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Jindal Vs. The Republicans At The Undercard Debate

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Jindal Vs. The Republicans At The Undercard Debate


Most GOP candidates are content to reserve their most emphatic attacks for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Not Bobby Jindal.

In recent months, the Louisiana governor’s stump speech has calcified around a pitch that “it’s not enough to elect just any conservative — we’ve seen that.”

In Jindal’s now-familiar narrative, his party lost the last two presidential elections because each time it nominated a “fake conservative,” and the GOP itself in general is in danger of becoming a “second liberal party.”

“We try to be cheaper versions of the Democratic party,” Jindal protested, admonishing that the party should “embrace our own principles,” and by extension, nominate him — the only candidate, he claimed, whose conservative record may not have made him “electable” in any conventional sense, but that that was a good thing.

(Rick Santorum, the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania — who had a memorably Jindal-esque moment where he shouted so loudly it temporarily distorted his microphone — said that at least Democrats fight for what they believe in, unlike, presumably, his own party.)

Jindal was the “only candidate” (his persistent self-elevating refrain) who effectively cut his state budget by 26 percent — much of which came from his decision to privatize the state’s charity hospital system, the loss of funds for Hurricane Katrina relief, which were set to expire anyway, and the gutting of the state’s educational system.

He was the “only candidate” who had reduced the government economy while growing the private economy. This, despite the fact that Louisiana’s private-sector employment growth has lagged behind the the national average, and since 2009 his state’s annual GDP growth has averaged 0.5 percent (compared with a national average annual growth rate of 1.9 percent). Jindal took office in January 2008.

Other candidates, he said, proffered a lot of “hot air” — among them, specifically, New Jersey governor Chris Christie. And the undercard debate which aired Tuesday night on Fox Business Network contracted to a clash between authentic conservatism and actual electability, as embodied by these two governors.

While Jindal challenged voters to elect “not just any Republican” but to elect one who would “take on the establishment,” Christie spoke of the need to elevate the debate above intra-GOP squabbling and for Republican candidates to direct their rancor where it belonged — at Hillary Clinton.

In fact, Jindal’s premise — that by nominating so-called moderates, Republicans had failed to draw out “real” conservative turnout — is not borne out by exit polls in 2012, and his rejection of the notion of “electability” seemed to be informed by attitudes of the far-right after the 2012 loss, like those of RedState founder Erick Erickson, who commented that “the most electable usually aren’t.”

Christie — who, along with former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, until recently had stood at a podium on the top-tier debate — touted his gubernatorial victory in a heavily Democratic state as a weathervane of his value as a candidate for general election — the very thing that made him such a target for Jindal.

“Let’s not pretend that out-of-control government spending is only a Democratic problem,” Jindal said — a remark directed pointedly at Christie and his record as governor of New Jersey

Chris Christie reminded audiences that when asked what enemy she was most proud to have, Clinton answered: “Republicans.”

Clinton’s comment was meant in jest. But on that at least, she and Jindal might agree.

Sam Reisman

Sam Reisman is the former managing editor at The National Memo, where he still writes the weekly "This Week In Crazy" column. His writing has appeared in Flavorpill, The Huffington Post, Columbia Daily Spectator, and Bwog. He was the publisher of the 2010 edition of Inside New York, an annual guidebook to the city for students and young professionals.

Since 2011, he has co-curated and hosted Peculiar Streams, a showcase for NYC-based writers, musicians, comedians, and filmmakers. He is a staff writer at Mediaite, and blogs at SamReisman.com.

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  1. Jinmichigan November 11, 2015

    I’d like to know what principles Jindal is talking about besides more tax cuts for the rich? There doesn’t seem to be any besides that one.

    1. I of John November 11, 2015

      At first I thought, wow Jindal is telling it like it is. The GOP does need to return to its core beliefs. Apparently the problem though is that Jindal doesnt know what those are.

      1. bobnstuff November 11, 2015

        He knows, It’s the stupid party, his words.

      2. Independent1 November 12, 2015

        yeah! Bobby has already virtually run Louisiana into the ground. He’s basically hocking everything (moving as much government stuff like even the schools to the private sector) to keep the state running.

