Some straight talk for Bobby Jindal: Dude, you are not going to be president

The Oval Office in 1981, during the first year...
Bobby Jindal’s dream office (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Governor Jindal, it’s time for a little straight talk – the kind your advisors are obviously too afraid, or too blind, to give you.

Dude, you are never going to be president.

Seriously, snap out of it, man. It’s just not in the cards for you.

If you learned anything from your dismal showing in the CPAC straw poll, you should understand that while conservatives are amused by your policy bromides and your Borscht Belt comedy, they just don’t see what you see every morning while shaving.

They see a cabinet member or perhaps the host of a “Fox News” weekend show.

What they don’t see is a president.

Please allow me to explain.

Evidence of the conservatives’ disregard for you as presidential timber is in those CPAC ballots: you finished in eighth place, with an embarrassing 3 percent.

Winning the survey of 2,930 attendees was Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, with 25 percent. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was second, with 23. Former Sen. Rick Santorum was next (8 percent), then New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (7 percent), Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan (6 percent), Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (5 percent), neurosurgeon Ben Carson (4 percent), and Texas Senator Ted Cruz (4 percent).

Then, there you were — tied at 3 percent with Sarah Palin.

It’s not as if you didn’t try to win over the CPAC voters. You were one of their main speakers on Friday. You gave it to them straight, didn’t you?

“Today’s conservatism is in love with zeroes . . . we have an obsession with bookkeeping,” you said. “This obsession with zeros has everyone in our party focused on what – government. By obsessing with zeros on the budget spreadsheet, we send a not-so-subtle signal that the focus of our country is on the phony economy of Washington, D.C. instead of the real economy out in Billings or Baton Rouge.”

It was all fairly well received, except that the speech and the jokes were ones that you’ve given before. As The Atlantic reported, some attendees were quick to notice that you were feeding them stale lines and re-tread jokes.

In a Politico story, writer James Hohmann listed you as one of the “losers” of the conference.

Isn’t it embarrassing that Hohmann noted how you mindlessly read a speech that was so clearly a rehash of your recent Gridiron Speech that you accidentally left in a reference to Attorney General Eric Holder, who had been at the Gridiron Show, but was clearly not in attendance at CPAC?

Jindal also recycled the same jokes he delivered at last weekend’s Gridiron Dinner in Washington.

“I see Eric Holder is with us,” he said at one point, setting up a jest at the attorney general.

Holder, obviously, was not at CPAC.

You also apparently pulled your punches before this very conservative crowed, declining to repeat some of the more quotable passages from a speech you gave in late January to the winter meeting of the Republican National Committee. For instance, gone was your widely quoted line, “We must stop being the stupid party.”

Why did you lose your nerve? Were you afraid of being booed?

So, your CPAC speech didn’t win you many votes, which must be troubling to you and your brain trust. They know that every time you wind up in the low single digits in a poll like this, you lose a little more luster.

Is there any buzz at all about you coming out of CPAC this year?

Here’s your answer: None whatsoever, except that Politico called you a “loser.” That’s a serious problem for you.

Of course, you and I know that Rand Paul shouldn’t make the mistake of believing that a good CPAC showing guarantees him the 2016 Republican nomination. But do you know who won four of the last seven CPAC straw polls? Mitt Romney, that’s who. (And the winner the other three years? They each had the last name Paul — Ron in 2010 and 2011.)

So why aren’t the Republican rank-and-file falling in love with you?

You didn’t ask for my opinion, but here it is anyway.

It could be that your time, if you ever had a time, has passed. Four years ago, you were all the diversity the Republican Party had. Since then, South Carolina has elected Nikki Haley (of Indian descendent, like you). There’s also Rubio and Cruz, both Hispanics. If Republicans want to make a strong play for Hispanic votes in 2016, it’s not likely they’ll be looking to you to help with that.

You’ve really not accomplished much as governor. To hear you and your acolytes talk, you’re one of the most successful governors in the country. But when we examine what you’ve really accomplished, there’s not much there.

Your ethics reforms – the major “accomplishment” of your first term have turned out to be, in the words of the Public Affairs Research Council (PAR), “flawed.”

Your education “reforms” have been ruled unconstitutional. And your private school voucher program has been widely ridiculed for funding religious schools that teach creationism and other junk science.

Your state employee pension “reform” legislation has also been struck down by a state judge.

