Seven years ago, conservatives were all atwitter over Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. He was supposed to be the
conservative answer to Barack Obama: A first-generation Indian-American who rejected offers from Harvard med and Yale law to study political science on a Rhodes scholarship.
But now in his second gubernatorial term, this boy wonder is trailing second to last among the dozen Republican presidential candidates. And his approval rating in Louisiana is now 27 percent in contrast to 67 percent of the vote he got for his second term.
Some loss of popularity was inevitable. But it takes hard work to squander so much goodwill. How did Jindal accomplish this?
I note in my column at The Week today:
Jindal has subordinated his duties as a governor to his presidential ambitions (during his second term), and the more he's done that, the less effective he's become as both governor and presidential candidate, paradoxically undermining the very goal he seeks…
Perhaps Jindal senses his comparative advantage slipping, which is why he's been casting around wildly for a workable message. In recent months, he's tried to position himself as the ideas candidate (admonishing the GOP not to be the "stupid party," releasing copious proposals for health care and energy reform), a religious warrior (who's had it with the liberal war on religious liberty), a cultural purist (who wants to restrict Muslims because they don't assimilate in America), and a security hawk (who demands a boost in defense spending).
Go here to read the whole thing.
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