Whatever happened to Bobby Jindal?

Jindal has subordinated his duties as a governor to his presidential ambitions, 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…

But his ambition has not only distracted him from the state’s affairs, but also distorted his gubernatorial priorities. One reason for the state’s yawning $1.6 billion deficit is that he has resorted to easy budgetary gimmicks that he once criticized (such as raiding the state’s rainy day funds, issuing tax amnesties) rather than dealing with broader structural issues, like the state’s bizarre tax code…

Without a solid gubernatorial performance to tout, there doesn’t seem to be anything unique that Jindal can offer GOP voters that other GOP candidates can’t, especially now that Scott Walker, the spectacularly successful governor of Wisconsin, is considering a presidential bid. Not only did Walker prevail against the most powerful liberal interest group in his state (labor unions), but restored his popularity as well.

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).