The Problem With Bobby Jindal’s Big Speech To The RNC

The bottom line message of Bobby Jinal’s speech to the RNC is the path to victory for GOP is  to stop focusing on the federal government and instead focus on American prosperity.

Government does not order greatness. Government cannot command outcomes that exceed those in other nations.

But free individuals…taking risks…building businesses…inventing things from thin air…and passing immutable values from one generation to the next…that is the root of America’s greatness.

And that is our mission as we build a new Republican Party.

We must shift the eye line and the ambition of our conservative movement away from managing government and toward the mission of growth.

It falls to us to show the younger generations the wisdom and the great benefit of the American path.

It falls to us to unleash a new dawning of the American Dream – the dream my parents came to America for – a dream of growth, prosperity, and equal opportunity.

I agree with the sentiment behind Jindal’s speech, I don’t think his diagnosis of what Americans want is correct.

When Democrats lose they always blame the messenger not the message. We usually laugh at that.

I fear that’s what conservatives are now doing. Society has been moving ever left for over 80 years now. There have been no conservative reversals of this trend, just some temporary slow downs followed by big leaps to the left. This isn’t an accident. It isn’t because liberals and leftists have tricked Americans for decades, it’s because people keep electing politicians who give them what they want.

Jindal is saying stop focusing on “root canal” politics (Jack Kemp’s term) and focus on offering a vision sweeping ideas of individual empowerment and opportunity to oppose the left’s statist worldview. Well, we tried that from Reagan onward and the result is people wanted…both. Big government benefits and relatively low levels of taxation.

How’s that working out for the country?

The problem with this approach is if we don’t focus on shrinking the federal government, it will simply continue to grow at a rate greater than the increase in national prosperity and consume whatever gains have been made. Starving the beast doesn’t work because the beast discovered the joys of borrowing. Either we slay the beast once and for all or it will devour us.

I’m not saying that pre-New Deal America was some sort of libertarian utopia but I simply don’t see any evidence that what people are really yearning for is some sort of diminished collectivism and a rise of a Burekian ideal. People will continue to vote for “Both” until they can’t.

I think what people want is comfort. Whatever seems to maximize that will win out.


About Drew

I blog about politics and hockey because I sort of understand those things. I'd blog about women but I'll never understand them.

Posted on January 25, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I might agree that it is foolhardy to blame the messenger rather than the message if the message that the messenger delivered was one of free markets, free people, and limited government. I know for certain that wasn’t Romney’s message.

  2. The Political Hat

    The message is important. We must sell ourselves. Even if the people increasingly embrace Leviathan and don’t want to shrink the size or scope of government, it does not mean that we need to create the right message.

    We need to pitch those ideas we can sell. Once in power, we can take care of all the other minutiae that the vast majority of people don’t even know about, and then slowly transform everything else.

    That is what the left did. They did not start out 80+ years ago to push gay marriage. Even the things they wanted, such as nationalized healthcare, they didn’t openly push for a long time; they simply won on some issues, and then incrementally made it possible to impose change on those issues they didn’t run on.

  3. I think you’re right and your post reminds me of what I thought was a problem with Romney’s campaign. When he did speak of big ideas, he talked of entrepreneurs and pursuing one’s dreams – I don’t think this resonated all that well with a society that has moved ever left, especially with the lower middle class voters who are anxious & scared. I think there were lots of voters who disliked Obama but didn’t believe Romney’s fuzzy talk of millions of jobs or understand the connection between unleashing the entrepreneurs from the gov’t burdens & employment (since they don’t see themselves owning a business).

    Re: Jindal’s speech, it just seems facile to me. I think conservative ideas can win but lofty speeches at this point are meaningless. And focusing too much on entrepreneurs & big dreams without a plan/message for the lower middle class won’t cut it.

  4. The thing that we don’t discuss, and should, are bureaucrats. People don’t like bureaucrats, especially the nanny state kind. And big government is full to the gills with bureaucrats. It’s hard to remind people of that, when we don’t really have the media to push that. It would resonate with people.

  5. The only way this stops, is when the producers achieve control over the federal budget. In the past, a franchise was only granted to property owners. With the advent of the personal income tax, why can there not be a similar condition? As long as people without skin in the game are given access to the budgetary process, nothing will will get better. Excepting honorably discharged veterans, inhabitants of the U.S. must demonstrate a net loss to the government in taxes in order to qualify for a franchise in the next round of national elections. Vets paid their dues in blood and time, everybody else can pony up or shut up.

  6. “Few Men desire Liberty; most Men only wish for a just master.” Sallust

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