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Mulling Bobby Jindal's Future

First Read makes a good point about the timing of a 2012 presidential run by the Louisiana governor:

“I want to run for re-election to be governor of Louisiana in 2011,” [Jindal] said [on "Meet the Press"]. “I told the people of our state we have a once in a lifetime chance to change our state.” More: “If the people of Louisiana will have me, I absolutely want to be governor for the next seven years. Now, that's up to the voters of Louisiana.“ And: “It's my intent to, to run for re-election.” If Jindal does run for re-election, however, here’s something important to consider: The GOP nominating contests in Iowa and New Hampshire will probably come just two months after that re-election contest in Louisiana in 2011. Is that enough time to campaign in those states? Do you get left out of most of the debates? Or do you try to run for re-election in Louisiana, with occasional stops in the early states? These are questions that other potential presidential candidates don’t have to answer. If Jindal ever does run in 2012, he may have to create a draft movement that somehow allows him to get in the race late. It's possible that without a fight for an open seat for the presidency that the race on the GOP side could get started a tad later.

All true. But if Jindal runs for re-election, isn't the more likely interpretation that he's passing on 2012? You could hardly blame him. If the economy shows even the faintest improvement by then, Obama's going to be tough to beat. All the more so for an Indian-American who, as Chris has pointed out, probably can't count on the racist white vote the GOP has traditionally netted. Seems like Jindal would have a much better shot at an open race in 2016. Particularly (and somewhat ironically) if two Obama terms have made racist whites more comfortable with politicians who don't look like them.

On the other hand, I'm still not convinced Jindal will run for re-election. Seems like a politician intent on doing that would grab as many stimulus dollars as he could at this point, but Jindal is thumbing his nose at certain provisions. (Though the actual amount he's rejecting is pretty small. And, who knows, maybe that plays well in post-Katrina Louisiana...)

--Noam Scheiber