Lord High Executioner
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: The Killing Fields
Governor Bobby Jindal to Republicans "Stop Being the Stupid Party"
Right on the money. The intelligent, reasonable conservatives need to take their party back from the ignorant radicals killing them from within. This is a Republican candidate who can appeal to sensible Americans at large
Jindal: End 'dumbed-down conservatism'
By: Jonathan Martin
November 13, 2012 04:22 AM EST
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on Monday called on Republicans to “stop being the stupid party” and make a concerted effort to reach a broader swath of voters with an inclusive economic message that pre-empts efforts to caricature the GOP as the party of the rich.
In his first interview since his party’s electoral thumping last week, Jindal urged Republicans to both reject anti-intellectualism and embrace a populist-tinged reform approach that he said would mitigate what exit polls show was one of President Barack Obama’s most effective lines of attack against Mitt Romney.
(PHOTOS: Bobby Jindal's career)
“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.”
He was just as blunt on how the GOP should speak to voters, criticizing his party for offending and speaking down to much of the electorate.
“It is no secret we had a number of Republicans damage our brand this year with offensive, bizarre comments — enough of that,” Jindal said. “It’s not going to be the last time anyone says something stupid within our party, but it can’t be tolerated within our party. We’ve also had enough of this dumbed-down conservatism. We need to stop being simplistic, we need to trust the intelligence of the American people and we need to stop insulting the intelligence of the voters.”
(Also on POLITICO: The GOP's media cocoon)
Calling on the GOP to be “the party of ideas, details and intelligent solutions,” the Louisianan urged the party to “stop reducing everything to mindless slogans, tag lines, 30-second ads that all begin to sound the same. “
He added: “Simply being the anti-Obama party didn’t work. You can’t beat something with nothing. The reality is we have to be a party of solutions and not just bumper-sticker slogans but real detailed policy solutions.”
Now in his second-term as governor, Jindal, 41, will formally take over the Republican Governors Association this week at the group’s annual post-election conference. He has kept quiet in the days following the GOP’s defeat last week, but his pointed comments reflect his intent on playing an active role in the party’s conversation and perhaps to pursue a presidential bid when his term is up at the start of 2016.
(Also on POLITICO: Newt: 'Dumbfounded' by election)
If he does consider a White House run, his analysis Monday suggests he’s aligning himself with an emerging school of thought on the right that the GOP’s consecutive White House defeats can’t merely be solved by passing an immigration reform bill and appealing more directly to nonwhites. Jindal, a Brown Graduate and Rhodes Scholar, is already a favorite of conservative intellectuals and his assessment that Republican difficulties owe as much to economics as demographics will be well-received by right-leaning thinkers. Since last week, a sort of backlash to the backlash has sprouted up, with some conservatives castigating what they see as too much knee-jerk pandering on immigration and not enough discussion of what they see as the party’s unimaginative, donor-driven fiscal policies.
Jindal, the son of Indian immigrants, said the GOP “must reject identity politics” and “treat folks as individuals, as Americans, not as members of special interest groups.”
Raising Romney’s damaging comments about voters who don’t pay income taxes, Jindal urged the GOP to make clear they want the support of every American.
“The Republican Party is going to fight for every single vote,” he said. “That means the 47 percent and the 53 percent, that means any other combination of numbers going up to 100 percent.”
On cultural issues, he suggested the party not retreat from its stances opposing abortion rights and gay marriage but rather soften its tone on such matters.
Jindal was less forthcoming on immigration reform. He said the border needed to be secured but dodged repeated questions about whether he supports giving those in the country illegally a path to permanent residence or wants them deported.
On what could be a litmus test issue in a future GOP primary, he effectively punted to Obama.
“I think the president has said he wants to present a comprehensive approach; I think we as a party need to hear what he has to say and offer our ideas.”
Where Jindal showed a bit more daring was on the banking industry, something that Obama blistered Romney on and to which the GOP nominee offered little response.
Declaring that Republicans “can’t be beholden to special interests or banks,” the successor to Huey P. Long indicated support for provisions in the Dodd-Frank law, which requires banks to increase their reserves to prevent future taxpayer-funded bailouts.
Even more notably, Jindal suggested he’d look favorably on something akin to the “Volcker rule.”
“You’ve seen some conservatives come around to the idea that if banks are going to be using FDIC-insured deposits, they shouldn’t be allowed to co-mingle those funds with some of their riskier investment banking activity,” Jindal said. “There needs to be stronger walls between insured deposits, the taxpayer protected side of business and riskier side of business that generate these risks and profits.”
Asked if Wall Street generally has too much influence on Republicans, he said: “I think special interests in general have certainly too much influence in Washington, D.C.”
In comments that will raise eyebrows among some of the RGA’s donors, Jindal decried “agnostic” lobbyists who work both parties.
“They’re access donors because they know whoever is in power — that’s who they want to be friends with to get their special perks in the Tax Code,” he said.
Jindal said he didn’t want to see tax rate increases but called for broad tax reform to rid the code of loopholes and make it fairer for more Americans.
“Depending on the other reforms that are made, certainly I’d be open to the idea of having more deductions, credits available to lower-income [filers],” he said.
As to whether that includes the tax breaks on carried interest and for corporate jets — the latter of which could be called a “toy” for the rich — Jindal reiterated that he wanted keep all ideas on the table.
His home-state critics will argue that his rhetoric doesn’t match his policies — he’s currently taking heat for deep cuts to Louisiana’s public hospital system. But the governor said Republicans should frame themselves as on the side of the people.
“We’re a populist party and we’ve got to make that clear going forward,” he said.
To Jindal, that means improving the quality of education for kids across class and racial lines. The author of a major school reform bill this year, he said education is one example of how government needs to be changed to adapt to the times.
“Let the dollar follow the child instead of making the child follow the dollar,” he said of his policies to support charter, private and home schooling.
More broadly, he called for “a bottom-up government that fits the digital age.”
In terms of being more imaginative on policy, he gently rebuked his own party on energy by hinting that he had little use for the “Drill, Baby, Drill” sloganeering on oil production.
“When we talk about energy policy, it cannot simply just be ‘drill more,’ it has to be more than that — it has to be comprehensive,” he said, calling for expanded oil and gas exploration while also looking more favorably than some Republicans on renewable-energy solutions.
Jindal, decrying the GOP’s tendency to reminisce about how things were “better in the good ol’ days,” is tougher on his party’s tone than its substance. He’s an unapologetic conservative who doesn’t want to deviate from small-government principles. But he’s firing a warning to Republicans that they must change how they’re perceived.
“You’ve got to give the president’s team credit: They did a very good job portraying the Republican Party as wanting to just preserve the status quo for those who’ve already been successful and burn the bridge behind them,” he acknowledged. “That’s not what we as a party stand for and what we as a party can stand for.”
Asked directly if he would run for president, Jindal dodged.
“I got the best job in the world and I’m going to be focused on being governor of this great state for the next three years and being chairman of RGA next year and getting a bunch of great Republican governors elected,” he said.
Inb4 'Bobby Jindal is a socialist, lazy brown bum who just wants stuff'.