Political Animal


December 06, 2012 3:27 PM Jindal’s Big Dumb Fixes

By Ed Kilgore

For a guy with a reputation as a genius, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal sure has some dumb “ideas” about how to fix Washington’s dysfunctional fiscal politics. Nestled in the usual “I’m not from Washington” boilerplate about how stupid Washingtonians are, he trotted his proposals out in the dispenser of the Beltway daily bread, Politico—just the place to touch off an anti-Washington firestorm of common sense.

It’s a token of the freshness of Bobby’s Big Think that his prescriptions begin with a tired idea from the 1980s, a constitutional balanced budget amendment, and end with a tired idea from the 1990s, term limits. In between we have two versions of the most discredited idea of all for overcoming fiscal gridlock, legislative super-majority requirements.

I’ve always gotten the impression that Jindal is a man who thinks himself so intelligent that he must embrace egregiously and aggressive stupidity to communicate with the masses (viz. his disastrous let’s-bring-out-the-hand-puppets response to the 2009 State of the Union Address). But he surely understands that if conservatives do not have the political capital to win a straight-up fiscal fight in Congress they are a million miles away from being able to impose any of his Big Fixes.

Perhaps this disposable op-ed was simply his way of giving the actual choices facing the country and the GOP a wide berth. If so, he impressively succeeded in steering clear of reality.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • jimintampa on December 06, 2012 3:39 PM:

    His penchant for big, bad ideas is not just fiscal; remember the sand berms to protect the coast from the Deepwater Horizon oil catatastrophe? Yeah, that worked, didn't it?

  • beejeez on December 06, 2012 3:46 PM:

    Remind me what Jindal said or did in the first place to win him the genius rep.

  • Stuart Shiffman on December 06, 2012 3:54 PM:

    Term Limits---here is the test of whether you truly believe in them or not. No one can serve more than 10 years in any elected position in government. School Board, State legislature, Governor, Senator or President.

    If you really believe in term limits you should support than idea.

  • Josef K on December 06, 2012 3:55 PM:

    For a guy with a reputation as a genius, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal

    Can those words be legitimately used in that particular sequence and not undermine the grammatical foundations of modern English?

  • Bokonon on December 06, 2012 4:14 PM:

    Jindal has been the one promoting his own "genius" and "big ideas" reputation - with lots of help from the right-wing media and think tanks. But there is really nothing new here aside from expressing the old ideas with renewed vigor and in a refreshed, media-friendly manner.

    Besides, the GOP doesn't really think it needs new "ideas" really - it just thinks it needs a new pitchman, and a new presentation.

    In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

  • Del Walmar on December 06, 2012 4:19 PM:

    Think about the guys playing physicists in the Big Bang Theory and you can understand why Red State folk consider Jindal, Gingrich and Ryan to be geniuses.

  • Gandalf on December 06, 2012 4:21 PM:

    Good grief. Super majority fiscal control didn't work worth a shit in California and it certainly would work even worse on a national scale. These flaming asshole republicans always want something that takes away resposibility so that when things totally fuck up they can raise their hands and say it wasn't me it was that amendment that was put in place. Hey if you want term limits then don't rub after a certain number of years. Show how principled youare. I'm not sure but I'll bet that some of dildos that wanted term limits back in the 90's are still in congress.

  • hells littlest angel on December 06, 2012 4:30 PM:

    In the 2016 Republican primary, I'd love to see the geniuses Ryan and Jindal go to head-to-head in debate. The air would crackle with intellectual electricity to a degree not seen since Sartre and de Beauvoir argued about leaving the toilet seat up.

  • Daryl McCullough on December 06, 2012 4:39 PM:

    Something I pointed out on Kevin Drum's blog is that all of Jindal's ideas for making government better involve reining in democracy. Leave less decision-making to the voters and their elected representatives.

    The ideal government, for a conservative, is one that runs on auto-pilot, with no input from human beings.

  • Doug on December 06, 2012 5:22 PM:

    hla, existentialist snark?

  • Elie on December 06, 2012 5:48 PM:

    Concervatives just cannot complete the loop between their ideas and the check-in with reality or any kind of intellectual honesty. They seem to have ideas that exist independently in space with no connection to any test or validation and of course, they never consider self evaluation or assessment. How can you consider that "intelligent", anymore than a minah bird that can repeat a phrase or a parrot, but can't really think about what it means?

  • Bart Preecs on December 06, 2012 5:49 PM:

    " ... the most discredited idea of all for overcoming fiscal gridlock, legislative super-majority requirements.

    "Supermajority" is my candidate for most misleading, most harmful policy label of all time. It sounds great, but policy it describes is all about weakening the majority and empowering the legislative minority.

    It should clearly be called a "super-minority" to make it crystal clear that the intent of the idea is to destroy the principle of majority rule.

    People who think that all taxation is theft, and that a minority of legislators should have the power to stop tax increases, should be forced to defend the idea of minority rule in explicit terms.

  • nolatao on December 07, 2012 12:40 AM:

    For more on our missing governor-see Stephanie Grace's piece in Gambit this week.Someone hide him somewhere deep in in the RNC complex so that we have someone who takes care of LA's problems-stressing those he created.

  • ceilidth on December 07, 2012 10:13 AM:

    You're overthinking this. Outside the halls of the Republican Party establishment, no one thinks he's even moderately bright.