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November 16, 2012 9:49 AM Bobby Jindal: Fake It ‘Til You Make It

By Jonathan Zasloff

At least so far.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has been making a lot of loud noises lately, theoretically criticizing GOP plutocracy. A few days ago, he supposedly advanced a new conservative concern for the not-1% percent:

“We’ve got to make sure that we are not the party of big business, big banks, big Wall Street bailouts, big corporate loopholes, big anything,” Jindal told POLITICO in a 45-minute telephone interview. “We cannot be, we must not be, the party that simply protects the rich so they get to keep their toys.”

Now he has attacked Mitt Romney’s pathetic comments blaming his election loss on Obama’s promise of “free health care” to Latinos and African-Americans (and “free contraception” to single college-aged women):

“That is absolutely wrong,” Jindal told reporters in Las Vegas at the Republican Governors Association meeting. “Two points on that. One, we have got to stop dividing American voters. We need to go after 100 percent of the votes, not 53 percent — we need to go after every single vote. And second, we need to continue to show that our policies help every voter out there achieve the American dream, which is to be in the middle class, which is to be able to give their children the opportunity to get a great education, which is for their children to have even better-paying jobs than their parents.”

Wake me up when Jindal has something substantive to say.

Speaking generally about helping the “middle class” or not being the party that helps the rich “keep their toys” is better than most Republicans, but we have an actual, concrete policy dispute in Washington DC right now: should the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans be renewed, and should the House GOP hold a middle-class tax cut hostage in order to do it? Are Mitch McConnell and John Boehner (and, for that matter, Paul Ryan) right to want to cut taxes for the wealthy and end Medicare as we know it in order to (partially) pay for it?

Jindal has a choice here: he can either back the President’s position, or he can back Boehner and McConnell’s. If he backs Republicans, then all his talk about helping the middle class is so much puffery. It reminds me of Tim Pawlenty’s loud calls for “Sam’s Club Republicanism” — which just so happened to be the exact same thing as every other Republican’s Republicanism: massive tax cuts for the rich, deregulation for Wall Street, and greater risk for workers and the middle class. Pawlenty is now the head of Wall Street lobby on Capitol Hill.

Oh, and Jindal’s call for giving US children a great education? Tell that to the kids in Louisiana who will have to learn creation science because of his so-called education reforms.

So far, all this talk of Republican reform is basically about which GOP politician can be the most effective hypocrite.

[Cross-posted at The Reality-based Community]

Jonathan Zasloff is a professor of law at the University of California, Los Angeles.