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January 24, 2013 10:16 AM Jindal’s “I’ve Got It: Let’s Move to the Right!” Prescription

By Ed Kilgore

I will be watching for a transcript of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s speech to the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting in Charlotte tonight with considerable anticipation. It looks like he’s going to personally brand the tendency within the GOP to identify “party reform” with an even more ideologically savage brand of conservatism than the one they’ve already embraced.

In an account based on an advance copy of the speech, WaPo’s Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake (under the sycophantic headline, “Bobby Jindal Speaking Truth to GOP Power”—gag!) tell us this about Bobby’s Big Message:

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will deliver a forceful denunciation of his party’s Washington-centric focus in a speech to the Republican National Committee on Thursday evening, arguing that the GOP is fighting the wrong fight as it seeks to rebuild from losses at the ballot box last November.

“A debate about which party can better manage the federal government is a very small and short-sighted debate,” Jindal will tell the RNC members gathered in Charlotte, N.C. for the organization’s winter meeting, according to a copy of the speech provided to The Fix. “If our vision is not bigger than that, we do not deserve to win….”

In the speech, Jindal will repeatedly caution that Republicans in Washington have fallen into the “sideshow trap” of debating with Democrats over the proper size of the federal government.
“By obsessing with zeroes on the budget spreadsheet, we send a not-so-subtle signal that the focus of our country is on the phony economy of Washington, instead of the real economy out here in Charlotte, and Shreveport (La.), and Cheyenne (Wyo.),” Jindal is set to say at one point in the speech. At another, he will argue that “Washington has spent a generation trying to bribe our citizens and extort our states,” adding: “As Republicans, it’s time to quit arguing around the edges of that corrupt system.”

So what’s that supposed to mean? Blowing up the “corrupt system” via nullification or secession? Just opposing every federal spending measure, regardless of merit? Do tell, governor.

What it means politically is a lot clearer: Jindal wants to be the champion—and perhaps the 2016 presidential candidate—of the very significant faction of the GOP that thinks the party’s problems are a lack of clarity and consistency in its conservative ideology, along with a habitual stupidity in presenting it. Take Todd Akin, give him Bobby Jindal’s brains and background, and you’ve got the winning formula!

So Jindal will go arch-demagogic in attacking Washington, even as he tries to build a swampy wingnut paradise back home in Louisiana, with a model regressive tax system that supports conservative evangelical madrassas, and of course none o’ that soul-destroying satanic federal assistance via the Affordable Care Act.

It’s as smart a bet as any for where the Republican Party wants to go right now, which is anywhere other than the “center.” Perhaps the Charlotte appearance will begin a drumbeat of demands for a Jindal candidacy under the slogan: “Call for the exorcist!” There’s already a theme song:

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.

Comments

  • Steve M. on January 24, 2013 10:31 AM:

    Don't forget the serious cutbacks in domestic violence programs. They're part of Jindal's brilliant plan, too.

  • c u n d gulag on January 24, 2013 10:43 AM:

    I, for one, can hardly wait for the commercials Uber-Conservative Presidential candidate Bobby "Ray" Jindall will run in the upcoming election - one where he walks around pulling the plug on Grandma's dialysis machine, lights a match to Grandpa's O2 tank, and tasers the Grandkids visiting at their house, while screaming "We don' need no steeeeeeeeenkin' healt' care!" into the camera, after which he takes some kittens, puts them in a sack, puts a twist-tie on it, and hurls them into the mighty Mississippi, turns back to the camera, pounds his chest, tears open his shirt, and displays his "JINDALL FOR ALL Y'ALL IN 2016!!!" t-shirt.

    Now THAT would be an effective way of displaying the newer version of "Modern Conservatism: 2.0 - No Compassion, Conservatives!"


    I think these guys are trying to make Caligula look like a sane and caring ruler.

  • peter principle on January 24, 2013 10:57 AM:

    “A debate about which party can better manage the federal government is a very small and short-sighted debate,”

    Yeah, because it's not like managing the federal government is a big part of an American president's job description.

    Republicans certaintly don't seem to think so, anyway.

