One of the smartest things ever uttered by Bobby Jindal came right after the Republican Party lost the 2012 presidential race and saw Democrats gain seats in both chambers of Congress. Jindal famously scolded Republicans attending their annual RNC winter meeting, saying, Republicans “must stop being the stupid party.”
Fast forward to September 2015, it does not appear the GOP has been able to shake off its simpleton past. Not only is a modern-day P.T. Barnum leading the field of 2016 Republican presidential candidates, but the other two leading prospects, Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina, are political neophytes with the same amount of governing experience as Trump: zero. Could there be a more unmistakable repudiation of the Party’s establishment candidates as this? Why can’t the Party learn its lesson?
At that 2013 meeting, which doesn’t seen so long ago, Jindal rightly observed his party needed a complete recalibration. He suggested Republicans, “stop insulting the intelligence of the voters.” Jindal accused his party of “looking backwards” and having an obsession with “identity politics.”
A populist-sounding Jindal went on to warn his audience, “We must not be the party that simply protects the well-off so they can keep their toys. We have to be a party that shows all Americans how they can thrive.”
What ever happened to that guy? The 2015 version of the sage Rhodes scholar and Republican governor is nowhere to be found. The 2016 Republican presidential candidate is sounding just as stupid as the rest of the field of wedge-issue addicts.
I believe that Jindal, as do all Republican politicians, does not suffer from a short memory. The truth is that if any Republican presidential candidate wants to become the party’s presidential nominee in 2016, he or she must cater and pander to the Party’s base of low-information, intolerant, religious fundamentalist voters.
If it seems Republicans are on the same suicide mission as before – blocking immigration reform, trying to curtail a woman’s right to choose, defending religious intolerance – you would be right. But it’s the bed they made long ago; they simply can’t help themselves.
While the old Republican playbook may still work well on the state level, as for national elections, you can quote the leading Republican presidential candidate, “fuggedaboutit!”