Here’s what Jindal has going for him: He’s incredibly popular in his home state, winning the Louisiana governorship in 2007 with 54% of the vote in a four-way race; he’s different, a young Republican who isn’t a perfectly coiffed, perpetually grinning Caucasian douchebag; and he’s young, only thirty-seven years old.
Pundits caution that Jindal’s age would be a liability, but I think McCain has experience enough to go around. Because of his age, McCain is likely to be a one-term president. Instead of trying to deflect attention from that, why not embrace it and use Jindal’s presence on the ticket to turn it into an advantage? McCain should announce Jindal as his running mate, proclaim him the future of American politics — not the Republican party — McCain is at his best when he’s non-partisan — and promise that after four years of on-the-job training as an active, involved, engaged vice president, Jindal’ll be ready to step up to the big job and carry the country into the future as a vigorous young president the likes of which we haven’t seen since John Kennedy. All we’d have to do is elect him.
It’s a great pick, a surprising pick, and a ballsy pick. If McCain has anything going for him over Obama, it’s that he’s got balls. Picking Romney, the conservative darling who finished first runner-up in the primaries, would be safe, but McCain’s not going to beat Barack Obama by playing it safe. He should take the risk, look to the future, and put Jindal on the ticket.
Now, as for Barack . . .
Junior Senator from Virginia
Like Bobby Jindal, Webb is someone whose name was tossed about early on as a real contender to be Obama’s running mate, but speculation lately has centered on another politician from Virginia, Governor Tim Kaine, as well as Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, and veteran Senator from Delaware and former rival Joe Biden. Like McCain’s list of most probables, this group lacks a certain excitement. Most political types seem to think the pick will be either Bayh, a young senator and former governor from a state coveted for its eleven electoral votes, or Biden, who is seen as a balance to Obama since he’s been in the Senate forever and has significant foreign policy experience.
Sure, Biden would bring experience to the ticket, but choosing him would also undermine one of the most appealing aspects of Obama’s campaign: the promise of new blood, of leadership, not the same old guys who’ve been taking turns running the show for the last forty or fifty years. So Obama, the guy who’s going to sweep in and shake things up, change the way Washington does business, throw out the old and bring in the new, is going to choose a career politician like Biden? The guy’s senate seat has an impression in the shape of his ass — and it’s a wooden seat! Why would Obama choose the ultimate Washington insider to run with him, when his campaign is built on him being an outsider?
That’s why I say Webb should be the guy. Like Barack, Jim Webb has only been in the Senate a short time — he assumed office in January 2007, two years after Obama. He doesn’t negate the message of change and progress that Barack’s been running on this entire time. But he also adds experience to the ticket that Obama lacks. Webb is a former Secretary of the Navy, serving under Ronald Reagan, and resigning after refusing to downsize the fleet. That’s right, he was fired for wanting to make the military too big. During the Reagan administration.
Before that, he was an officer in the Marine Corps who served in the Vietnam War. He was decorated with the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, two Purple Hearts, and the Navy Cross. Here’s a short quote from the end of his Navy Cross Citation:
Continuing the assault, he approached a third bunker and was preparing to fire into it when the enemy threw another grenade. Observing the grenade land dangerously close to his companion, First Lieutenant Webb simultaneously fired his weapon at the enemy, pushed the Marine away from the grenade, and shielded him from the explosion with his own body. Although sustaining painful fragmentation wounds from the explosion, he managed to throw a grenade into the aperture and completely destroy the remaining bunker.
The guy is an authentic war hero, a military reformer (in addition to wanting to grow the Navy, he also tried to reorganize and reform the Marines, which he felt had fallen into disarray since Vietnam), an author, an Emmy-winning journalist, the motherfucker even speaks Vietnamese. He’s a critic of the War in Iraq, correctly predicted it would eventually disintegrate into an endless guerilla war, but it’s more than a political football to him — Webb’s son Jimmy is a Marine Lance Corporal who has served in Iraq. His first act as a U.S. Senator was to introduce a bill to provide additional education benefits for veterans. It passed, and is now law.
Webb is an independent, intelligent, articulate, anti-war, pro-military Democrat who has explicitly stated that he does not want to be the vice president — which means he’d probably do it if Obama asked him. I hope Obama does, because I think he’d make a good V.P. And in eight years (assuming Barack wins this time and gets re-elected in 2012) Webb would still be younger than McCain is now, and would make a hell of a president his own self.
Barack says he’s already made up his mind, and all that’s left is to let the rest of us know. He probably picked someone other than Webb, probably Bayh or Biden, but he couldn’t do any better than to tap the Junior Senator from Virginia, Vietnam War hero and all around badass, Jim Motherfuckin’ Webb.