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June 18, 2013 9:58 AM Okay, Enough Thinking

By Ed Kilgore

Well, you gotta say, that Bobby Jindal’s not afraid to change his tune. Back in January, he thrilled Beltway observers by telling Republicans to stop being the “stupid party.” Now he’s telling them to stop thinking, per this op-ed at Politico:

How about we take all of this energy being spent on autopsies and focus it on painting a picture for the American public, particularly for young people, of what a free and prosperous American future will look like with smart conservative policies.
No more self-analysis; we’ve had our catharsis. The season for navel gazing has passed. Let’s stop defeating ourselves, get on offense, and go kick the other guys around. If you’ve followed the news over the past month, they are certainly asking for it. We are the conservative party in America — deal with it. We have a lot of dissenting voices. So what? Deal with it. The American public waxes and wanes. Fine. It will wax again soon enough. Deal with it, and start fighting for our principles instead of against them, so we can be in position to create the next wave.

Now if you carefully read both the January speech and the current op-ed, they actually say pretty much the same thing: Republicans need to be more consistently conservative. In January Jindal was trying out some sort of libertarian populist rap that involved systematic opposition to the federal government doing much of anything, and now he seems to be channeling the rage of the conservative activist “base” against the shadowy elitists preparing once again to sell them down the river, this time in the name of “rebranding.”

Republican political correctness is all the rage, and it’s all roughly the same: we need to stop being conservative… we need to abandon our principles (at least the ones that don’t poll well)… we need to let the smart guys in Washington pick our candidates…we need big data and analytics so we can optimize… we need to be more libertarian…we need to endorse abortion…we need fewer debates…and the list goes on.
The overall level of panic and apology from the operative class in our party is absurd and unmerited. It’s time to stop the bedwetting.

“Political correctness” and “bedwetting” are, of course, epithets conservatives typically hurl at the hated secular-socialist opposition. So Bobby “Big Brain” Jindal is basically going all Joe McCarthy on anybody questioning conservative orthodoxy henceforth. And he’s also articulated the strongly held position of “constitutional conservatives” that the American people, not the conservative movement or the Republican Party, need to change:

At some point, the American public is going to revolt against the nanny state and the leftward march of this president. I don’t know when the tipping point will come, but I believe it will come soon.

So stop “navel-gazing,” critics, and shut up, “bed-wetters,” it’s time to put a big hatpin through the frontal lobes and paint the faces blue and raise the unearthly battle cry of the righteous against the heathen. That’s the counsel of the perpetual smartest guy in the room, who doesn’t want Republicans to be the “stupid party.”

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.

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