I wrote this in June '08 but many didn't see this as likely back then, and of course Obama hadn't wrapped up the general election though I was certain he would. I wanted to raise this specter again. Any thoughts now that it appears to be closer to feasible?
I believe Governor Jindal's making a fuss about taking stimulus money is a precursor to testing the presidential waters.
My mind is already wandering ahead to the next big presidential election in 2012. And I predict that the GOP's darling and rising star, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, will emerge as the challenger.
This will be an unfathomably interesting moment in U.S. presidential politics: two brown guys running against each other for the White House. Full disclosure: I am an Indian-American, but proud to say that I would not support Jindal simply because he is one too.
There is a reason why Republicans drool over the prospect of this young 36-year old child of immigrants being McCain's running mate in this cycle. It's hard to say if that will happen, but he's considered among the three or four finalists. Jindal is a red-blooded Southern Republican; he is a cheerleader of the Iraq invasion and occupation, and extremely conservative on social issues. He is against stem cell research, against abortion, favors the teaching of intelligent design in school, and voted for the constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. He voted to restrict funding for the U.N., and wants to enact the flawed Patriot Act indefinitely. The biggest question in my mind is weather Jindal believes all of this, or if he is the good soldier who toes the G.O.P. line to advance himself.
But the package is sugar-coated to be palatable enough for most Americans. He is unquestionably brilliant,a political force far more accomplished than Obama was at 36 years of age, a Rhodes Scholar who ran Louisiana's Health Department at the tender age of 24, became only the third Indian-American member of Congress in 2002 arriving from the racist swamps, and a reformer who is seen by many objective observers as the person competently cleaning up the mess of Katrina and Louisiana's historical corruption.
To boot, he has a deliciously bizarre side to him. For example, he renamed himself as a child from the Indian name Piyush to Bobby based on the Brady Bunch character. He also truly believes that he has witnessed a demon possess his friend, as he wrote about in "Beating a Demon: Physical Dimensions of Spiritual Warfare" published in the New Oxford Review. Perhaps he can use those methods to exorcise Louisiana of all its ills?
Jindal is capable of posing Obama a challenge, but of course much will depend on how Obama's first four years in Washington go. A couple of accomplishments will be game-changers that will make it difficult to unseat an incumbent Obama. One is if he successfully catches Osama Bin Laden, which will violently uproot the Republican's stakes to the national security claims for an entire generation. A second would be a bona fide effort to provide health care for all, or at least nearly all Americans.
As far as predictions go, I think this is a good one, and I haven't seen it anywhere else in print yet. You saw it here first.