        1. I of John November 12, 2015

          Looks like he learned management from Carly Fiorina.

          1. Independent1 November 12, 2015

            Could be. Or running economies into the ground could just have become the modis operandi for today’s conservatives. Look at Wisconsin, look at Florida, look at New Jersey, look at Kansas, look at Maine, look at South Carolina and Alabama and a number of others – all teettering on the brink of 3rd world status related to their infrastructure, living conditions and even their economics (needing to suck federal aid to stay out of bankruptcy).

            Like Lawrence Wilkerson, Collin Powell’s Chief of Staff, said recently in a speech in Houston that stunned a lot of conservatives, without the billions of tax dollars from California and New York for many GOP-run states to suck in federal aid/welfare, the south today would look like Bangladesh. (Those are my own words but they are the gist of what Lawrence said – he did reference Bangladesh.)

          2. I of John November 12, 2015

            Speaking from my home state of Maine, I have to agree. Our not-so-beloved governor is doing his best to make state government nonfunctional. Nothing short of impeachment can seem to dissuade him. So looks like that is next. The investigation into his latest screw up is about to begin and these are grounds for impeachment.

          3. Independent1 November 12, 2015

            Let’s hope this impeachment process starts moving a little more quickly; we need to get Paul LePage out of office. Our state will not start moving forward until we start getting rid of a lot of his nonsensical ideas (I’m also posting from Maine). Not only is LePage a radical politician, he’s the most disgusting person I could ever have imagined being Maine’s governor. I would actually like to see Angus King run again for governor. We need someone with a lot more common sense and integrity to lead Maine out of the doldrums that Paul LePage has created.

          4. I of John November 12, 2015

            Well, the governor has pretty much let it all hang out for the world to see. He’s practically wrapped it up himself. A more obtuse man you’ll not find any time soon. It’s funny, in the past I didn’t think Maine governors made a lot of a difference in the scheme of things. I guess we never know how good we’ve had it until we get a really bad one.

  2. Dominick Vila November 11, 2015

    The only logical explanation for the insistence of people like Christie, Jindal, Santorum, Huckabee, and most of the stragglers running for the GOP nomination is that they are still there because of their egos. None of them has a chance to win the nomination, or even the Nr. 2 spot in the GOP ticket, and nobody is paying attention to what they do or say. They should stop embarrassing themselves and go home.

    1. johninPCFL November 11, 2015

      Wrong there. The most logical explanation is that they’ve figured out a way to profit from the dark money flowing into the campaigns. For instance, ad managers collect a fee for placing ads. Who’s handling the advertising for these guys?

      1. Independent1 November 12, 2015

        I’m sure a lot of these hacks have figured out how to make big bucks while wasting everyone’s time pretending to run for president. Isn’t it great that there are thousands of people willing to throw their money into the wind funding these losers in their wasted attempts at being president??

    2. plc97477 November 11, 2015

      Their only reason for sticking in the running is because someone is offering them money to stay. I don’t know why.

      1. mpjt16 November 11, 2015

        Wouldn’t it be nice to know where the money is coming from?

  3. CrankyToo November 11, 2015

    Isn’t Jindal the genius who, about three years ago, declared that the GOP needs to stop being the party of stupid? This turkey could be the poster boy for stupid.

    1. plc97477 November 11, 2015

      He barely got the words out of his mouth before he did something stupid.

  4. Insinnergy November 11, 2015

    Keep going, Bobby.
    Your State isn’t dead yet.

    Please take the GOP further right. I don’t think you’ve passed Mussolini quite yet.
    Every step makes the GOP less electable.

  5. mpjt16 November 11, 2015

    Poor Bobby (Excuse me but “Bobby?”). He now defines the party of stupid that he admonished not that long ago. What he is selling as the Republican party is a tiny part of the voting public. Angry evangelicals who are afraid of their shadow.
    Jindal is a pathetic puppet for someone. Wish we knew who was pulling his strings. That guy is really frightening.

    1. I of John November 12, 2015

      I wouldn’t be surprised of their is a demented geppetto some where. Jindal has an automaton strangeness about him. Did you see his announcement video with his family. Very odd.


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