As McCain picks his veep, there are three men that, if paired with McCain, would cause me not to vote for the good Senator:
1. Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA)
2. Robert Gates, Sec of Defense
3. Gen. Robert Petraeus
My opposition is not because I dislike any of those men. It is because I have nothing but the highest amount of respect for all three and do not want any of them removed from their current positions.
Gates and Petraeus are relatively easy to explain. Any success we have had recently in Iraq is largely because of those two men. Had Bush had them in charge from the beginning, we wouldn't have had a "cakewalk" with Iraqis waving palm leaves as we came in, but we also wouldn't have had the Rumsfeld-Franks-Bremer bungling that got us where we are.
Bobby Jindal might be my favorite politician in America. He is the symbol of a new generation of conservatism. Look at these quotes.
Here is a summary: Putting the state's money where its mouth is on the job readiness of its citizens. Understanding that higher education is an investment in the state's economy and not something to be ridiculed and kicked in the shins. Promoting and expanding pre-K programs. Aggressively working to get more poor kids government health insurance. Using the centrality of state government to help residents maximize their health-care buying power. Treating elected officials just like other state employees when it comes to ethics training, and punishing them when they do wrong.
I look forward to the day that I can vote for Bobby Jindal for national office. But that is not 2008. Louisiana is at a crucial moment. Hurricane Katrina's effects are still being felt as are years of corrupt subpar leadership. JFK famously said that Washington DC was "a city of Southern efficiency and Northern charm." Louisiana's politics have a Southern efficiency with a Chicago honesty. This state has produced colorful characters like Edwin Edwards and mediocrities like Kathleen Blanco. One of the reasons that the local, state and federal governments bungled Katrina so badly was the complete lack of political leadership in the state.
Bobby Jindal provides the ambition, brains and charisma to be the most important governor since Huey Long. Right now, it is just potential. But it is more potential than Louisiana has had since Long and comes at the perfect moment. I am not willing to take Bobby Jindal away from Louisiana so John McCain doesn't seem so old.
Jindal/Petraeus 2012 would be my greatest dream come true. I'd work for that ticket for free.