There's really no shortage of interesting possibilities for the GOP in 2012, a year by which this country will likely be waking-up with a painful socialist hangover and a trillion-dollar Federal deficit, then asking "what were we thinking?"
The GOP's rising stars are being discussed as the party seeks direction, and there may be a couple surprise prospects by the time the presidential primaries of 2011 roll-around... driven by a good Republican showing in 2010 mid-terms. Yeah, it is a little early... but so what, why not have some fun thinking about it? You can be sure that both the major parties already are.
You can't dismiss Mitt Romney's intelligence, ambition, and abilities. Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels was just re-elected by 18 points in a state that that went to Obama. House Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia has also been mentioned. Florida Governor Charlie Crist is another prospect for the GOP. Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty's an ambitious young conservative who's an evangelical Christian, popular with the religious right. There is of course the chance of another run in 2012 from Mike Huckabee and/or Rudy Giuliani.
As conservatives are well-aware, the DNC has just completed successful Presidential, Senatorial, and Congressional campaigns... and Democratic strategists such as David Axelrod seem to have a thumb on the pulse of the electorate at this point in time. They of course are thinking long-term now, and would love to establish Democratic preeminence. Wouldn't it be interesting to see who they think is the most likely to oppose them in the 2012 Presidential contest? Or better yet, who do they fear the most?
With a little analysis of recent words and actions of Democrats and their allies in the press, the answer may be more apparent. While the left is now leaving John McCain to lick his wounds in peace, the emergence of fresh post-election attacks on Sarah Palin certainly rouses curiosity... and are now starting on Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, as well.
There seems to be a strategy of preemption afoot, and from the left, of all places (I thought they were opposed to that sort of thing)- MSM, online media, and bloggers are all going after Governor Palin in a sustained effort, and mysterious leaks and rumors persist. Theories are bantered-about such as about how her Christian faith could have her pushing the "nuke" button to expedite the moment of Rapture. MSNBC's crew has been relentless. And liberal websites and bloggers have never let-up.
To an outside observer, the Democrats appear perhaps fearful of Sarah Palin coming back at them in 2012 with a dynamic and complementary VP nominee like Bobby Jindal. While the press couldn't deny her success and popular appeal during the campaign (particularly following Palin's impressive debut at the convention), they neutralized this unavoidable positive coverage with synthetic "scandals" from the day she was first introduced by McCain in Dayton.
And of course those who discounted Palin's short tenure as governor would be the last ones to note that she was the only candidate on either ticket with any executive experience whatsoever. Or that she is responsible for an $11B budget... which is currently running a surplus. Instead, they will continue to belittle Sarah Palin as some sort of backwoods-Barbie with bizarre religious beliefs, purely strategic, defensive propaganda that serves their own purposes.
The Democrats' double-standard sexism is appalling; she's "dumb" because she's a happy and attractive Christian, who enjoys being a mother? Real feminists need to be angry, wear combat boots, no make-up, short hair, and live alone in a studio apartment in the East Village? She's not the right kind of example because she doesn't support affirmative action... and instead went out there and just kicked the ol' boys butts?
Regardless of what they are saying, don't think for a minute that the Democrats didn't duly note her strengths and appeal during the campaign... as current their behaviour indicates that they most certainly did.
Palin consistently enjoys 70+% approval ratings as governor... are all those people idiots? Alaska was a pretty corrupt system until she stepped in. Her reforms took on entrenched politicians (inc. Republicans), a mafioso-style union boss, and Big Oil.
The DNC's friends in the leftist media and blogosphere will be behaving in the most hypocritical manner possible over the next couple years, discrediting Palin and claiming condescendingly that she is a "joke"- precisely because they know the opposite to be true. She has been highly-successful in life while ignoring the left-wing feminist model... this helps to explain the extra dose of venom in these attacks. They are pursuing efforts to destroy her, of that you can be sure... we've already seen the start of it.
A recent column in the Washington Post listed "Ten Republicans to Watch" for 2012... and curiously left Palin out, reasoning that "opinion leaders and establishment types within the GOP regard her VERY lightly", and that "it is not yet clear how she will find a way to remain in the national dialogue" from her frontier "far-flung outpost" in Alaska (never mind that Osama Bin Laden has no trouble whatsoever obtaining access to the media from his cave in the Pakistani tribal boonies). Not only is much of the country interested in her continued narrative, Sarah Palin shows no intention of fading away- as her post-election PR tour attests.
A liberal newspaper like the Washington Post has their (new) "Republican" columnist imply that Palin is a non-starter for 2012? Excuse me, but I smell a rat; this reminds one of how short-sellers on Wall St. get someone in the financial press to trash the company that they've already bet against.
And while there are plenty of reasons to doubt these claims made about GOP leaders having a low opinion of Palin, the sad fact is that after the last two electoral debacles, nobody really cares what the party leadership allegedly thinks, anyway. The party grandees up in Alaska weren't too keen on her taking on the GOP incumbent for governor, either... and Sarah Barracuda rolled right over them. With much of the country in a throw-the-bums-out mood, demanding accountability from Wall St.-to-Motown, it is difficult to envision any GOP "elite" holding a very strong hand with the party's grass-roots after 2006 and 2008... because they don't.
Most Republicans I speak with want a bottom-up revolution in the GOP to restore Reaganite principles. And Sarah Palin has the potential to be The Gipper in heels.
