WASHINGTON — Gov. Bobby Jindal continued touting his new national message Sunday that the Republican Party has “got to stop being the stupid party.”
Jindal was the final speaker Sunday at the National Review Institute Summit on “The Future of Conservatism” in Washington, and he gave virtually the same speech he did three days prior when he was the keynote speaker at the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting in Charlotte.
“It is time for a new Republican Party that talks like adults,” Jindal said.
Republicans have the right principles and should not start supporting abortion rights or gay marriage, he said, but conservatives do have to work on “fixing our message” and winning the “battle of ideas.”
“We will not win elections by simply pointing out the failures of the other side,” Jindal said.
“The Republican Party doesn’t need to change our principles, but we might need to change just about everything else we do.”
The “stupid party” comments and the argument that conservatives must talk “bluntly and seriously” about the future of the party have gained Jindal new national attention since the presidential election, as well as more scuttlebutt about Jindal being a presidential contender in 2016. But Jindal brushes off such talk.
“Anybody in the Republican Party talking about running for president right now needs to have their head examined,” he said prior to his speech, arguing that the focus is about refining the Republican message and winning elections in 2013 and 2014.
Jindal’s speech Sunday culminated his weekend in Washington, D.C., with his wife, Supriya. He participated in a private Alfalfa Club dinner Saturday and, the night before, he attended a social event along with former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney at the home of Fred Malek, a businessman and former aide to President Richard Nixon.
It was the first time Jindal and Romney were in the same place since Jindal criticized Romney’s campaign after he lost to President Barack Obama.
Jindal campaigned nationally for Romney and was purportedly considered a vice presidential candidate. Jindal said he does not regret any of the effort he made on Romney’s behalf.
Jindal said he had a “very brief” chat with Romney and that he was “very gracious.” Jindal called him a “class act.” “I think he would’ve done a great job if he’d won,” Jindal said.
But in his speech Sunday, Jindal again targeted Romney’s infamous “47 percent” of the population comment. Republicans must avoid last year’s series of “offensive and bizarre comments” made by various candidates, he said.
“We must compete for every single vote: The 47 percent, the 53 percent,” Jindal said. “We need to compete for any other combination that adds up to 100 percent.”
Jindal focused much of his talk by arguing that Republicans do not believe that government grows the economy and that the world does not revolve around Washington.
He said the economy must grow close to home by promoting “entrepreneurs and risk takers” in cities from Charlotte to Shreveport.
“We must not be the party of austerity,” he said. “We must be the party of growth.”
“Government is one of those things you have to have, but you really don’t want too much of it, kind of like your in-laws visiting for the holidays,” Jindal said.
National Review Editor Rich Lowry introduced Jindal on Sunday by discussing his “precocious” background.
“Shortly after his birth, Bobby Jindal recommended improvements in the maternity ward,” Lowry said, also joking that Jindal attempted to end teacher tenure at his elementary school while he was still in the first grade.
At home, Jindal is continuing to deal with cuts to the state’s budget, including a recent last-minute intervention to use federal funds to avert cutting hospice services to dying patients.
He also is proposing a controversial idea of eliminating state income taxes while considering the increase of state sales tax.
“Think how much better we could do if we didn’t have income taxes on companies and families,” Jindal said.