The RNC just concluded a conference call for the national media with two high-profile surrogates for the Mitt Romney campaign — Governors Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Bob McDonnell of Virginia. Both men have been prominently mentioned as potential running-mate choices for Romney, and both pledged today to fight the implementation of ObamaCare in their states. Jindal especially insisted that his state would never implement the exchanges or the Medicaid expansion, while McDonnell hedged on the latter, saying that Virginia would have to “evaluate” the program. “Our hope,” McDonnell explained, “is that we will have a new President and Congress in 125 days.”
McDonnell told reporters that Obama has had “a rough 24 hours in Virginia.” Lost in the shuffle yesterday was a decision to block off-shore drilling in Virginia, which McDonnell reminded participants would cost the state jobs. On top of that, McDonnell said, ObamaCare is already “hurting the ability of small businesses to hire people.” The law would impose “$2.2 billion in unfunded [federal mandates] on Virginia” alone, McDonnell said, and it also “represents one of the largest tax increases on the middle class that we’ve ever seen.” McDonnell said that he’s going to have to figure out where to find that $2.2 billion if ObamaCare isn’t repealed, and “to replace ObamaCare, you’ve got to replace Obama.”
Jindal expects that the Supreme Court decision won’t help Obama politically. “I expect that opposition to this bad law will escalate,” Jindal said, and blasted the court for keeping it in place. “The court should have protected our constitutional freedoms,” Jindal told reporters on the call, “but it was the President who forced this law on us.” The decision leaves the door wide open to more federal assertions of power over individual choice. “What’s next?” Jindal asked. “Taxes on people who refuse to eat tofu or drive a Chevy Volt?”
The celebratory attitude of the Obama administration on this bill and on other entitlement programs shows how much out of step Obama has become from mainstream American experience, Jindal also claimed. “Success used to be measured by how many people we could get off of the government dole,” Jindal said. “There used to be a stigma associated with government assistance. Now we celebrate it.” The entitlement expansion under ObamaCare and other federal programs is “unsustainable,” Jindal said. “We’re going to see more people riding in the cart than pulling it.”
Both men gave a good accounting for themselves as surrogates, and potentially as running-mate choices. Jindal seemed more at ease in the conversation, and expressed the most passion, getting off the best attack lines. He neatly sidestepped a question about whether Romney could make the tax argument when his own law in Massachusetts had a penalty component as well, but don’t be surprised to see that issue keep coming up.