Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, stirred up the Republican veepstakes on Wednesday, arguing at Politico that presumptive nominee Mitt Romney's best bet is Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. In hyping Jindal for the ticket, Norquist largely ignores conventional election strategy and focuses on Jindal's ideological purity, exemplified by his promise not to raise his state's taxes. Most pundits consider the popular, boyish Jindal — who insists he's not interested in the slot — a longshot behind potential VP picks with more national experience, such as Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, or more Tea Party-infused firepower, such as Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. Will Norquist's power-blessing catapult Jindal to the top of Romney's list?
Norquist's backing really helps Jindal: "Jindal's name is not often floated among the very top tier of choices," says Felicia Sonmez at The Washington Post, in part because he deflated his own national profile with a "widely-panned response to President Obama's 2009 address to a joint session of Congress." But Norquist is so influential that he got the overwhelming majority of Congressional Republicans to sign a no-tax pledge, so his backing should win Jindal "a second look."
"Grover Norquist makes the case for Bobby Jindal for veep"
But Norquist can't change the fact that Jindal is a bad pick: "Bobby Jindal? Please," says Michael Tomasky at The Daily Beast. First of all, "the guy still looks 17," and, second, his state is "like 48th in everything." Beyond praising Jindal's tax stance, Norquist tries to make a big deal about Jindal's record on education reform, but — "vouchers, schmouchers" — the truth is that "Louisiana's schools are pretty lousy." Norquist's normally sharp political insights have failed him this time.
"Norquist's Jindal veep mistake"
Jindal at least deserves to be in the mix: Jindal wasn't, and isn't, a slam dunk, says Jeffrey D. Sadow at Between the Lines. "But make no mistake, for what Romney needs, Jindal is a strong candidate." His record in Louisiana has "confirmed his conservative credentials," although he falls short of the extensive national experience Romney needs to fill a gap in his own resume. "There are choices that fit better" — Portman, or Rep. Paul Ryan — but Jindal "should be near the top of the running mate list."
"Dynamics make Jindal serious VP nominee contender"