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A conservative hope: Bobby Jindal

Posted: January 18, 2009 9:45 p.m.
Updated: January 19, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Steve Lunetta Steve Lunetta
Steve Lunetta

We Dodger fans are a peculiar lot. Rooting for one of the great, storied franchises in Major League Baseball, Dodger fans are often victims of disappointment and frustration - but we always hope that next year will be better.

Throughout the 1940s and early '50s the Brooklyn Dodgers were routinely beaten by their crosstown rivals, the New York Yankees, in the fall classic. It wasn't until 1955 that the immortal "Boys of Summer" crushed the hated Bronx Bombers to bring Dodger fans their first taste of victory.

Today, all Dodger fans hope that Manny Ramirez will return to left field and inspire the Dodgers to October glory.

Likewise, the new "Power Couple of the Year," Frank and Jamie McCourt, hope that Manny's impending return will entice thousands of fake dreadlocked kids to drag their parents to Chavez Ravine and cough up five bucks for a hot dog and seven bucks for a soda.

And 10 bucks for parking. And six bucks for ice cream.

I keep forgetting that baseball is a business.

Of course, Republicans have hope. While Democrats have their Obamagasm this week, we quietly look to the conservative politicians who can lead us forward.

One such person comes from the swamps and bayous of Louisiana. Piyush "Bobby" Jindal was voted governor in October 2007 by wrestling 15 alligators and eating six pounds of shrimp in one sitting.

Jindal, the son of Punjabi immigrants from India, was born in Baton Rouge in 1971. Legend has it that little Piyush was watching "The Brady Bunch," and was so taken by Bobby Brady that he decided to take the name for his own.

His siblings Keith, Danny and Laurie were fans of The Partridge Family.

Bobby attended Brown University and eventually received a master's degree from New College, Oxford, as a Rhodes Scholar.

Jindal started his political career by his appointment as secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.

Remarkably, this agency was responsible for 40 percent of the Louisiana annual state budget. That's a lot of toothbrushes and alligator bite kits.

When Jindal took over the agency, it was a bankrupt organization with a $400 million deficit. In the following three years of his stewardship, Jindal turned around the agency and delivered $220 million in surpluses back to the state treasury.

He is currently working with the federal government on plans to reform Medicare. This guy really understands reforming health care.

In 2004, Jindal ran for Congress in Louisiana's First District. Although the First has a greater number of Democrats than Republicans, Jindal won with a remarkable 78 percent majority of the votes cast.

In 2006, he won re-election with a mere 88 percent of the vote.

Just goes to show that a conservative with common sense can win in a heavily Democratic region (shades of California's future?).

In 2007, Jindal was elected the first non-white governor of Louisiana since PBS Pinchback during Reconstruction. At 36, he is also the youngest current governor in the United States.

He is the first Indian-American in the United States to hold a statewide office.

Jindal was a Hindu but converted to Catholicism in high school. He consistently supports a pro-life agenda, opposes same-sex marriage and voted to make the Patriot Act permanent.

Jindal sponsored the Deep Ocean Energy Resources Act (H.R. 4761), a bill to eliminate a moratorium on drilling on the U.S. Continental Shelf, which prompted an environmental watchdog group to issue him an "environmental harm demerit." You go, Bobby!

Gov. Jindal was also mentioned as a possible running mate for John McCain. Of course, this was right before McCain went senile and picked a little-known governor from Alaska who became Tina Fey's ticket to stardom.

In short, Bobby Jindal represents a new, young and exciting conservative face for the Republican Party.

Although he has denied interest in a 2012 presidential run, Jindal may have significant impact for conservatives in the years beyond. He's one to keep an eye on.

Finally, on a completely unrelated note, we'd like to introduce a new feature for this column: the Obama Scandal-o-meter.

With the implication of Obama aides in the Blagojevich Senate seat-sale affair, the loss of Bill Richardson as Commerce Secretary in an influence-peddling scandal (grand juries are such pesky things) and Treasury Secretary nominee Timothy Geithner's "forgetting" to pay $34,000 in taxes, our new president has a score of "3."

It will be immense fun over the next four years counting up the scandals of the Obama administration. If America thought the Republicans were dirty, wait until they see the grand total for a Democrat from Illinois!

Steve Lunetta is a Santa Clarita resident. "Right About Now" runs Mondays in The Signal. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. Jindal


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