Interestingly, it seems Bobby Jindal was being seriously considered for the Veepstakes but decided to say no in part because they feared that he might “be caught up in what they believed to be a less-than-stellar campaign that could pin a loss on Jindal without much ability to change or control the direction of the contest.”
Ross Douthat says this shows Jindal’s smarts. And perhaps so, though I actually have a hard time seeing a VP seriously taking the blame in a situation like that. It was never really my sense, for example, that John Edwards’ 2008 primary campaign was in any sense hampered by people blaming him for the loss of the Kerry-Edwards ticket.
Either way, I’m actually a bit skeptical of Jindal’s 2016 prospects. Discussion of this tends to begin and end with talking about whether the GOP is really ready for a non-white standard-bearer. I think a bigger issue may be that the next few years aren’t shaping up to be an especially promising time to be a governor. A governor presiding over an economic boom can cut taxes while increasing spending, and thus develop a reputation as a popular can-do pragmatist. Think of George W. Bush, George Voinovich, Christie Todd Whitman, and other classics of the 1990s. This also works if your state government is mostly financed by oil revenues and you’re in office amidst a commodities boom — Sarah Palin comes to mind. Louisiana does share some of Alaska’s petrostate attributes, but it’s not really the same situation, and right now he’s looking at the need to cut $1 billion in spending. Not his fault (though the decision to make up the budget shortfall with a mix of 100% service cuts and 0% tax cuts reflects the intellectually and morally bankrupt nature of contemporary conservatism) any more than the “free money for everyone” governors of the nineties were really geniuses, but it’s going to make it difficult for him to rack up the sort of Record Of Accomplishments that you’re usually looking for in a presidential candidate.