The crucial senate runoff in Georgia has featured appearances by political heavyweights from both sides of the aisle. To the surprise of some, the GOP has broken out Palin to lead the charge for the incumbent Saxby Chambliss. For Palin to join in a series of rallies across the state the day before the runoff is perhaps indicative of her new role in the party. While others such as Huckabee, Romney and Giuliani have appeared too, it looks like Palin has been brought-in as the closer.
There's likely to be quite a political backlash in this country when Obama pushes his radical agenda forward, and some people find out quite a bit too late what they actually voted for. Palin would be well-positioned to emerge as the leader of such a movement. Basically, the kind of things she steadfastly represents will be finding an increasingly receptive audience as Obama's shallow novelty wears-off and failures mount.
While Palin may need to hit the books and seek-out expert advisers on foreign policy, etc. to develop her platform, she is obviously an intelligent, principled, and gifted woman .. as well as a quick study. But the common sense, courage, natural charisma, and genuine connection to the party faithful that is so vital in winning elections are all things that simply can't be taught... and Sarah Palin's got them in spades.
A Palin/Jindal 2012 ticket is a very real possibility, they actually complement each other's experience, appeal, and abilities quite well. Both are also idealistic and brave conservatives. And when the country finally realizes what a scam Obamamania really was, and how he really has very little to offer this country, they'll be interested in somebody real... like these two fine individuals.
Both Sarah Palin and Bobby Jindal have done wonders to straighten-out corrupt state politics of her Alaska, and in the case of Jindal's Louisiana, decades of mismanagement, too. The political establishment in these states had little interest in letting an idealistic woman, nor an Indian-heritage wiz-kid, come in and disassemble their old-boy network, then take away their patronage and perks. But in both the cases, the electorate was fed-up with politics as usual, and brought in a clever, brave reformer. Both of these states have been delighted with the results. Palin and Jindal are both also dyed-in-the-wool fiscal and social conservatives... there would be zero debate within the GOP about the issues that divided and weakened the party in 2007-08.
And why else has Jindal produced such enthusiasm in GOP circles?
Jindal is, at 37, the youngest governor in the country. And his resume is nothing short of astounding. A graduate of Brown University, Jindal studied at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. He then turned down acceptances to Yale Law School and Harvard Medical School to go into government. After Oxford, Jindal worked briefly at the highly respected consulting firm McKinsey & Company, where the phenom advised Fortune 500 companies.
At just 24 years of age, Jindal was appointed Secretary of Louisiana's Department of Health and Hospitals. During his tenure, Louisiana's Medicaid program went from bankruptcy, with a $400M annual deficit... to three years of surpluses totaling $220 million.
Bobby (legal name "Piyush", the nickname adopted at the age of four, to emulate his favorite character on "The Brady Bunch") also served as an assistant secretary in the Federal Health and Human Services department. He was president of the University of Louisiana system, where he raised graduation rates, retention and private donations. Jindal served as a senior health policy adviser in the Bush administration. He then successfully ran for U.S. Congressman from Louisiana in 2004, and was subsequently re-elected in 2006 with 88% of the vote.
Jindal is a gifted communicator, with a trademark rapid-fire delivery. His story as the son of Indian immigrants is truly a fulfillment of the American dream. Simply put, Jindal embodies a GOP ideal; America offers a chance to those who want it take it and run with it, rather than entitlement to those who simply have the audacity to come here and demand it.
He converted from the Hindu religion to Roman Catholicism while a teenager, and his platform is pro-life, pro-school choice, pro-gun rights and pro-free market. He runs as a social and fiscal conservative, promising no tax-increases.
In running for governor in 2007, Jindal's win was also quite impressive, winning 60 of 64 parishes in Louisiana. He received 54% of the popular vote in a four-way race ... his nearest competitor was at 17%. This was enough for Jindal to win the election, as he attained over half the vote in the first-round primaries.
Governor Jindal oozes competence. In contrast to the Katrina disaster, Gov Jindal's emergency plans this year ran like a well-oiled machine. He oversaw one of the largest and smoothest evacuations in U.S. history in late August 2008, prior to the Louisiana landfall of Hurricane Gustav.
As for the GOP's recent setbacks at the polls, Jindal said in an interview with Rush Limbaugh that "People need to look at the history of Ronald Reagan when he lost his first attempt at the Presidency (in 1976). He didn’t go back and say, ‘Let’s water down the conservatism. Let’s dilute what we’re saying. He made it even stronger. He made it even sharper. There’s a lesson there for potential candidates"
"We need to be principled in our conservatism. We need to be unabashed, unafraid. We won’t always be popular with editorial writers and a lot of the members of the national media, and that’s okay. At the end of the day, it’s more important that we stick to our principles."
And of course, the media already have their long knives out for Gov Jindal... in a similar approach to the one used on Palin: paint her as a wack-job, an eccentric, and just too far-right for American voters. Outfits such as the Huffington Post and Daily Kos are already trying to nip Jindal's ascension in the bud.
But they are right about one thing; they have reason to fear the electoral appeal and success of Bobby Jindal. This accomplished conservative doer is the very antithesis to the Democrat's unaccomplished, liberal talker now in the White House.
As for the media that will be trashing these two over the next couple years, they are about to be exposed as the fraud that they've become. Any major disappointment with the Obama Administration will see-to-it that Obama cheerleaders like MSNBC are never again taken seriously by voters. Add to that the near-certainty that the variance between Obama the candidate-as-rock-star and Obama the President is bound to disillusion whole lot of people. What they say about Palin and Jindal will then be simply disregarded by most voters... just as the electorate ignored the press' alarmist rantings against Ronald Reagan in 1980.
Well... it's got a nice ring to it, doesn't it?