The Louisiana governor’s latest op-ed gives the Republican Party a much-needed shot in the arm:
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…”
Republican political correctness is all the rage, and it’s all roughly the same: we need to stop being conservative… we need to abandon our principles (at least the ones that don’t poll well)… we need to let the smart guys in Washington pick our candidates…we need big data and analytics so we can optimize… we need to be more libertarian…we need to endorse abortion…we need fewer debates…and the list goes on.
The overall level of panic and apology from the operative class in our party is absurd and unmerited. It’s time to stop the bedwetting.
Jindal goes on to explain why Republicans should be optimistic for a change, including their success at the gubernatorial level, their beachhead in the House of Representatives, and the centrifugal nature of popular opinion.
But Jindal forgets one thing: There’s a class of Washington pundit that’s built a cottage industry around tut-tutting the modern Republican Party. Thus the commentariat fired up its cliche machines. Jindal is “the Republican Party’s problem,” has “completely lost touch with reality,” and is “attack[ing] a bunch of straw men.”
Perhaps the most hilarious response comes from the New Republic, which is feeling snarky because one of Jindal’s paragraphs violates some dictum pronounced out by prose stylist William Strunk, Jr., of Strunk and White style-guide fame. Is there a better encapsulation of the modern, staid, technocratic left than smirking at a governor for breaking the clearly promulgated rules of writing? Tom Wolfe must give these people heart attacks. Which, of course, drives up our health insurance premiums. Someone get an armchair and a chart!
Jindal himself has critiqued the GOP before, including earlier this year when he denounced “dumbed-down conservatism” and worried that Republicans were becoming the “stupid party.” But he always made it clear that ameliorating these problems didn’t mean casting out principles. Today that advice is being taken to heart by Republican governors across the country, who have applied conservatism in innovative ways to bring about success in states from Texas to New Jersey. And they’ve done it confidently, without blinking in the face of the mindless finger-wagging.
Politics should consist of clashes between competing ideas, not endless self-flagellation after a single lost election. So quit moaning.