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BOBBY JINDAL for PRESIDENT 2012? COULD HAPPEN if there is a BROKERED CONVENTION!

Governor Jindal of Louisiana was just reelected on Saturday; here is the Virginia Right report on the election.  Jindal is determined to end the Huey Long era in Louisiana and I strongly support him in that regard.  I hope he is not distracted by national developments; it is critical to have a term to implement and tweak the reforms already done in Louisiana already.  Here’s a great article on health reforms (Jindal got his start as the 24 year old state cabinet secretary of Health and Hospitals) and a highlight:

While Jindal’s record on reducing health-care spending is impressive, even more impressive is how he stayed focused on improving the quality of Louisiana health care, putting paid to the Democratic conceit that the only way to improve health-care quality is with more government spending, and that anyone concerned about budget deficits is destined to harm those most in need.

Here’s National Review’s take on the Jindal reforms in a different area:  Good government:

Jindal called a special legislative session and pushed through a package of tough ethics reforms and new limits on lobbyist gifts to lawmakers. Before the reforms, the Center for Public Integrity ranked the state 44th in legislative disclosure requirements; now it ranks the state first.

“For us to go from 44th to first place in ethics and disclosure — we were strict,” Jindal recalls. “You’re going to disclose every income and asset and liability, and elected officials cannot do any business with the state. People said, ‘Why do we have to go this far? Most states don’t go that far.’ The point we were trying to make was, we were one of the worst states for corruption, and we have to clean that up and we’re going to go above and beyond. Could you imagine me calling up a company and saying, ‘Hey, you have to move your company here! We were 44th in ethics last year, but this year we’re 39th!’”

So I support Gov. Jindal completing his term and then perhaps running for President.  But there is a scenario, admittedly remote, but not impossible, that we may have what the politicos call a “brokered convention”, e.g., where no one candidate has a majority of the convention delegates at the time the convention begins.

The combination of several strong candidates and most states using a proportional award of delegates before April 1, 2012 (Here‘s a useful blog on that issue) means that it is possible that say, Ron Paul wins Iowa but Romney and Cain do well.  Then in NH, Romeny does well but again Cain and Paul gets delegates.  Huntsman, Bachmann and perhaps Santorum get out of the race.  Perry does well in Southern states but again competes with Romney and Cain with pockets of support for Paul.  Paul carries Nevada.  Super Tuesday is a mixed bag.  Perry carries Texas and Louisiana.  No consensus.  Even Gingrich gets a few delegates and decides to continue to campaign to talk ideas.

The scenario could be:  No majority.  Romney has a small plurality over Cain and Perry with a small but respectful haul of delegates for both Ron Paul and Gingrich.  No sense of where the party goes.  What happens?  A so-called brokered convention.

We have not had a more than one ballot convention since 1952.  This type of convention has both advantages and pitfalls.

The advantages would be it would make great TV.  True real drama as opposed to a scripted convention.  The platform is fought over by Paulites determined to get End the Fed or non-interventionism in the platform versus national security conservatives and monetarists determined to keep it out.  Abortion and other social issues might be debated as well.  It also would emphasize local political leaders (such as Virginia Governor McDonnell or NJ Governor Chris Christie) who would potentially have great sway over delegations in the event of subsequent ballots. The ratings would soar.

The disadvantages would be a brokered convention would have a high probability of the type of party disunity that might produce a third party threat or people who would stay home rather than see Perry or Romney or Cain win the election.  President Obama is such a polarizing figure that it would be unlikely but the margin of error is small.  The Paul supporters are, I am afraid, most likely to support such an effort.

The first thing that would happen before the convention is testing out various scenarios to produce a majority.  I think it is unlikely that Perry and Romney or Perry/Romney and Cain could work a deal due to egos and the political problems caused by past criticisms of the others.  Also any deal between Perry/Romney/Cain would immediately alienate the supporters of the others and thus cause unity problems.  This would especially be true of the Ron Paul supporters.  Their strength increases the probability of a brokered convention because they are least likely to compromise on the candidate.

