Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal yesterday offered his thoughts on revitalizing the conservative movement and the Republican party at the NRI Summit. NR’s Rich Lowry offered the remarks below by way of introduction.
The best introduction of Bobby Jindal is simply the highlights of his official biography. As you know, very early on Jindal established a reputation for precociousness and high achievement.
Shortly after his birth, Jindal recommended improvements to the maternity ward at the hospital where he had been delivered.
As a toddler, Jindal wrote a long white paper for his parents arguing that while toddling might be adorable, it was a dated practice and that in the future children should transition straight from crawling to walking.
In kindergarten, Jindal negotiated a new contract for the provision of chocolate milk to his classmates and privatizated the school-crossing guards.
A year or two later, he alarmed school officials by agitating for the end of teacher tenure in his elementary school. This prompted a ferocious reaction from the teachers’ association, which deemed Jindal “Wrong for America, Wrong for the First Grade.”
He won the gratitude of the neighborhood kids, though, when he set up a commodity exchange for baseball cards, facilitating transparency in transactions and the fair market pricing of the cards.
As you can tell, by the time he was about age 6 or 7, Jindal’s family, friends and neighbors had the highest expectations for his rapid ascent in the world as an innovative and creative policy maker.
I regret to say those expectations have not been borne out. Since his amazing youth, Jindal’s advance has slowed to a relative crawl and his career has stalled.
Let’s look at the evidence.
It wouldn’t be until age 25 that Jindal was appointed secretary of Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals.
It took Jindal to age 30 to become a top aide to the secretary of HHS in the Bush administration. Yes, he won election to Congress, but by then he was already in his early 30s.
When he became governor of Louisiana at age 36 people who knew him feigned excitement at the inaugural but could barely hide their disappointment. Sure enough, it took another four long years before he won reelection.
Now, it is true that as he arrives here today, Jindal is talked about as a presidential candidate, but he has not yet run for or won the presidency.
I hope, then, everyone can see why we invited Jindal here. We hope it will be an opportunity for him to revitalize his career. We hate to see so much talent go to waste.
In all seriousness, Governor Jindal is easily one of the most impressive public officials in America today. By my way of thinking, everything he has been saying since the debacle of last fall has been fascinating and important. We are very honored he could join us today.
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Bobby Jindal.