Bobby Jindal and the derp that burns


It must be open mic night at Politico, because this opinion piece from governor Bobby Jindal reads more like a sis boom bah rant from a conservative radio fill-in host at a third-rate station for a show that starts at 10pm. Remember when Jindal wrote after the election that Republicans should stop being the “stupid party” and reject “identity politics?” That briefly earned him some praise as a politician speaking truth to the party powers after badly losing a national election. The momentary blip in his popularity was quickly brought down after his failed attempt to massively reduce taxes on the wealthy in his state, and this new column essentially tells us he’s learned the error of his ways. Instead of mapping a new policy path for conservative relevance outside of social issues and upper-echelon moneyed concerns, Jindal implores his party to double-down on the derp that burns and return to the bubble that produced the infamous 47 percent remarks.

Perhaps the Louisiana Republican was especially enamored of Clint Eastwood’s “Halftime in America” ad, as this first part of his column appropriates the speech structure of an idealized little league coach telling his misfit team to embrace who they are and forget what everyone else says:

We’ve had enough. Yes, we just lost our second straight presidential election to Barack Obama. Yes, losing is painful and has consequences. Yes, when you lose, you make adjustments. Enough already. Let’s get on with it.

Yes, we have plenty of changes to make. I’ve offered a list of seven ideas for change, former Gov. Jeb Bush has offered substantive thoughts, as have Senators Rubio, Johnson, Paul, and others. The points these gentlemen have made are sensible and merit serious discussion. And it should go without saying that we should continually challenge our own assumptions and evaluate our standing.

But excessive navel gazing leads to paralysis. At present it looks as if the entire Republican party needs to go to counseling. It’s really getting embarrassing, all these public professions of feelings of inadequacy. Every day it seems another jilted high-placed Republican in Washington is confessing to the voters; “It’s not you, it’s me…”

Actually it is you, but we’ll get to that in a bit. The second part of his piece features this doozy of a paragraph, as if Jindal seeks to forge the one strawman characture to rule them all:

At some point, the American public is going to revolt against the nanny state and the leftward march of this president. I don’t know when the tipping point will come, but I believe it will come soon.


Because the left wants: The government to explode; to pay everyone; to hire everyone; they believe that money grows on trees; the earth is flat; the industrial age, factory-style government is a cool new thing; debts don’t have to be repaid; people of faith are ignorant and uneducated; unborn babies don’t matter; pornography is fine; traditional marriage is discriminatory; 32 oz. sodas are evil; red meat should be rationed; rich people are evil unless they are from Hollywood or are liberal Democrats; the Israelis are unreasonable; trans-fat must be stopped; kids trapped in failing schools should be patient; wild weather is a new thing; moral standards are passé; government run health care is high quality; the IRS should violate our constitutional rights; reporters should be spied on; Benghazi was handled well; the Second Amendment is outdated; and the First one has some problems too.

The only thing missing from this list is “likes to throw puppies into fires” and “makes Stalin look like a homely Kris Kringle.”  This is textbook Noah Smith derp: “the constant, repetitive reiteration of strong priors” after confrontations with the evidence that your ideas are unpopular. Hence the sentiment of “It really is you, America,” and for all the pushback against the liberal “nanny state” Republicans would rather pretend that their message sells best when it’s presented as a nanny ideology. Remember that person in your life that, when confronted with their own embarassing behavior, decides something is wrong with everyone else and continues down the path of self-actualizing jerk-titutde? That’s Bobby Jindal in this column.

This reaction from party leaders and their advocates has consequences. As Josh Barro writes in response, “voters are unimpressed with an economic agenda that claims the best way to create jobs and grow prosperity is to cut taxes on the rich.” In a burgeoning hourglass economy, in which labor’s share of national income is historically low, and where a significant chunk of new jobs being created are “the low-wage part, made up of burger flippers, home health aides and the like;” supply-side policies offers the vast majority of Americans absolutely nothing. Whether you believe that the country needs a new conservative ideology, or that progressives need a stronger political opponent, Jindal’s message here should leave you utterly deflated.

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