Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Is Governor Jindal looking to become Veep?

Although he continues to deny that he is interested in becoming John McCain's running mate, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, the youngest sitting governor, is having another audience with the Republican presumptive nominee tomorrow. This has raised a number of eyebrows because McCain is thought to be well ahead in the state and having a private audience with Jindal on a second occasion seems, well, somewhat unnecessary. This continues to fuel speculation that Jindal is on the short list of Vice-Presidential candidates for the McCain ticket. "I have the job that I've always wanted," Jindal has been quoted as saying and I believe that he speaks the truth there. No one, however, can be expected to withstand the intense amount of pressure that will be put to him by the McCain team should they decide he will be an effective counter against Barack Obama and whoever he chooses as a running mate on his ticket. It would seem to me that Jindal could campaign with McCain for the relatively short period between the Republican Convention and the election in the fall without any lasting fallout in the state executive...unless he and McCain should win. Obviously, then, he would have to resign and Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu would step right into the governor's mansion. Frankly, that's not a bad scenario. I have known Mitch for decades (his father is former H.U.D. Secretary and New Orleans mayor "Moon" Landrieu and his sister Mary is one of the two U.S. Senators from the state). He would make an excellent choice as governor and could sweep into office without fearing a challenge from the northern electorate of the state (Shreveport and Monroe in particular), who tend to regard anyone from New Orleans as a godless heathen. Mitch lost out to Mayor Ray Nagin in the last race for New Orleans mayor, but he mounted a clean campaign, despite a lot of opportunities to use less than gentlemanly tactics. As the head of a number of state agencies, Mitch has performed well and he would continue to bring integrity to the office should Jindal resign. Of course, this is all pure speculation. The governor says he's not going and John McCain's not talking either. So, why is McCain headed here when he has such a lot of ground to cover in his presidential campaign? It does make one think.
Speaking of governors...Former four-time Louisiana governor Edwin Edwards, serving his time in federal prison for , is hoping to hear from President George W. Bush as to whether his sentence will be commuted and he be issued a presidential pardon. Even if Bush fails to act on the pardon, Edwards, 80, will be out of the pen in 2011. That's plenty of time for him to think about a fifth term in 2012, although as a convicted felon, he may no longer be eligible to run. In Louisiana politics anything is possible. But it begs the question, how can you make a ham kosher?

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