During almost every year of your tenure as governor, the state’s budget has been a shambles, cobbled together with a series of embarrassing and dishonest budget tricks and one-time money.

Your latest policy proposal – a plan to abolish state incomes taxes and increase the state’s property sales tax by 47 percent – is unlikely to get the necessary two-thirds vote in both houses of the Legislature.

Something you have actually accomplished, but about which you cannot brag, is to decimate funding for colleges and universities. If national reporters and others read what the Baton Rouge Advocate reported on Sunday, you’re dead meat.

Here’s what reporter Koran Addo wrote, “If the governor’s budget proposal passes as is, it would represent an 84.5 percent, or, $1.24 billion decrease in state funding to higher education from the funding levels of 2008, according the [state Board of] Regents.”

How would you possibly defend that in a presidential debate?

Your speeches are not capturing the imagination of GOP voters. While you’ve recently made a few splashes with some speeches (your remarks at this year’s Washington Gridiron show were widely praised), you’d look long and hard to find anything really interesting or innovative in those speeches. What you’re feeding GOP audiences – besides the very good advice to stop being “stupid” – is a series of shopworn conservative ideas. It seems that you have an aversion to going big and bold. Or perhaps you’re just lacking imagination.

Ok, I know, you’ll protest that you’re not actually running for president. Your oft-used line, “I have the job I want,” is something of a joke among the politically aware in Baton Rouge.

But perhaps you’ve been telling us the truth all along.

Maybe you aren’t running for president.

Or maybe you’re like George McGovern who joked in 1973, the year after his crushing defeat to Richard Nixon, “For many years, I wanted to run for the presidency in the worst possible way – and last year, I sure did.”

So, do yourself and all your constituents a favor. Stop embarrassing yourself. If you’re running for president, you’re doing it in the worst possible way.

So, come home and be governor.

You might as well. Because you’re never going to be president.

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11 thoughts on “Some straight talk for Bobby Jindal: Dude, you are not going to be president

  1. Bob: Beleve you meant to say: “increase the state’s sales tax” not property tax.

    “Your latest policy proposal – a plan to abolish state incomes taxes and increase the state’s property tax by 47 percent – is unlikely to get the necessary two-thirds vote in both houses of the Legislature.”

  2. Great piece, Bob. I would like to be a fly on the wall listening to Timmy Teeple’s chat with Governor Jindal about his current standings in the race. It would seem to be to Teeple’s financial advantage to dismiss this latest showing as a blip and to cheer Jindal on, I would really like to hear whether he does this or attempts to give him a reality check. If Governor Jindal acknowledges his chances of being POTUS really are in the neighborhood of 3%, it will be very interesting to see whether he tries to actually effect concrete achievements in Louisiana. If he doesn’t, we have to wonder what other prize he will settle for and how long he can perpetuate the illusion that he has made concrete improvements here.

    • Thanks, Steve. The problem for Jindal here is that to even comment on this embarrassing straw poll would reveal his interest in the White House. After telling us for years that he has the job he wants, the only thing he could say would be, “I don’t care about this poll because I’m not running for president.”

  3. Great work Bob. Having recently discovered your blog I must say I have found all of your articles to be very informative but this piece defines Jindal in such a nails in the coffin way that I actually imagined him weeping as I read it. After watching former TX Governor George W. Bush rise to power and the damage that followed I can really appreciate an article like this one. Thank you for keeping us well informed.

    • Thanks for those kind words. I doubt Jindal reads this, but I do know some of his people do. And a few of them privately tell me they agree with much that I write.

  4. Much was written in 2008 about the “narcissistic personality” of Barack Obama and how this played into his actions on the campaign stage then. I have to wonder whether our Brown and Oxford educated Rhodes Scholar governor is capable of an honest look at how he has fared on the national stage. He stumped for Rick Perry, switching immediately to Romney once he got the nomination. He seemed to be a loyal party man to the candidate and was practically begging for the veep nod and did not get it. We’ll never know if a Cabinet position was ever discussed or not.

    He has crossed the country speaking for all the appropriate “correct” Republican causes, like removing the Supreme Court justice in Iowa and has increased his travels wearing the hat of the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, touting all the “correct” lines and points of view. And yet, he gets a measly 3 % of the straw vote at CPAC. I have to wonder if that Oxford educated mind is capable of accepting how badly he has done in these national showings. In other words, does he see three percent looking back at him in the mirror each morning?

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