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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.
By "the stupid party," Jindal was apparently referring to comments like those by Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock about rape and comments by Mitt Romney about immigration. And on the economic side:
“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.”
So Jindal seems to understand that Republicans have a serious problem with women, Latinos, and the broad perception that Republicans are the party for the rich. And what does he plan to do about it? According to Jonathan Martin's reporting, not much—with the possible exception of banking, where Jindal expressed openness to something like the Volker rule.
But when it comes to an issue like abortion, Jindal doesn't think the GOP should change its policies—just that the Mourdocks and Akins of the world need to do a better job of defending them.
In order to appeal to Latinos, Jindal says Republicans must reject "identity politics" and instead support policies that treat people as "individuals." But unless you're willing to help lead a comprehensive immigration reform plan that allows undocumented Americans to come out of the shadows, talking about treating people as individuals is nothing but hot air—which is exactly why Republicans already have a problem.
On education policy, Jindal said Republicans should support allowing families to take money away from public schools and put it in private and parochial schools. In other words, Republicans should stay the course.
On energy policy, Jindal said he didn't like the "drill, baby, drill" slogan, but his idea of comprehensive energy policy means including natural gas and oil—not a serious push for green energy. Sure, he pays green energy lip service, but don't forget, it was the Bush administration that originally supported federal aid for Solyndra.
Bottom line: Jindal understands Republicans have a problem, but if he knows what the problem is, he is demonstrating no interest in solving it. Yes, he thinks Republicans shouldn't be quite as boneheaded as they were this election, but the GOP's real problem isn't with tone, it's with substance.
Originally posted to The Jed Report on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 10:03 AM PST.