Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal along with wife Supriya are spending the Memorial Day weekend at Republican presidential nominee John McCain’s ranch in Arizona. There is speculation that Jindal might be called Mc Cain’s Vice President. Mc Cain may present Jindal with the opportunity to speak at the 2008 Republican National Convention, in a similar fashion to Barack Obama at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, cementing a place for him in the party and opening the gate for a future run for the presidency.
At 36, this first-generation Indian-American Rhodes Scholar is America’s youngest governor in a southern state with a long history of racial discrimination.
Why does Mc Cain need Jindal? Well, that is quite clear. To compete against and his message of change, 71-year-old McCain needs a young vice president and one who is committed to doing things differently. And Jindal fits in this role very well. If McCain were to win the presidency, he would be the oldest president ever inaugurated. Not only age Jindal also brings with him the ‘diversity card’, which again will be very helpful for Mc Cain campaign.
The message would be: ‘You want generational change? You can get it with McCain-Jindal—without risking a liberal and inexperienced Obama as commander-in-chief.’
What else does Jindal stand for? Called next Ronald Regan by many, Jindal is Hindu by birth but took to Roman Catholicism while he was still in high school.
He is an opponent of abortion and embryonic stem cell research. He has said, ” I am 100% pro-life, no exceptions. I believe, all life is precious.” He has also stated that he would allow emergency contraception, which some pro-life groups consider morally equivalent to abortion. Jindal also opposes using taxpayer money to fund embryonic stem cell research that involves the cloning and destruction of human embryos.
Jindal supports the teaching of intelligent design in public schools. He addressed this issue during a September 2007 televised gubernatorial debate:
Let’s talk about intelligent design. I’m a biology major. That’s my degree. The reality is there are a lot of things that we don’t understand. There’s no theory in science that could explain how, contrary to the laws of entropy, you could create order out of chaos. There’s no scientific theory that explains how you can create organic life out of inorganic matter. I think we owe it to our children to teach them the best possible modern scientific facts and theories. Teach them what different theories are out there for the things that aren’t answerable by science, that aren’t answered by science. Let them decide for themselves. I don’t think we should be scared to do that. Personally, it certainly makes sense to me that when you look at creation, you would believe in a creator. Let’s not be afraid to teach our kids the very best science.
More about Jindal? Jindal was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to recently arrived Punjabi Indian immigrants Amar and Raj Jindal, who were attending graduate school. His father left India and his ancestral family village of Khanpura in the 1970s. His mother, Raj Jindal, is an information technology director for the Louisiana Department of Labor. In 1997, Jindal married Supriya Jolly (born 1972). The couple has three children.
Turning down offers from both Yale Law and Harvard Medical, Jindal accepted a Rhodes scholarship and moved to Oxford, earning a master’s degree in political science. After Oxford, he joined McKinsey & Company, a consulting firm, where he advised Fortune 500 companies. Most notable was his work for Indian tycoon Lakshmi Mittal of Arcelor Mittal.
Jindal accepted a position as secretary of Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals under Republican governor Murphy J. Foster Jr. in 1996. During his tenure, Jindal turned a $400 million deficit into a budget surplus by cutting per-beneficiary Medicaid spending and reducing the work force by 1000 employees, ultimately attracting the attention of the National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicine, which appointed him executive director in 1998. The following year Jindal was appointed president of the University of Louisiana system by the Board of Trustees, the youngest person ever to hold that position. In 2001, President Bush nominated Jindal to be assistant secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the Department of Health and Human Services. He was confirmed unanimously and became Secretary Tommy Thompson’s chief policy adviser.
Jindal resigned from HHS to run for governor of Louisiana in 2003. After winning the primary with a third of the vote, he went on to lose the general to Democrat Kathleen Blanco, 52-48. The loss raised Jindal’s profile in the state, however, and he was able to easily win the congressional seat vacated by newly elected Sen. David Vitter in 2004.