  • James M on January 24, 2013 11:02 AM:

    From Governor Jindal's speech:

    "“By obsessing with zeroes on the budget spreadsheet, we send a not-so-subtle signal that the focus of our country is on the phony economy of Washington, instead of the real economy out here in Charlotte, and Shreveport (La.), and Cheyenne (Wyo.),”

    Wow- the 'economy in Shreveport' is something I would really like to see. No doubt a model for national prosperity! As much as I would like to see the Republican Party disappear (at least in its present form) I really can't see the GOP adopting the Governor's proposals. I doubt that the GOP leadership in Washington has given up on winning the presidency for a generation, which is exactly what would happen if Governor Jindal's 'true' conservatism became the explicit party platform.

  • Jerry L on January 24, 2013 11:12 AM:

    Didn't someone once put out an album named "Obsessing with Zeros"?

  • Gandalf on January 24, 2013 11:17 AM:

    James don't be so sure about the repubs not gaining the presidency in a generation. They're working extra hard right now to fiigure out the best way to cheat to win. If they got their way with the electoral college scheme it's conceivable that they could win the presidential election by losing the popular vote by ten million.

  • Josef K on January 24, 2013 11:18 AM:

    “If our vision is not bigger than that, we do not deserve to win….”

    Some visions, no matter how big or small, don't deserve to win, period. Jindal's is one such.

    And am I the only one who is getting put more and more in mind of M. Night Shyamalan every time this clod appears?

  • Elie on January 24, 2013 11:31 AM:

    Oh, and lets not forget that he just cut funding for Medicaid Hospice services. That's right -- care for the dying through pain relief and comfort/...

    Bobby seems very comfortable with tiered "caste" systems that have the poor and other "unclean" down at the bottom, unseen and unserved.

    Its hard to understand how the Republicans continue to miss the message that they got last election and proceed to highlight divisive and just mean strategies for managing the work of government. Honestly, have we ever had a meaner group of people in power in a party? They are just depraved.

  • Peter C on January 24, 2013 11:38 AM:

    I'd love it for the GOP to put all their eggs in the Jindal basket. He's got all the appeal of an unrefridgerated four-day-old bologna sandwich with extra mayo. I suspect that he wins in Louisiana only because of the Democratic Party's sad reputation for corruption.

  • Jim I on January 24, 2013 11:49 AM:

    I'ved lived in Louisiana for 22.5 years now as a university professor. The LA constitution protects every thing from budget cuts except education and health care! Yeah, figure that one out - trying to do more with less is the named of the game here - we just got notice of our 5th year in a row mid-year budget cut - andthere is not much more to cut! Haven't had a raise of any kind in over 5 years, yhet Apu jets or helicopters to other states to rally against gay right etc.

  • Anonymous on January 24, 2013 12:17 PM:

    "By obsessing with zeroes on the budget spreadsheet, we send a not-so-subtle signal that the focus of our country is on the phony economy of Washington..."

    In other words, "Once we get back in power, fuck the deficit."

  • bigtuna on January 24, 2013 2:45 PM:

    What a load of crap! You mean the $1.2 trillion US budget? The job of creating said budget as defined in the constitution, lies with the Congress? And the That phony balony ole thang? The one in which states get - oh, 20-40% of their funding from ?

    The premise of the speech is absurd.

  • bigtuna on January 24, 2013 2:47 PM:

    oops. Sorry. here is complete message.

    What a load of crap! You mean the $1.2 trillion US budget? The job of creating said budget as defined in the constitution, lies with the Congress? And the implementation of which is the job of the president, again, as specified by the constitutuion? Whose election is established by the constitution? That phony balony ole thang? The one in which states get - oh, 20-40% of their funding from ?

    The premise of the speech is absurd.

  • Crissa on January 24, 2013 5:36 PM:

    But Tubular Bells is awesome if you don't watch the horrible movies it was attached to.

  • smartalek on January 24, 2013 6:28 PM:

    @Jim I:
    The more -- and the more widely, broadly, loudly, and crassly -- Jindal and his ilk (illk?) inveigh against GLBTQ rights, the better for us politically and electorally.
    The American populace already is majority supportive, but it skews hugely by age. Among the 18-30 crowd, support is, IIRC, now north of 70%.
    Even the evangelicals' kids have outgrown their parents' and grandparents' hatreds, with a strong majority favoring gay rights!
    So we should be grateful to, and supportive of, Bobby's peregrinations, pushing policies that fewer and fewer support every day. He's just helping dig his party's grave, deeper and faster.
    And he's supposed to be one of the smart ones!