In the ongoing John McCain veepstakes, two camps have emerged as Gov. Bobby Jindal’s name continues to be bandied about as a possible running mate for Sen. McCain. Behind Door Number One, most political observers say there’s no way it’s going to happen. Jindal is simply too young, he’s only five months into his tenure as governor, and one of McCain’s main attacks on Sen. Barack Obama — that he’s too young and inexperienced — would be nullified if McCain put the 36-year-old Jindal on his ticket. In this camp, keeping Jindal’s name in the ongoing VP dance is merely a way to raise his national profile, most likely to pave the way for him to deliver the keynote speech at the upcoming GOP convention, and continue grooming him for a serious 2012 national run.
If that’s the case and McCain’s current flirtation with Jindal is nothing more than a bait-and-switch, give the national Republican Party credit. They’re doing a hell of a job of keeping Jindal’s name in the national press — and providing fuel for the folks behind Door Number Two, who believe Jindal’s the perfect pick for McCain. The Washington Times, the conservative paper owned by controversial Unification Church founder Sun Myung Moon, sums up the current conservative and religious right embrace of Jindal with an editorial endorsing Jindal for VP . Some highlights:
There are many things John McCain needs in a vice presidential candidate. The most obvious is a running mate who must be prepared to lead should the president be unable to. Other characteristics? Conservative. Youthful. Diverse. There is one name among those Mr. McCain is interviewing this weekend that fits the bill: Bobby Jindal.
... A staunchly pro-life Roman Catholic, Mr. Jindal has the voting record to match his socially and fiscally conservative rhetoric. ...
During his tenure as a congressman for Louisiana’s 1st Congressional District (2004-07), Mr. Jindal voted in favor of energy reforms to address increasing gas prices, including a measure to crack down on oil company cartels engaged in price-fixing and making allowances for offshore drilling. ...
Mr. Jindal has been an outspoken advocate (sometimes in contrast to the Bush administration) for more recovery and rebuilding funding for the Gulf Coast region after Hurricane Katrina. He has voted for legislation that would restrict independent PACs, require lobbyist disclosures of bundled donations and protect whistle blowers. His goals to reign in government spending mimic those of Mr. McCain, and Mr. Jindal supported making the Bush tax cuts permanent. Mr. Jindal also favors tough immigration reform — having voted for building a fence along the Mexican border (a position that helps to solidify Mr. McCain’s flip-flop on the issue).
With McCain scheduled back in Louisiana next week for events on June 3 (New Orleans and Kenner) and June 4 (Baton Rouge), don’t expect the Jindal-as-VP speculation to quiet down anytime soon. In the meantime, msnbc.com is running an online contest for readers to make their pick for Republican VP — and Jindal’s starting out as the No. 5 seed in the right bracket.