Rich Lowry reports at The Corner a more specific (”prominent officeholder”) bit of news about efforts from big-name conservatives to draft Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal into the presidential race, along the lines of my cryptic blog entry here a couple of weeks ago on the same subject. But there are complications. Lowry gets to the nub of the matter here:
One big problem: Jindal is with Perry–literally. Not only has he endorsed him, he’s been campaigning with him. For a Jindal scenario to work, Perry would have to collapse and Jindal turn around and immediately express interest in rising from his friend’s ashes.
Here, though, is how I would read this: Perry is in trouble. It’s not that Jindal would ever jump in without Perry getting out; it’s that prominent conservative movers and shakers clearly have given up on Perry’s campaign. Think of it this way: If Perry were thought to still be a seriously viable candidate, nobody would be talking about recruiting his most prominent and popular endorser. Perry, therefore, is seen by serious people as failing to be viable, long-term.
(Disclosure: I have had similar discussions with some of these same conservative leaders, and have said I think Jindal would be a great choice for the circumstances, if no real conservative breaks through in Iowa; i.e., for what it’s worth, I have encouraged them privately just as I have written about the idea publicly. None of which is to be taken by way of an endorsement — which isn’t my job — but it is to acknowledge participation of sorts in some of the same discussions I am now, third-hand, reporting that Lowry is reporting on.)
If this word gets out, Perry votes in Iowa might siphon off to Santorum (or Bachmann), because a weak Perry performance in Iowa would be seen by voters eager for another choice as making it more likely for Perry to withdraw and Jindal to enter the race. For those voters who like Santorum, of course, then if he already is “on the move” in Iowa (a move that began to be noticed weeks ago), then this report would further tend to encourage them that one of the other conservative opponents may be fading.
All sorts of permutations suggest themselves. It’s certainly fascinating to watch.