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Congressman Jindal

By Bruce Walker
web posted November 15, 2004

The 2004 election was a hubbub of many small battles combined with two grand battles -- the presidential and senatorial elections. The coattails of President George W. Bush were highly focused: Tom Daschle and the Senate Democrats obstructed the Bush Administration, provided the presidential and the vice-presidential nominee, and sought desperately to recapture the only part of the federal elective system really within their grasp.

They failed utterly. They failed so miserably that Senate seats which, with a more moderate tone and more moderate candidates, Democrats would surely have won in Alaska and South Dakota and, perhaps, in Florida, North Carolina, Oklahoma and, after a runoff, in Louisiana. The biggest defeat for Democrats was in losing four Senate seats, proving that a savvy electorate understands what is at stake in Senate elections.

The two close states in the presidential race were two that went for John Kerry, not Bush. If a New Englander had not headed the Democrat ticket, Kerry would have lost New Hampshire. If Republicans had a favorite son from Pennsylvania or Michigan, then Bush would have carried those states.

Wisconsin would have been lost to Democrats in either case, because much time and money was required just to keep that state in the Kerry camp by a microscopic margin. Minnesota is likewise barely Democrat and would have gone Republican if Democrats had not lavished time and money there.

Translation? Bush "should" have won by 331 electoral votes to 207 or by 327 electoral votes to 211 (assuming that the President carried only Pennsylvania or only Michigan, and not both.) Put that in context: Absent a New Englander on the ballot and with a Republican mate that won either Pennsylvania or Michigan, President Bush could have lost both Ohio and Florida and won a clear victory in the Electoral College.

The Republican nominee in 2008 and his running mate will probably be social conservatives who can deliver one or two of these big northern states, which will make the electoral equation for Democrats impossible. Republicans learned the grand strategies of presidential campaigns well in the last two elections and those favor conservative candidates, which simply do not exist within the Democrat Party.

The "explanation" that Republican Senate gains came in "Red" states ignores the salient fact that most states are "Red" states. President Bush got a clear majority of the vote in 31 states. Kerry won with a minority of the vote in Wisconsin and close margins in Minnesota, Michigan, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. Sixty-two Senators come from pretty solid "Red" states, while only twenty-eight Senators come from pretty solid "Blue" states. Every Senate class will have Senate races predominately in "Red" states.

The 2004 Election hid nuggets of great potential value to conservatives and to Americans which did not show up in the big picture. First, Mel Martinez became Senator Martinez, an Hispanic from the fourth largest state which will be the third largest state in six years. This could have profound impact upon our foreign relations in the future. What if, for example, this former cabinet secretary and now senator, was on the Republican ticket in 2008?

What if American has a Vice President Martinez when Castro dies? He would be in a unique position to reposition this nation into a pro-American, pro-freedom, and prosperous pluralistic democracy -- an object lesson to other Latin American nations on what can be the promise of a sensible and friendly relationship with an America which wishes it well.

Piyush Perhaps most intriguing, however, is the new congressman from Louisiana, Piyush "Bobby" Jindal. He is the most prominent political figure in either political party, the largest democracy on the planet. Jindal is a brilliant, principled conservative Republican. If Republicans are smart, Jindal will move quickly up the House hierarchy, so that by the time Mel Martinez is, perhaps, Vice President, Jindal is House Majority Leader or Whip or Chair of the House Republican Conference.

India is a crucial ally in the peaceful transition of the Moslem world into functioning, prosperous, free and happy democracies. Already, a Sikh Prime Minister of India is able to speak to the President of Pakistan with religion much defused from the dialog -- Sikhs are not Hindu nationalists. India has proven democracy can work in large, diverse and relatively poor nations.

While India is as much a rival as a friend of America, it is a rival with a profound difference: India eschews war. Having one of the most powerful political figures in America a conservative Republican of Indian descent could be an enormous symbolic gesture toward an American-Indian concordance that peaceful competition, not terrorism and war, should be the model for geopolitical relationships.

If that happens -- and Bobby Jindal could help that along much more than we see today -- then not only Muslim fanaticism, but Chinese imperial ambitions and Russian mischief could be nudged away from the path of militance and toward the path of lively competition. So do not be surprised if six or eight or ten years from now, an obscure House election in Louisiana turns out to be the most important election in 2004.

Bruce Walker is a senior writer with Enter Stage Right. He is also a frequent contributor to The Pragmatist and The Common Conservative.

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