Jindal: We need to stop being the stupid party

posted at 9:31 am on January 25, 2013 by Allahpundit

Political media was chattering about this speech last night; Erika gave you a taste of it yesterday afternoon. It’s all about brand-building right now for the 2016 field: Rubio’s aiming to show he can solve the GOP’s demographic problems by brokering a deal on immigration; Rand Paul’s trying to prove to mainstream conservatives that he can be trusted on foreign policy; Christie’s wooing the center by lashing out at Republicans and key conservative interest groups like the NRA. And now here’s Jindal, who tore Romney apart after the election for his “47 percent” comments, planting his flag on middle-class economic opportunity and federalism.

The Examiner has a transcript. The “stupid party” comment comes late in the speech and seems to be aimed at Akin and Mourdock babbling about rape, but he thinks the party’s big-picture priorities are pretty stupid too:

Today’s conservatism is completely wrapped up in solving the hideous mess that is the federal budget, the burgeoning deficits, the mammoth federal debt, the shortfall in our entitlement programs…even as we invent new entitlement programs.

We seem to have an obsession with government bookkeeping.

This is a rigged game, and it is the wrong game for us to play…

We think if we can just unite behind a proposal to cut the deficit and debt…if we can just put together a spreadsheet and a power point and a TV ad….all will be well…

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, and Cheyenne…

We also must face one more cold hard fact – Washington is so dysfunctional that any budget proposal based on fiscal sanity will be deemed ‘not-serious’ by the media, it will fail in the Senate, and it won’t even make it to the President’s desk where it would be vetoed anyway…

If we created American government today, we would not dream of taking money out of people’s pockets, sending it all the way to Washington, handing it over to politicians and bureaucrats to staple thousands of pages of artificial and political instructions to it, then wear that money out by grinding it through the engine of bureaucratic friction…and then sending what’s left of it back to the states, where it all started, in order to grow the American economy…

We believe in planting the seeds of growth in the fertile soil of your economy, where you live, where you work, invest, and dream, not in the barren concrete of Washington.

If it’s worth doing, block grant it to the states.

In other words, it’s time to replace Ryanism (note the line about budget powerpoints and spreadsheets) as the party’s national brand. There’s some sense in that. If you’re looking to dig yourself out of the rubble of two devastating presidential defeats, taking the lead on shrinking America’s beloved entitlement programs is a strange way to do it. The counterargument, though, is that unless the public has it drummed into their skulls, often and in grotesque detail, just what sort of Thunderdome clusterfark we’re facing if mandatory spending (especially mandatory health-care spending) isn’t controlled, they won’t be prepared for those reforms when the time comes to make them. Imagine the GOP sweeping to victory on Jindal’s agenda and then having to take up entitlements, if only out of pure necessity, once elected. That’ll be excruciatingly difficult under any circumstances but less difficult if they have a mandate to deal with the issue by making it a major topic during the preceding election. Then again, this assumes that (a) the public is capable of grasping the full magnitude of the entitlements crisis even under the best circumstances and (b) would be willing to elect a party that promises forthrightly to alter Medicare and Social Security once in power in order to defuse that crisis. Is there any reason to think those assumptions are plausible? We’re cruising along right now with trillion-dollar deficits and the party that doesn’t want to talk about entitlements just romped to victory in November. Maybe we’re better off with the Jindal approach — stop talking about this issue, get elected, and then fall on the grenade when you must.

Here’s the vid. Note the opening dig at Romney’s “Project ORCA” at the beginning. Click the image to watch.

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