by Sam Winston
The speculation on Jindal, initially only a Rush Limbaugh-driven rumor, just won't seem to die as John McCain keeps waiting to make his pick for a vice-president running-mate. This despite that most commentators have premised their mention of Jindal by saying he was probably too inexperienced. Jindal himself tried to quell the rumors but that was three months ago before Kristol's column today in which Kristol cites at least 4 McCain aides informally mentioning Jindal for consideration and before McCain came to New Orleans and met with Jindal personally. For Kristol's quotes on Jindal and further speculation on why Jindal's name keeps getting mention, see below the fold.
"Maybe thats why, in separate conversations last week, no fewer than four McCain staffers and advisers mentioned as a possible vice-presidential pick the 36-year-old Louisiana governor, Bobby Jindal. Theyre tempted by the idea of picking someone so young, with real accomplishments and a strong reformist streak.
It might also be a way to confront the issue of McCains age (71), which private polls and focus groups suggest could be a real problem. A Jindal pick would implicitly acknowledge the questions and raise the ante. The message would be: You want generational change? You can get it with McCain-Jindal without risking a liberal and inexperienced Obama as commander in chief. I would add that it was after McCain spent considerable time with Jindal in New Orleans recently, and reportedly found him, as he has before, personally engaging and intellectually impressive, that the campaigns informal name-dropping of Jindal began."
I'd say Kristol's mentioning of Jindal has one of two purposes...
A) The neo-conservatives are looking for a man on the inside of the would-be-McCain administration via Jindal. The "inner conservative" battle going on with McCain has certainly been documented. For Jindal's part, if the neo-conservatives got fully behind the push to put him in the VP slot, he would certainly be indebted to them and a lot of politics seemed to easily aligned with theirs.
or much more likely...
b) They don't actually believe Jindal will be selected but getting Jindal's name out their in the national press this early will help them groom him for the future. If the Republicans really do have a generational problem (the Neo-Conservatives as Republicans also having that same problem), ie Barack Obama prevails and locks down an entire generation of young voters, a more seasoned Jindal after four or eight years of being governor is one the best options Republicans may have in the future.