By Jessica Huseman
Though he’ll openly deny it, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is already beginning his campaign for the 2016 presidential election. A mix of throwing former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who came up short in his bid for the presidency just two weeks ago, and shouts of reform for the Republican party are adding up to a strong start at a presidential bid four years from now.
“Everybody who is already thinking about the 2016 presidential race need to have their head examined,” Jindal said in an interview with the Christian Science Monitor on the sidelines of theRepublican Governors Association meeting last week in Vegas. “Anybody thinking about 2016 is absolutely ridiculous.”
Jindal, then, must be “absolutely ridiculous.” While his hints at 2016 are quite subtle, the new chairman of the Republican National Governors Association has emerged as the loudest critic of the Republican Party’s identity, swooping in at a time when all Republicans are questioning the direction of the party to scoop up as much air time as possible and grab as many headlines as he can.
The Louisiana governor is positioning himself as a more pragmatic alternative to the status-quo G.O.P., something badly needed in a world where the G.O.P.’s almost histrionic banter on everything from taxes to birth control is turning people away in droves.
He is urging the party to fight for the middle-class vote and do away with the “big business and big banks” identity. This, he said, will take major changes to the party’s message rather than “minor cosmetic changes,” even saying that the Republican Party should learn from the Democratic Party’s ability to shore up a strong coalition of voters.
“We have historically tried to appeal to all the people and try to get more than half of them to agree with us,” he said, according to the L.A. Times. “I happen to think our way is a better way for governing. But we cannot at the same time be ignorant of demography.”
To this end, Jindal has been openly critical of Romney’s assertion that Obama bought votes through “gifts.”
“If we want people to like us, we have to like them first,” Jindal said on Fox News Sunday. “You don’t start to like people by insulting them and saying their votes were bought. We are an aspirational party.”
On the same program, Jindal criticized Todd Aikin (R-Mo.) and Richard Murdock (R-Ind.), saying their comments about raped pushed people away from the GOP.
“We don’t need to be saying stupid things,” he said.