The reviewer, a Washington Post subaltern, barely mentions the substantial portion of Leadership and Crisis concerning Jindal’s pre-political career (even though Jindal entered the political arena at 25, given his 39 years that’s about two-thirds of his life) which should prove interesting but instead concentrates on the political aspects. These, he maintains, consist mainly of criticism of elected and bureaucratic officials in Washington, with the occasional insinuation about the insularity of the media.
(Jindal apparently summarizes that he has fairly good media relations. This may come as a surprise to many of my friends in the traditional Louisiana media, whose kinds of stories they choose to run and sometimes the content of them in tone often range from contemptuous to exasperated because in his media relations not only does he not allow them to define him and his policies the way they want to, but also because they perceive his handling of them accelerates their slide into irrelevance and abrogates what they see as their right to wield influence. Perhaps Jindal refers to his relations with the members of the media at a personal level, but no doubt he acutely realizes the hostility the traditional Louisiana media generally feel towards him.)
Jindal seems to have harsh words about Washington politicians in general. He calls the typical members of Congress, where he served for three years in the House, “little kids” who are more interested in their own political fortunes than thinking of their constituents (scratch my musings that Jindal could position himself to run for the Senate in 2014; with this, it’s clear he’s all in for the executive branch), on the oil spill crisis highlights the many failings of the Pres. Barack Obama Administration, and critiques politicians who break the law and/or received legislative or judicial censure as a result of their activities as enriching selves and feeding appetites. (The reviewer faults him for not including Newt Gingrich on the list of bad behaving men as Gingrich wrote and approving blurb for the book, but the subaltern seems blissfully unaware that Gingrich never broke the law nor was censured by the House or judiciary for any activity.)
These observations follow the theme of the book, “leadership,” as a negative barometer of it, where it seems Jindal finds the pursuit of personal gain and power an impediment to it. “Leadership,” of course, in its classic administrative sense means to bring about a desired end-state for a group (in this case, the American people) by persuasion and task performance. From the review, it would appear Jindal doesn’t give many specifics about the particular policies he would advocate as part of his leadership (or perhaps the reviewer omitted them for space or political reasons), but he does make the global statement that too much interest in political selves interferes with it.
As he enters his final year of what could be his first term in office, Jindal must understand it gives him an excellent opportunity to practice what he preaches to avoid, as Louisiana faces severe budgetary problems. The book appears to serve as another resource which Jindal wants to use for a presumed vice presidential nomination sooner, and/or perhaps presidential nomination later, positioning himself as an outsider, particularly to Washington, even as he holds office. Given the tremendous disconnect the public presently sees between its interests and Democrat leadership, that is a political plus for achievement in the national political arena and perhaps explains the book’s apparent shift in tone from what had been anticipated, title change and all. But if that is his ambition, he needs to make sure he does not fail to provide leadership at home while in the pursuit of his own personal political quest.