That was quick: Bobby Jindal apparently no longer thinks his party is stupid. The speech delivered by the Republican Governor of Louisiana at the Conservative Political Action Committee on Friday afternoon borrowed heavily — literally paragraph by verbatim paragraph — from his January 24 speech at the Republican National Committee's winter meeting in Charlotte, where Jindal implored his colleagues to "stop being the stupid party" in a forceful speech otherwise seen as bolstering his 2016 credentials. At CPAC, however, Jindal excised that much maligned portion of the speech (entitled "How we win the election") where, on top of calling his own party "stupid," he castigated party leaders for "insulting the intelligence of voters" and heeding the interests of corporations at the expense of the middle class.
It's unclear if Jindal's speechwriting team elided that section of his January speech due to concerns about the tone that CPAC organizers were hoping to achieve — hours earlier, during his own CPAC speech, real estate mogul Donald Trump warned that Jindal's "stupid party" comment would "haunt" the GOP in the future — or, possibly, time constraints. We're not so sure about the latter explanation, though. Preceding the prepared remarks, Jindal delivered a series of jokes drawing attention to his frame, his ethnicity, and the supposed racism of either political party, among other touchy subjects:
Bobby Jindal: “Mark [Sanford] is so committed to outsourcing he even shipped his wife’s job overseas.” BUT he doesnt repeat D. Vitter joke.— James Hohmann (@jameshohmann) March 15, 2013
Wow, Jindal's bringing in a lot of skin color jokes in this #CPAC speech. Just made a "What can brown do for you?" crack.— Elise Hu (@elisewho) March 15, 2013
Jindal jokes that staff says he's alot like Elizabeth Warren: "From one indian politician to another, I want to wish her the best."— Alex Pappas (@AlexPappas) March 15, 2013
Bobby Jindal: "I just ran into Joe Biden. I don't think he recognized me, though. He asked me to get him a slurpee." #CPAC2013— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) March 15, 2013
Bobby Jindal on 2016: "I am too skinny to run. At least that’s what my friend Chris Christie keeps telling me." trib.al/oKwU7jy— GuardianUS (@GuardianUS) March 15, 2013
After Jindal segued into the speech itself, people watching were quick to notice the odd retread:
Jindal has given this speech before, yes?— Simon Maloy (@SimonMaloy) March 15, 2013
Jindal CPAC speech is basic rehash of his speech at RNC winter meeting. Same lines that fell flat then falling flat now. #CPAC— Steve Peoples (@sppeoples) March 15, 2013
But will Jindal repeat "stupid party" line? Guessing we'll never hear that again. #CPAC— Steve Peoples (@sppeoples) March 15, 2013
Jindal now rehashing a speech he delivered to the RNC's winter mtg. But if you haven't heard, worthwhile #CPAC2013— David M. Drucker (@DavidMDrucker) March 15, 2013
Jindal's speech isn't so much tough talk as his GOP winter meeting one was. Might be a wise decision #CPAC2012— Eddie Scarry (@eScarry) March 15, 2013
Here's the video of Jindal's speech today, and stay tuned for more from on the ground at CPAC all weekend...
Courtesy of the Washington Examiner, here's the portion of Jindal's speech that was cut out:
Now let me shift gears and speak to changes I believe we must make if we are to win elections.
As I indicated before, I am not one of those who believe we should moderate, equivocate, or otherwise abandon our principles.
This badly disappoints many of the liberals in the national media of course. For them, real change means:
- Supporting abortion on demand without apology
- Abandoning traditional marriage between one man and one woman
- Embracing government growth as the key to American success
- Agreeing to higher taxes every year to pay for government expansion
- And endorsing the enlightened policies of European socialism
That is what real change looks like to the New York Times editorial board.
But that’s crazy talk. America already has one liberal party, she doesn’t need another one.
Government spending still does not grow our economy.
American weakness on the world stage still does not lead to peace.
Higher taxes still do not create prosperity for all. And more government still does not grow jobs.
If you believe in higher taxes, more debt, more government spending, weakness abroad, and taking guns from law-abiding citizens – you already have a party that is well represented in Washington.
No, the Republican Party does not need to change our principles…but we might need to change just about everything else we do.
Here are seven things that I believe we must change if we are to amass a following worthy of our principles, and if we are to be in position to win elections and lead America:
1. We must stop looking backward. We have to boldly show what the future can look like with the free market policies that we believe in. Many of our Governors are doing just that. Conservative ideals are aspirational, and our country is aspirational. Nostalgia about the good old days is heart-warming, but the battle of ideas must be waged in the future.
2. We must compete for every single vote. The 47 percent and the 53 percent. And any other combination of numbers that adds up to 100 percent. President Barack Obama and the Democrats can continue trying to divide America into groups of warring communities with competing interests, but we will have none of it. We are going after every vote as we work to unite all Americans.
3. We must reject identity politics. The old notion that ours should be a colorblind society is the right one, and we should pursue that with vigor. Identity politics is corrosive to the great American melting pot and we reject it. We must reject the notion that demography is destiny, the pathetic and simplistic notion that skin pigmentation dictates voter behavior. We must treat all people as individuals rather than as members of special interest groups. The first step in getting the voters to like you is to demonstrate that you like them.
4. We must stop being the stupid party. It’s time for a new Republican party that talks like adults. It’s time for us to articulate our plans and visions for America in real terms. We had a number of Republicans damage the brand this year with offensive and bizarre comments. We’ve had enough of that.
5. We must stop insulting the intelligence of voters. We need to trust the smarts of the American people. We have to stop dumbing down our ideas and stop reducing everything to mindless slogans and tag lines for 30-second ads. We must be willing to provide details in describing our views.
6. We must quit “big.” We are not the party of big business, big banks, big Wall Street bailouts, big corporate loopholes, or big anything. We must not be the party that simply protects the well off so they can keep their toys. We have to be the party that shows all Americans how they can thrive. We are the party whose ideas will help the middle class, and help more folks join the middle class. We are a populist party and need to make that clear.
7. We must focus on real people outside of Washington, not the lobbyists and government inside Washington. We must stop competing with Democrats for the job of “Government Manager,” and lay out ideas that can unleash the dynamic abilities of the American people. We need an equal opportunity society, one in which government does not see its job as picking winners and losers. Where do you go if you want special favors? Government. Where do you go if you want a tax break? Government. Where do you go if you want a handout? Government. This must stop. Our government must pursue a level playing field. At present, government is the un-leveler of the playing field.
This is a pathway forward for the Republican Party, one that honors our principles, the American people, and also, will help us win elections.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.