I think before the convention, someone would propose a unifying force:  A compromise candidate.  Someone that most could support.  I think the most likely to be such a candidate would be Gov. Jindal.  He is respected in all groups of the party, other than maybe the Paulites, and if he were to ask Paul to be the running mate (Paul would most likely decline) or maybe select the junior Senator from Kentucky, Dr. Rand Paul, as his running mate, Jindal would win the nomination and win support from all groups.

The effort would start with party leaders going to Baton Rouge to “ask” Jindal’s opinion of the situation.  The real discussion is:  Will you accept a draft?  Of course Jindal would play coy and say there is no need for his intervention.  But someone like George Will, accompanied by say a columnist from National Review, say even John Bolton, would run the Jindal draft up the flagpole to see who would support it.  If Jindal/Rand Paul would unite the party, expect someone like Gingrich to advocate it and even release his delegates to Jindal.  Jindal would find places in the administration for Cain, Perry and Romney if they choose to do so and they would also speak at the convention.  This would be just before the convention; the convention would be back to somewhat scripted and boring, just as party leaders want it.

The alternative might be a huge blow up at the convention that would virtually ensure President Obama’s reelection and might affect Congress, too.

Is it likely?  No.  GOP voters tend to agree quickly on a consensus.  But in 2008, Huckabee was rewarded for his patience with several Southern primary wins even though McCain was well ahead.  There may not be the usual deference to a frontrunner and there may not be a clear frontrunner.  But there is already buzz – some in favor of the brokered convention:

Curly Haugland, an RNC committeeman from North Dakota who sits on the rules committee, takes that one step further. “I’ve been spending a lot of time on this,” says Haugland, “and it seems like there’s no possibility for anything but a contested convention.” That’s fine with him. “The media and pollsters want this to be decided in primaries? Well, who gives a rip who wins New Hampshire? There’s a bunch of left-leaning lunatics up there.”

And don’t count out a Paul/Bachmann/Tea Party alliance to get delegates from post-primary conventions (like right here in the Old Dominion!)

Go back to that new X-factor of state Republican parties that have been taken over by Tea Party and Ron Paul activists. If the race is still inconclusive in late spring, what’s to stop these activists from crashing the state conventions and sending a bunch of Bachmann or Paul delegates to Tampa, instead of Romney delegates? Technically, nothing is stopping them.

This is a wild LSDesque scenario:  McCain 2012!

So, could McCain be dreaming?..and if none of the four [Perry, Romney, Cain and Gingrich (Redstate does not like Paul)] can achieve a majority, is it possible that the convention could turn to another choice. We dream of Palin, or Rubio, but in a time of a major conflagration in the Middle east, would the party, and the country, embrace another novice?

McCain is sounding, and looking more and more like a man who still harbors the dream, and he’s positioning himself to be available should the opportunity present itself.

That would be a nightmare, for sure.  I’d have to consider seeking that Constitution Party nod after all!

But one more thing:  Winner take all states start again after April 1.  If there is no nominee by then, there could easily be a brokered convention:

The more states that move up into the proportional representation window, the harder it will be for any candidate to get a majority of the delegates. Candidates might run out of money, but they will not be mathematically eliminated. And, as long as a winner has not emerged, minor candidates who are actually winning some delegates will have a powerful incentive to stay in the race so that they can trade their delegates for something of value.

If the race remains mainly a two-way race between Romney and Perry, this will probably resolve itself once the winner-take-all states start tossing huge chunks of delegates one way or the other. But if a third candidate emerges who is keeping pace and even winning a state here and there, then we could easily see a brokered convention.

What about other candidates?  Governor Christie is out.  Not enough experience.  He won’t be the compromise choice.  Senator Marco Rubio has more experience (he was speaker of the Florida House) but still nothing like Jindal.  No, if there is a brokered convention, the GOP leaders will turn to the young demographically favored guy who has been a state cabinet secretary, a university president (LSU system), undersecretary of HHS, Member of Congress and now Governor of Louisiana who brought the state out of the Huey Long era in politics.  No contest.  If the GOP can’t agree, Jindal’s the man.  He would then select Sen. Rand Paul as his running mate to win the Paulites (and Rand is less threatening to the non-Paulites than his father) and that ticket will win about 40 states.  What do my readers think?


About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

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