Welcome to Day 4 of my countdown of the top five reasons why Bobby Jindal will never, ever be president. We started on Tuesday with Reason No. 5 (He’s from Louisiana — Duh!) and continued on Wednesday with Reason No. 4 (He doesn’t “look presidential”).
Yesterday, we offered Reason No. 3 (He’s too timid to be a frontrunner, and the GOP loves frontrunners), so now it’s time for Reason No. 2:
He’s not even the choice of the GOP’s right wing. Okay, so Bobby Jindal doesn’t look like Ronald Reagan or run like George W. Bush, and he’s from a state most Americans consider a quirky outpost. He at least is the darling of the Religious Right and the tea party, right?
Jindal trails every other potential candidate that is courting the GOP’s ideologically conservative base. U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, along with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, U.S. Rep. (and former GOP vice presidential nominee) Paul Ryan and Texas Gov. Rick Perry all finished ahead of Jindal in the 2014 CPAC straw poll. Jindal got just 2 percent of the CPAC vote after speaking to the group for 15 uninspiring minutes. That makes him a long shot even for vice president.
Admittedly, the CPAC poll hasn’t been a bellwether for future nominees. How about the Iowa caucuses, then? In that crucial first-in-the-nation caucus state, Jindal didn’t even register a blip on the radar screen in an April poll of likely GOP voters, despite his forays to the Hawkeye State in recent years. In that poll, three potential candidates formed a top tier: Huckabee with 20 percent; Ryan with 19 percent; and Jeb Bush with 18 percent. The second tier consisted of Rubio and Cruz at 9 percent, Paul at 8 percent, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at 7 percent and Walker at 6 percent. Trailing the pack was Joe Scarborough at 4 percent, which puts Jindal somewhere at the bottom of (or just below) the third tier.
Moreover, all of Jindal’s potential rivals for the GOP nomination not only have national audiences and national followings — both of which he lacks — but they also have more gravitas than he. As U.S. senators, Rubio, Cruz and Paul are sought out by the media because they have expertise on national issues. Ditto for Ryan, who was Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012 after establishing himself as a conservative authority on the federal budget. Perry has a stronger record as governor, and Huckabee is the leading choice among conservative Christians.
While Team Jindal paints our governor as a policy wonk, his rivals run circles around him when it comes to actually writing and implementing national policies. He talks the talk; they walk the walk.
Equally important, when the eventual nominee picks a running mate, any one of those rivals would bring a lot more to the ticket than Jindal. Florida’s Rubio and Texas’ Cruz come from states with lots of electoral votes, and both appeal to Hispanics — a demographic identified by virtually every GOP consultant as critical to the party’s future. Paul, of Kentucky, has inherited his father’s appeal to young people while broadening his own appeal as a pragmatist on major issues.
And if a candidate from the party’s right wing should happen to win the nomination in 2016, you can bet he won’t look to a less impressive knockoff when it’s time to pick a future veep. The bottom line for Jindal: The base from which he hopes to run for president already belongs to several others, and he has little chance of pushing any of them aside.
Clancy DuBos is publisher of Gambit and BestOfNewOrleans.com, where this article first appeared.