and Yale Law School, but decided to go for a political career, and
accepted his Rhodes Scholarship instead. At 25 he was appointed Lousiana's
Secretary of Health and Hospitals; at 28, he became the youngest-ever president
of the University of Louisiana system.
You can say many things about him--he's written some nutty things about
Protestants, and participated in an exorcism, which means he's gonna have some
'splaining to do if he runs for President. But he is not George W. Bush,
or John Kerry, or Al Gore, or any of the other range of uninspired sons of the
gentry who have graced our political landscape recently. He is
phenomenally smart, and phenomenally talented, and phenomenally likeable.
And I'm sure that complacent Democrats dismissing him as a goober with a God
complex suits his current plans just fine.
No doubt it does, but I think people are beginning to see the merits of having reality-based leaders instead of purely faith-based ones.