That was Gov. Bobby Jindal speaking to Politico's Jonathan Martin last week about the future of the Republican Party after the Nov. 6 elections. If you want to see just how much the elections shook up the GOP, look no farther than Jindal's attempt to disassociate himself from some of his party's platforms — many of which he once heartily embraced.
Less than a week after the elections, Jindal tried to grab the national spotlight with a political high-wire act: promoting himself as both a traditional conservative and a forward-thinking guy. The interview got him lots of positive attention — and he doubled down on it at a meeting of the Republican Governors Association, twitting Mitt Romney for rationalizing his loss in the presidential election.
We are at a loss to understand why, but then again, we know the truth about Jindal. Because so few in the media bother to question Jindal's self-serving pablum, we'll make it easy for them to compare Bobby Jindal 2.0 to Bobby Jindal's record.
Bobby 2.0: "Simply being the anti-Obama party didn't work. You can't beat something with nothing."
Bobby's record: Jindal spent the last few years blasting President Barack Obama at every turn — then demanding federal aid for hurricane relief and the BP oil disaster. In his first term, he grandstanded against Obama's stimulus plan (even rejecting some economic development projects backed by his supporters) then handed out oversized checks bearing his signature to local communities — even though every penny of the money came from the president's stimulus plan. And just one week before the election, Jindal went on a Twitter binge, mocking Obama's "Forward" slogan and sneering, "The simple fact is that our President is a great campaigner and a great marketer ... of himself." And if anyone should know ...
Bobby 2.0: "The reality is we have to be a party of solutions and not just bumper-sticker slogans but real detailed policy solutions."
Bobby's record: Jindal built his entire political career on talking points. Several months ago, when bellicose language was still in fashion, he told Politico that Obama "measures success by how many people are on food stamp rolls and government-run health care." Louisianans have long waited for detailed policy solutions on pressing matters, from higher education funding to health care solutions. Instead, Jindal has blithely gutted health care and higher ed because he wants to maintain his "tax virginity," and he rejects the Affordable Care Act out of blind ideological rigidity, even though it means jeopardizing the well-being of hundreds of thousands of Louisiana citizens.
Some GOP governors now seem ready to reconsider their hardline rejection of Obamacare (Florida Gov. Rick Scott among them). Not Jindal. On this issue, Bobby 2.0 remains as obdurate as the original. Consequently, Louisianans will have to use a federal health exchange, which means they'll get the benefits of Obamacare but the state won't get matching funds. And he's telling the GOP to stop being stupid?
Bobby 2.0: "Let the dollar follow the child instead of making the child follow the dollar."
Bobby's Record: Jindal's public education reform plan allegedly follows that logic, but Louisianans know that "accountability" must likewise follow the dollar. That hasn't happened under Jindal. In fact, the governor has fought every attempt to inject any measure of accountability into his school voucher program. As a result, millions of state taxpayer dollars will flow to fly-by-night Bible schools that teach discredited notions such as creationism — all with little or no oversight. Jindal, a Rhodes scholar and biology major at Brown University, explains his support for teaching creationism in public schools by saying, "I don't want any facts or theories or explanations to be withheld from [students] because of political correctness." Facts aren't "politically correct" or incorrect; they're facts. Again, he's going to lecture the GOP about being stupid?
Space limitations prevent us from exposing more of Jindal's hypocrisy, but we're confident he'll give us more opportunities in the coming months and years. Meanwhile, Politico asked Jindal if he had any designs on the presidency. In reply, he trotted out his usual talking point: "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 ... ."
Truth be told, Jindal's interests — and his decisions — have nothing to do with running Louisiana and everything to do with running for president in 2016. Until then, if he wants the GOP to stop being the stupid party and start being a party of solutions rather than bumper stickers, he should start with the man in the mirror.