In Iowa, Jindal Champions Religious Liberty

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (photo credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0)

During his recent tours throughout Iowa, The Iowa Republican reports that Bobby Jindal has been focusing on reaching out to evangelical and religious voters. The main focus for Jindal’s recent appearances has been religious liberty. Jindal told The Iowa Republican:

This is an increasingly important issue in our country today. When you hear Secretary Clinton or President Obama speak about religious liberty, for them it’s about religious expression. That’s not the same thing. It’s not about an hour in Church, it’s really about ability to live your life, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, according to your sincerely held religious beliefs as long as you’re not hurting anybody.

Jindal also pointed out that the fight for religious liberty is what created the United States:

On the spiritual side, I think there is a sense that we are witnessing a worsening of our culture – a growing secularization of our culture – and that these religious liberty issues are extremely important. One of the points I made is that religious liberty created the United States, the United States didn’t create religious liberty. It’s why we are here as a country. Without religious liberty there is no freedom of speech and no freedom of association. I also reminded and encouraged them that, as Christians, we are called to be optimists. We worship a God that has risen, who is not in the tomb. And I don’t think it’s befitting for us to be sitting around saying, “Oh woe is us.” I’m an optimist in our country.

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Jindal Joins the Fed Debate

Over at his widely-read Iowa blog Caffeinated Thoughts, ThePulse2016.com’s own Shane Vander Hart asked Gov. Bobby Jindal during his Iowa visit about a lot of things, including why the economy is so bad and what he would do to make a difference. Jindal spoke about the negative effects that Obamacare and EPA regulations are having on economic growth, called for an energy policy that can create good “$80,000 blue collar jobs.” He called for solutions other than college for all to address stagnant wages, including vocational training and education reform.  He spoke about “real tax reform,” without corporate carve outs for big business but a lower, flatter rate for all.

Then Vander Hart asked a key question: “Where does the value of the dollar fit in?”

At the 15:32 mark or so, Jindal took on the Fed:

Here is my concern: We have $18 trillion of borrowing and we’ve got artificially low interest rates because of Fed policies. At some point, and it’s not predictable when and nobody can tell you exactly when it is going to happen, at some point this is going to catch up with us. You can’t keep printing and borrowing money like this forever.

And what I worry about is that you could see a very significantly weaker dollar, you could see very high rates of inflation, and the only choice the government is going to have in that scenario is to rapidly increase interest rates.

Now a lot of people are too young to remember the stagflation of the Seventies and how hard it was when Reagan came in to break the back of inflation and how hard it was—the high interest rates and what that did to the economy in the short term but the medicine he felt was necessary and proved to be necessary to grow the economy again.

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Jindal in Iowa: Shrink the Ed

At his Iowa blog Caffeinated Thoughts last week, ThePulse2016.com’s own Shane Vander Hart posted a lengthy interview with Gov. Bobby Jindal during his Iowa swing.  Jindal’s mastery of the Common Core debate was epic:

“We are going to fight Common Core with everything we’ve got in Louisiana. We are in federal court against Arne Duncan.  We are in our state legislature, when it comes into session in April, we are going to pass legislation where we get rid of Common Core,” Jindal vowed.

Gov. Jindal then debunked the Bill Bennett arguments currently on the airwaves that Common Core is just a set of standards and that local control over classrooms remains: “The standards determine what is tested.  The tests determine what is taught which determines the curriculum,” Jindal stated.

And he points out, the standards themselves are flawed:

Look at the actual standards.  Look at the move away from Euclidean geometry.  Look at the de-emphasis on getting the right answers at an earlier grade.  Look at the move away from the classic texts in the ELA.  There are a lot of content specific issues with this.

But Jindal also indicated he understands there is a deeper problem, a problem with a philosophy of education:

The reason we pay for public education, the fundamental reason we have education is we want a self-governing society.  We want citizens who can make critical decisions for themselves and for others when they vote in elections, when they train the next generation of leaders. Historically you track the reasons why in this country we fund public education is to train the next citizens, the next generation, in critical thinking to have a self-governing republic.

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BuzzFeed: Jindal Attacks Common Core TV Ads

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (photo credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Bobby Jindal is not backing down in the face of a new onslaught of pro-Common Core TV ads, which we (like most people) imagine are running exclusively in Iowa in order to help Jeb Bush, not Common Core:

“I’ve heard the ads,” Jindal told BuzzFeed News in a phone interview from Iowa. “They can run all the ads they want telling us why they should have control of education… and that parents aren’t smart enough to know what’s best for their kids. They can do that. But I wouldn’t bet against the parents.”

He added, “Clearly, the folks that are for Common Core have a lot of money. Good for them. I still put my money on the moms and dads.”

He went on to say, pointedly, the pro-Common Core voters already have a candidate:

“If voters want to vote for someone who’s pro-Common Core, they’re going to have an opportunity to do that in this election,” Jindal said, implicitly referring to Bush, who is the only one in the GOP field who supports the standards.

