Opinion: It’s <em>that</em> time again; Bobby Jindal kicks off the speech season -- in Iowa

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Hard to believe this much time has passed already since the 2008 presidential election. But here we are only 37 months away from the Iowa caucuses.

And only 32 months till the Ames Straw Poll.

And here goes Louisiana Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal speaking at a fundraiser for the Iowa Family Policy Center (you remember them) at that familiar Sheraton Hotel in West Des Moines.


The 37-year-old Jindal made light of the occasion, of course, joking to some 800 curious listeners that it was way too soon to be making political speeches. ‘You might want to consider getting involved in some kind of recovery program,’ he suggested to a receptive audience on his first trip to the Hawkeye State, as noted by MSNBC’s First Read.

But, of course, that’s exactly what he was doing anyway in the form of speaking about family. ‘As a parent,’ said Jindal, knowing his conservative audience had precisely the same feelings, ‘I’m acutely aware of the overall coarsening of our culture in many ways.’

Jindal took the tack that many non-Washington Republicans instinctively know is the right one nowadays, giving the president-elect some time and room to succeed or fail on his own without the constant carping that hurt Republicans more on Nov. 4.

‘'Whether you voted for him or not,’ Jindal said of the new president, ‘whether you supported the new leaders of Congress or not, they’re our president. They’re our Congress. They need our prayers. They need our support.’

Then he proceeded to talk some about his chief executive work back home in Louisiana, a kind of political introduction and plenty of mingling with the audience, who may remember he was there, come 2011. Jindal will be back. Same for Mike Huckabee. Probably Mitt Romney. Sarah Palin will pack them in sometime down the road.

Not so much because any of them have decided what they’re going to do come the next leap year. But because they and their strategists want to be ready just in case.

You can bet the bayou that Jindal went home with a pocketful of names, phone numbers and e-mail addresses. His staff will fire off thank you messages to those folks today or tomorrow. And they’ll stay in touch.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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