RICHMOND -- Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal rallied the Virginia GOP Friday night, urging them and Republicans nationwide to stop “hand-wringing” and “navel-gazing” and move forward with the project of reshaping their message.
In the wake of the party’s losses in 2012, Jindal has been among the most prominent voices urging Republicans to change the way they communicate to voters, saying more than once: “We’ve got to stop being the stupid party.”
Jindal did not repeat that line Friday at the Republican Party of Virginia’s convention -- where the party is gathered to pick nominees for lieutenant governor and attorney general, and rally behind Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II for governor -- but he did have some blunt advice.
“As a party we just need to get over ourselves,” Jindal said. “I’m tired of all the public confessions. I’m tired of all the psychoanalysis. This country already has one liberal party, it certainly does not need two.”
Jindal has urged the GOP to move beyond simply railing against the federal deficit -- what he has called “an obsession with government bookkeeping” – and focus instead on explaining how their policies can help people in their daily lives. He made that point again Friday, saying Republicans should not get into a debate that is “all about government.”
“We must not become the party of austerity,” Jindal said. “We are the party of growth. … It’s not [just] about budgets and cutting, it’s about growing the private-sector economy.”
Jindal is seen by supporters as someone who might be able to broaden the Republican Party’s appeal, and he urged attendees not to think in terms of dividing and conquering different groups.
“We need to be a party that fights for 100 percent of the votes,” he said. “Not 53 percent, not 47 percent – 100 percent,”
Jindal also said Republicans have “got to stop being the party of ‘big.’ We’re not big government, we’re not big banks, we’re not big Wall Street.”
Criticizing the Obama administration, Jindal referenced a trio of recent controversies – the IRS’ scrutiny of conservative groups, the administration’s handling of the Benghazi attacks and the Justice Department’s subpoenas of Associated Press phone records.
Those scandals, Jindal said, were the “inevitable fruits of a federal government that has grown so big and so intrusive.”
Jindal heaped praise on Gov. Robert McDonnell (R), who introduced Jindal, and on the man who hopes to succeed McDonnell. Jindal called Cuccinelli “a man with the courage of his convictions.”
“We live in a time where too many of our elected officials stick their finger in the air to see which way the wind is blowing,” Jindal said, adding that he was “tired of politicians who read the editorial pages and the polls to decide” what to do.
Jindal has been mentioned frequently as a potential 2016 presidential contender. He spoke in New Hampshire last week, though he demurred when asked about his own ambitions.
“The reality is anybody who’s thinking about 2016 needs to have their head examined,” Jindal said, according to the AP. “It’s way too early.”