Austin Hill

Bobby Jindal may not yet be a household name across the entire United States. But hopefully that's about to change.

At age 36, Jindal is a former member of the United States House of Representatives; a former Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, where he took the state agency from a $400 million deficit to a $200 million surplus without tax increases; and is now the current Republican Governor of Louisiana.

Governor Jindal made national news last week when he, along with Florida Governor Charlie Crist and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney schmoozed at John McCain’s private residence in Arizona. The presumption at the time was that Mr. McCain had all three of these men under consideration as prospective Vice Presidential picks, and, while I’m not convinced that this is accurate, it did nonetheless garner Jindal a lot of attention.

But let‘s set aside the V.P speculation for a moment. Objectively, Governor Jindal has an impressive record as both a legislator and as a Governor; he is receiving very enthusiastic responses from both fiscal and social conservative leaders; and he looks more and more to be a part of the future of American political conservatism.

So what could possibly get in the way of Governor Jindal’s rise to national influence? Could it be the fact that he is a Catholic, and not an evangelical?

If the recent Republican presidential primary races demonstrated anything, they showed us that, among the religious social conservative movement (a movement mostly comprised of evangelical protestants), theological views and church affiliation trump just about everything else when it comes to selecting a political candidate.

Consider what happened, and didn’t happen, with the candidacy of Mitt Romney. The former Governor of Massachusetts was certainly something less than a perfect Republican presidential candidate, to be sure. Yet, much of the public dialog about the Romney candidacy was not about his gubernatorial track record, or about his policy positions, or about his impressive private sector business experience, but about his Mormonism.

Let me cite my graduate school alma mater as an example. Biola University is a distinctly evangelical liberal arts university in suburban Los Angeles, with a fully accredited graduate school of clinical psychology, and a graduate school of theology. Earlier this winter, the university’s impressive alumni magazine “Connections” published an article which was ostensibly about the prospect of Romney being elected President.

Austin Hill

Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.