The Return Of Bobby Jindal

The health care debate has brought us a lot of things: industry execs gathered at the White House, town-halls, a national day of service, and a head-on confrontation between President Obama and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC)...but not to be overlooked is the return of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R).

Today, Jindal penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, the latest in a string of public appearances and speakings out that have brought him back into the national spotlight this week after a long hiatus, during which some concluded that his star in the GOP had fallen.

It's probably no coincidence that the policy-minded Jindal has returned to the stage for what will likely be the most complicated policy debate of Obama's first term. In several national TV appearances this week, Jindal has used his intrinsic wonkiness to espouse small-government philosophy on health care, citing statistics and venturing into the weeds of policy where, in the realm of health reform especially, others fear to tread.

It seems as good a moment as any for Jindal.

Democrats this week have blasted the GOP for practicing political gamesmanship, making a showcase of DeMint and alleging a partisan defeatism by Republicans that's devoid of any constructivity. It's the "party of no" theme, and Democrats have scored their points.

This week saw RNC Chairman Michael Steele get mocked by liberals after an appearance at the National Press Club, in which he came out strongly against Obama's health reform initiative but admitted "I don't do policy." Steele seemed to, by some accounts, (though it's unfair to say for sure) demonstrate an unfamiliarity with the concept of an individual mandate (a requirement that individuals acquire health coverage), which has been a cornerstone of the health debate since the Democratic primary, at least. We also saw Obama personally accuse DeMint of empty political malice, as he responded to DeMint's comment that the GOP could "break" Obama by blocking health care reform, making it the president's "Waterloo." "This isn't about me," Obama declared, insinuating Republican pettiness.

So where was the GOP's wiz-kid of small-government policy, as these accusations of vapid political posturing were being leveled? Coincidentally, Bobby Jindal was undertaking a comeback tour of sourts after months out of the limelight, following his poorly received response to Obama's January address to Congress (which the White House didn't call a "State of the Union"). Before that speech, Jindal was touted as a top prospect for the GOP ticket in 2012--the rising star in the Republican Party; afterward, not as much.

Since then, his national-level appearances had been scant. He made an appearance on "Today" and another on "Good Morning America" as well as a couple other networks. But he had fallen off the national political radar, to an extent. As fellow Republican stars Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Eric Cantor, Rick Perry, and Mark Sanford (pre-scandal) drew attention by talking about national issues, Jindal tended to Louisiana business and forewent national media appearances entirely during the state's legislative session.

Eventually, people stopped talking about his prospects for 2012.

But Jindal returned this week to blast Democrats' health reform plans in an appearance on CNN, two more on Fox News, and in an op-ed for Politico Monday, as well as in today's WSJ piece. According to his office, more TV appearances are likely to follow in the coming days.

Presented by

Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Politics

Just In