Should Jindal’s 2012 Aspirations Be Counted Out Already?

In the aftermath of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s horrendous rebuttal performance, there was no shortage of talk about how he had severely hindered any hopes he may have had at a presidential run in 2012.

I initially wanted to refute this claim.

One thing that people tend to forget, especially those who are as invested in politics as we, is that memories can be uncannily short in this country. Sometimes they are short, sometimes they are very very long.

In the instance of what is happening now generally, I feel far too many people on any side of the so called aisle tend to not remember this; pointing to every single occurence as a game changer in a political contest that won’t start for three more years (though, in some ways, is already underway, I’m ready to admit).

But we have to ask ourselves certain questions. When voters start hitting the voting booths in 2012, will they really remember that Governor Bill Richardson’s nomination had to be pulled? Will they remember that this person said that, or that person said this? Will they really remember that a fast rising star in the GOP gave an address that was almost universally received poorly?

No, they won’t. Not even the conservative commentators who panned Jindal’s rebuttal will remember the performance two or three years from now if he somehow manages to show up in the winter of 2010 or the spring of 2011 as the strongest opponent against President Obama.

Everyone can be off their game, and one bad speech isn’t exactly a career ender.

But in the days since, it would appear that a more significant portion of the speech turned out to be false. Worse still, it was a self serving embellishment that not only attempted to push the conservative viewpoint that government is the problem, not the solution, but it also coincidentally made Governor Jindal appear to be a hero that he wasn’t.

A bad speech can be returned from, but this is a self-agrandizing lie to deify oneself and looks terrible in the near term for Governor Jindal. The problem with that is that it’s going to severely hamper any attempts for Jindal to get the kind of momentum he needs now to make a presidential bid later.

Can he recover from this? I’m not so sure, but if he does, it would take much more political acumen than was on display during his rebuttal.

6 Responses to “Should Jindal’s 2012 Aspirations Be Counted Out Already?”

  1. gcotharn says:

    I like Jindal, and am disappointed he made up that story. I would like to see voters punish politicians more harshly for all lies.

    Of politicians’ biographical-type exaggerations, Jindal’s compares with Hillary and Tuzla. However, Hillary was well known, and already well-financed, at the time of her Tuzla exaggeration. Jindal is less known and unfinanced. It will be interesting to see if Jindal is insta-bounced as a contender – as George Allen with Macaca, as Dean with Yearggh, as Edmund Muskie when he cried. I would bet Jindal will not pay a price – but I’m not a reliable predictor.

  2. Thank you, you actually make a point I struggled to make.

    He may not necessarily PAY a price, but he may not raise the funds he needs either.

  3. gcotharn says:

    Actually, reading Jindal Chief of Staff Tim Teepall’s comments in this Ben Smith story, I can see a way Jindal’s story was not a lie:

    1. Sheriff Lee lines up private boats for rescue
    2. Bureaucrat says private boats cannot go out
    3. Boats go out anyway
    4. The next day, or a couple days later, bureaucrat is on the phone complaining to Lee when Jindal walks into Lee’s office. Lee is excitable, is not interested in listening to more complaining, and issues challenge: come and arrest both me and the governor if you don’t like it.

    If events happened this way, Jindal did not lie in his speech. Some listeners may have jumped to conclusions, yet Jindal did not lie. Jindal’s story thus would be no different from several stories Candidate Obama told – which led many to jump to conclusions and later scream “Obama lied”, yet which, when examined closely, were not lies. has a listing of 50 alleged Candidate Obama lies – almost all of which allegations resulted from listeners jumping to conclusions about things which Candidate Obama did not quite say. Jindal, possibly similarly, possibly did not quite say anything which was a lie.

    And, you know, I was kind of excited, in the initial comment above, about agreeing w/ you and not having any area of potential disagreement! Dang it.


    I wouldn’t be so sure he’s out of the woods yet.

    At this stage, what seems to be happening is a muddying up of the waters which is what you do if you get caught in a potentially crippling lie. If you get called out for lying as a politician in a big way, but you didn’t lie, then you can easily turn that to your advantage by setting the record unambiguously straight. The story gets simpler, and usually there’s some reportes with some serious egg on their face.

    But instead of getting simpler, the story is getting more complex which is what happens when a political entity goes into damage control when there is actually something damaging.

    Further, I wouldn’t say that it was jumping to conclusions that Jindal said he was there in the middle of the event and not a few days later, it’s pretty clear.

  5. What really matters though is that politics is kind of an act of ORM (Operational Risk Management), backing a politician is like investing in stocks. So ultimately it’s a matter of how the shareholders (political operatives, fundraisers, PACs, 527s, etc) view Jindal as a matter of presidential level stock. This doesn’t have to be long term damage, it just has to do enough near term damage to affect investment in the stock for the long term.

  6. gcotharn says:

    At this point, I’m betting Jindal did not lie.

    I do agree that – once Jindal’s staff began communicating with Politico – some things have gotten muddled and complex. I completely agree that muddle and complexity are strategies to escape a jam when a politician is guilty. I’ll be watching to see what happens over the next days. Agree with all your comments about ORM.

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