Gov. Bobby Jindal on the Republican Party in 2009

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

Syndicated columnist Cal Thomas recently interviewed Louisiana GovernorBobby Jindal, a man that many people (including me) see as the future of the Republican Party. I like the idea of a then-41 year old Jindal taking on the then 51-year old Barack Obama in 2012. Jindal’s message – it’s time for change we can see, not just believe in.

Cal Thomas’ interview is posted here. Below are a few excerpts from Jindal’s responses. Thomas opened by asking him what the GOP should learn following the 2006 and 2008 election cycles:

“There are at least three lessons that immediately jump out at me. The first is that the party must consistently do what it says. You can’t be the party of fiscal discipline and tolerate the kind of spending that our party has accepted in the last several years, especially in Washington. Our actions have to match our rhetoric.

If the Democrats had proposed many of the spending initiatives and projects that Republicans ended up approving, we would have been the first to criticize them. It isn’t just earmarks. Look at some of the discretionary spending increases in Washington. We can’t be the party of fiscal discipline when we’re tolerating and approving the kinds of spending we’ve seen at least the last eight years.

Secondly, we’ve got to consistently oppose corruption in our own party. It’s not enough to make excuses that ‘the other side does it’. Quite simply put, if the other party had been guilty of some of the things we were accused of doing … the week before this presidential election, you have our most senior Republican senator (Ted Stevens of Alaska) convicted of federal charges. You look at theDuke Cunningham scandal; you look at Mark Foley, there’s a cumulative impact.

We’ve got to be a party of ideas. We can’t be the party of “no.” We’ve got to be a party that’s unafraid of our conservative principles. I’m not one who looks at these election results and says we should abandon what we stand for. I don’t think the country woke up one day and suddenly said we are a much more liberal country.

I think the country back in 2006 fired the Republican Party and with cause. With all due respect toNancy Pelosi, I don’t think the country woke up and said we want Nancy Pelosi as speaker. I really think the Democrats, to their credit, made the 2006 election cycle on Republicans and the voters rightly said, ‘we don’t like what we see’…

For me, the three lessons (to be learned by the GOP), are: We have to match our actions and our rhetoric; we have to consistently root out corruption in our own ranks; and we have to be a party of ideas and solutions. Too often the rhetoric from the party has been, ‘vote for Republicans because the other side is worse.’ That doesn’t motivate or excite voters. You have to have a positive, proactive agenda for America.

We went to Washington to change Washington, but we became a captive of Washington. We were supposed to be the party of outsiders. We became what we were elected to change. The American voters are looking for authenticity. If you’ve got an authentic liberal and somebody who is pretending, why wouldn’t you vote for the real thing? We’re never going to win elections by trying to out spin the other side.

On the current economic challenges, Jindal had this to say:

“The bottom line is, you look at what is hurting our economy today. This idea of how we solve our economic problems. They were caused by excessive amounts of debt and structural problems. And the way we’re going to solve that is by printing more money and creating more debt? That seems to me a little odd. I think Washington does have a constructive role to play in terms of the economic challenges we face. I think there are structural issues that need to be addressed.”

On whether the GOP should drop the social issues:

“Two things. The country didn’t stop being conservative; the Republican Party stopped being conservative. It’s a mistake to say being conservative causes you to lose elections. We haven’t tried that recently. We need to go back to our roots. American voters reward authenticity. They’re not going to agree 100 percent with every candidate. What voters are looking for are candidates who are honest and tell them what they truly believe, stick to those beliefs. On the core conservative issues — I don’t think a majority of those who voted for Obama necessarily agreed with him on abortion or marriage.

I don’t believe the way to win elections is to abandon our beliefs. We’ve got to stand for something. I’m pro-life and fiscally conservative. You look at how Reagan got conservative Democrats. I’m sure there were people who voted for Reagan who didn’t necessarily agree with everything he espoused, but they respected him for being principled and not having to read a poll to learn what he believed.”

Again, click here to read the entire interview. In this first week of hyped and false hope – it’s good to recapture some of the real thing.

©2009 John F. Biver