Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Bobby Jindal Was Supposed to Be the 'Next Reagan.' What Happened?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Bobby Jindal Was Supposed to Be the 'Next Reagan.' What Happened?

Article excerpt

In 2008, Bobby Jindal was on fire. The Ivy League-educated Rhodes scholar known as a wonky pragmatist had just been elected the first Indian-American governor of Louisiana and was one of the GOP's rising stars, alternately dubbed "the next Ronald Reagan" and "the Republican's Obama."

"The question," Sen. John McCain's chief strategist, Steve Schmidt, told The Washington Post then, "is not whether he'll be president, but when he'll be president."

Today, as Governor Jindal prepares to announce his candidacy for president (Part 1 on Facebook, Part 2 in Louisiana), he has no where to go but up.

In a field of 12 declared GOP hopefuls, Jindal, with 0.8 percent support, is polling in 15th place - dead last, behind even undeclared candidates, according to RealClearPolitics.

An NBC/Wall Street Journal survey put Jindal's support at zero percent.

At home in Louisiana, Jindal's job-approval rating is at an all- time low of 31.8 percent, while his disapproval rating has soared to a record high of 64.7 percent.

Things are so grim for the GOP's one-time star that if the election were held today, red-state Louisianans would actually vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton rather than their own governor.

What happened?

Jindal appears to be a victim of his own political ambitions.

Some trace the start of Jindal's descent to his 2009 GOP response to President Obama's State of the Union address, a "Kenneth-the- Page-like" delivery that quickly made the new governor the object of ridicule.

With his sights set on higher offices, Jindal, a wunderkind known as a pragmatic policy wonk, set out to reassure party conservatives, taking increasingly hard-line conservative stances on social and fiscal issues.

"But each time, he moved further away from the wonky, pragmatic persona that had made him famous in the first place," reported The Washington Post. …

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