Like many Republicans, I was heartened to learn that Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana had been tapped to deliver the GOP response to the President’s address to a joint session of Congress. In tapping Jindal, “GOP leaders are acknowledging that without a majority in Congress, the big ideas necessary to rebuild their party are likely to come from state capitols.”
Even when we had a majority in Washington, it was Republican Governors (and even a Democrat or two) pushing reform consistent with conservative principles.Â Elected in 2007 and having barely served a year, Jindal has joined their ranks.Â He has taken on the corrupt establishment of one of the most broken-down state governments in the country.
Not just that, less than a month after the party elects an African-American man to chair our national committee, it is showcasing this the “first American governor of Indian descent” as an emerging leader of our party.Â This will make it increasingly clear that ours is not just a white man’s party.
Jindal is more than just a reformer with an immigrant background.Â A Rhodes Scholar, he is one of our party’s big thinkers.Â Unlike the man to whom he’ll be responding tonight, accomplishments not rhetoric have marked his rise to national prominence.Â He actually had executive responsibility before taking the helm of the Bayou State.Â He was the youngest president of the University of Louisiana system.
He also headed headed Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals and has served as Assistant Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.Â In short, he’s the ideal man to respond to a president who wishes to make health care reform a national priority.
While those focusing on the nation’s capital for the better part of the past eight years might think the GOP is bereft of new ideas, those who turned to the states would now that most of the new policy ideas being offered came from Republican governors.Â Bobby Jindal is chief among them.Â Thus, I am delighted that he’ll be responding to a Democratic president who signature achievement in office has been enacting a “stimulus” which is little more than a warmed over wish-list from the files of frustrated Democrats these past forty years.