Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Jindal: The Antidote?

From Marina Jimenez in Toronto's Globe and Mail:
He is the Republican party's wunderkind. His family's triumph-over-adversity narrative is nearly as powerful as that of U.S. President Barack Obama's. And now, Bobby Jindal, the 37-year-old Governor of Louisiana, is . . . becoming a household name — [launched] onto the national platform on prime-time television . . . as the Republican party's rebuttal to the President's address to Congress.
It's a moment in history that's being compared to the keynote address a then-unknown Mr. Obama delivered in 2004 at the Democratic National Convention in Boston.
And like Mr. Obama, Mr. Jindal's political star is on the rise — as are the odds of a run for the Republican nomination for president in 2012. . . .
Born Piyush Jindal in Baton Rouge, La., Mr. Jindal adopted the name Bobby as a child, apparently after the character in the Brady Bunch, according to his family.
His parents immigrated from the Punjab to the United States so that his mother, pregnant with him at the time, could continue her graduate work in nuclear physics. His father, an engineer, was one of nine children from a poor rural family in Indian Punjab.
A graduate of Brown University, Mr. Jindal was a Rhodes Scholar and went on to work for the elite consulting firm McKinsey & Company.
Born a Hindu, he converted to Roman Catholicism in high school, and also has links to Baptist and Pentecostal congregations. At 25, he was named secretary of Louisiana's department of health. Mr. Jindal ran for governor in 2003 and lost. The following year he was elected to Congress, and in 2007, made a successful bid for governor. He and his wife Supriya Jolly have three young children.
He is widely considered to be an effective leader, his response to last fall's Hurricane Gustav praised for its efficiency. His biggest challenge has been to deal with a legislature that voted to more than double its take-home pay from $16,800 to $37,500.
Aside from their visible minority backgrounds and young families, Mr. Obama and Mr. Jindal differ markedly in style and substance.
While Mr. Obama projects a relaxed demeanour and had an unconventional upbringing, Mr. Jindal is meticulous, and very conservative. His campaign platform centred on a promise to cut taxes, ban abortion and introduce ethics reform. He opposes embryonic stem cell research and same-sex marriage.
Mr. Jindal has travelled quite a bit outside the state raising funds and is routinely named as a possible presidential candidate in 2012. He hasn't officially declared his interest — nor has he ruled it out. His unofficial campaign just received an unprecedented boost, a prime-time television appearance that may catapult him ahead of his rivals.

1 comment:

Radu Gherman said...

I've said this before, but I like Jindal. I think it would make for a great 2012 race to see him run against Obama.
But I'm going to have to agree with most of the talking heads, both liberal and conservative. His speech last night was doomed to fail; I'm not sure that anyone could have followed Obama's performance and fared well; both aesthetically and substantively.