When Jim Geraghty sent out the Morning Jolt today (available at The Campaign Spot for those who don’t subscribe) he had a fun item regarding Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. His is one name that keeps popping up from time to time when discussions of 2016 GOP bids come up, though he’s been fairly coy about admitting that he’s thinking about tossing his hat in the ring. But, as Jim notes, if that’s the case, his prepared comments for an appearance today certainly are curious.
It’s about the ideas and what follows from them. The Russian reset. Iraq. Afghanistan. Israel. Egypt. Iran. Libya. Europe. China.
In each of these areas, it’s not just that the president took too long to come up with an answer. It’s that the answer was wrong.
If only he’d had the help of a wise steady hand, a policy expert in dealing with foreign affairs, he’d have come up with better answers. But instead he just had Hillary Clinton.
These appearances also coincide with a lengthy paper he released (along with Jim Talent) on a subject which extends a bit beyond the day to day operations of the Pelican State… national defense.
An increasingly multipolar world has brought with it myriad new threats — global terrorist organizations, rogue states like Iran and North Korea seeking access to nuclear weapons, a resurgent Russia looking to re-establish a sphere of influence on its eastern and southern borders, and a Chinese regime expanding and modernizing its military at a rapid pace. Yet even as threats continue to multiply, the Obama Administration has repudiated the operating principles of the post-war strategy that kept America safe by allowing our alliances and power to atrophy and disengaging from a global leadership role.
But disengagement is not a prescription for American security, nor is it the basis for a successful American foreign policy. We cannot continue to pretend that the world will get safer, or that risk will go away, if we respond to threats with rhetoric or attempt to ignore them entirely. The tumult of the last six years — and the last several months in particular — have demonstrated the failure of President Obama’s attempts to “lead from behind.” Instead, to preserve America’s security, our leaders must explain that America must remain active in the world, that her strategic interests must be protected, and that the way to protect them isn’t to deploy at every sign of trouble, but to maintain the robust tools of a great power, both hard and soft, both military and diplomatic, and use those tools thoughtfully to protect America and deter or contain conflict.
It’s not that I disagree with the policy proposals that Jindal outlines. To the contrary, I’ve always found him to be a fairly savvy guy with a good head for the issues, particularly on defense and the economy. But he doesn’t need to make such an effort to demure when people ask him about a presidential run. This is particularly true when he seems to be going out of his way to take shots at Hillary Clinton and drawing comparisons between her and Barack Obama on national security issues.
I got to meet and talk with Governor Jindal when he attended the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference in New Hampshire earlier this year. (He was even nice enough to autograph a photo of us together.) But that appearance really was telling. It’s seemed obvious, both before and since then, that if the opening looks like it’s there, the Governor would like to take a run at the big chair. And he’s gotten a lot better on the stump than his somewhat lackluster response to the State of the Union in 2009.
I have no idea how much public support he would gather initially if he jumps into the pool, nor if he would carry the support of the party’s various internal factions to a degree that would make him a front runner. But if he’s patient and can hang in there through what will doubtless be a long and grueling primary trail, history has shown us that many other candidates will likely blow themselves up along the way. Jindal has been under the microscope of Democrat opposition research teams for a while, and if there were any large landmines in his background I think we’d have seen them launching an attack by now. (Much the same as they’ve already done to Scott Walker, Chris Christie and Rick Perry.) He might have a better shot than he thinks.