In the aftermath of November’s election, Bobby Jindal has attempted to spearhead the push to reform the Republican Party. On Thursday night he continued his effort in a speech at the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina. “We must stop being the stupid party,” declared Jindal. “It’s time for a new Republican party that talks like adults.” A good first step: Not ticking off voters with disturbing and scientifically inaccurate remarks. “We had a number of Republicans damage the brand this year with offensive and bizarre comments,” he said. “We’ve had enough of that.” Though, Jindal doesn’t think the GOP needs to reexamine some of the ideas behind those remarks. “The Republican Party does not need to change our principles,” he said. “But we might need to change just about everything else we do.”
Like many Republicans calling for change within the party, Jindal has yet to offer a detailed explanation of how that can be accomplished. However, he described a larger strategy of ignoring the “sideshows in Washington,” saying that “America is not the federal government.” He continued:
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.
The governor added that Republicans “need to re-orient our focus to the place where conservatism thrives – in the real world beyond the Washington Beltway.”
Jindal has given every indication that he plans to run for president in 2016, so declaring that the party needs to hear from Washington outsiders — like a governor from Louisiana, for instance — isn’t all that surprising. Unfortunately for Jindal, so far his fellow Republicans don’t seem all that fired up about his potential candidacy. He did get a round of applause when he made a dig at Romney (saying Republicans must “compete for every single vote, the 47 percent and the 53 percent”), but BuzzFeed reports that, “His delivery, speedy and robotic, didn’t allow for applause or crowd reaction, and many simply zoned it out.” Right now Romney-bashing is a reliable crowd-pleaser, but Jindal is going to need to find some new material before 2016.