Joshua Pinho works for American Principles in Action. Continue Reading

Jindal Attacks Pro-Common Core Ads

On March 10th, Buzzfeed reported on a phone interview they conducted with Lousiana Gov. Bobby Jindal:

“I’ve heard the ads,” Jindal told BuzzFeed News in a phone interview from Iowa. “They can run all the ads they want telling us why they should have control of education… and that parents aren’t smart enough to know what’s best for their kids. They can do that. But I wouldn’t bet against the parents.”

He added, “Clearly, the folks that are for Common Core have a lot of money. Good for them. I still put my money on the moms and dads.”

He went on, telling Buzzfeed:

“If voters want to vote for someone who’s pro-Common Core, they’re going to have an opportunity to do that in this election,” Jindal said, implicitly referring to Bush, who is the only one in the GOP field who supports the standards.

You can read the full Buzzfeed article here. Continue Reading

Jindal’s Economic Message Still Needs Tweaking

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (photo credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Jon, as if to answer your question on his (apparent lack of an) economics platform, Gov. Bobby Jindal published an op-ed in USA Today on Sunday touting his economic record in Louisiana.  However, it’s clear that he did not take note of your recommendations.

In the column, Jindal argues Louisiana’s economic achievements during his tenure as governor were the result of cutting taxes and slashing the state budget and implies that the same is needed at the federal level to spur a nationwide economic recovery:

Seven years ago, I ran for governor promising to make the economy bigger and the government smaller. We have lived up to that, accomplishing in Louisiana what the federal government has failed to do. We have balanced budgets, drastically reduced the size of government and empowered growth in our private sector.

Our state budget is nearly $9 billion smaller, with over 30,000 fewer state workers, than when we took office in 2008. And guess what? After reining in the size of government and lowering taxes, Louisiana’s economy is stronger than ever.

This, of course, is fairly standard Republican messaging.  And while cutting taxes and spending is certainly a good thing, Jindal does little to address those Louisianans who are still struggling financially.  Given the lack of attention to these struggles, it is not difficult to see how his pronouncement that the state is “stronger than ever” could be interpreted as disconnected and even callous, especially when 6.7 percent of Louisianans were still unemployed as of this past December, the seventh worst rate in the country. Continue Reading

Saving Bobby Jindal

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (photo credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0)

I love Bobby Jindal. I really do. He’s been one of my favorite Republican leaders for years. I wanted him to run for President in 2012, and I’m glad he appears to be doing so in 2016. His story is amazing, his record is generally pretty solid, and he is a true, principled conservative.

But I’m pretty much alone on Jindal Island. The Republican electorate hasn’t taken to him yet—he’s failed to break double digits in any reputable national polls, and at the CPAC straw poll he received less than one percent of the vote.

Right now, Bobby Jindal is a non-factor. It’s still early, and there’s plenty of time to change that. Jindal certainly has the policy chops and the political savvy to make it happen.

At the American Principles Project State Lunch last month, Bobby Jindal spoke clearly and substantively about education—in fact, he has emerged as the de facto leader of the anti-Common Core movement. He has also spoken in detail about health care and foreign policy on the campaign trail. On these issues, Jindal may be one of the best conservative candidates in the field.

But where is his economic message? Governor, you need an economic message.

Not only is a coherent economic message important to voters, but it’s also important to donors—and Bobby Jindal is going to need to raise some money to win the nomination.

So what’s your economic message, Governor?

I’d like to make a suggestion: differentiate yourself from the rest of the Republican field. Continue Reading

CPAC Winners and Losers

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The 2015 CPAC Straw Poll results were announced on Saturday. Nobody was too surprised by the winner.

Senator Rand Paul won for the third year in a row with 25.7 percent of the vote, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker surprised in second with 21.4 percent of the vote, Texas Senator Ted Cruz took third with 11.5 percent, Dr. Ben Carson took fourth with 11.4 percent, and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush rounded out the top 5 with 8.3 percent.

It should be noted that the CPAC Straw Poll is not necessarily an accurate portrayal of the Republican electorate. Of the 3,007 voters, nearly half were younger than 26. CPAC is known for having a libertarian bent to it, which was on display with poll results indicating a vast majority of voters supporting marijuana legalization and/or decriminalization. That bent won’t be nearly as dramatic in Iowa and New Hampshire.

That being said, there were certainly winners and losers last weekend.

Winners:

Scott Walker (2nd with 21.4 percent)

Governor Walker has had an impressive run over the past several weeks, and it continued with a strong showing at CPAC. Walker’s campaign had a light presence at the conference, with no apparent effort to whip votes for the Straw Poll, and despite that he finished in a close second place. That’s impressive, and his stock continues to remain high.

Rand Paul (1st with 25.7 percent)

Senator Paul won his third straight CPAC Straw Poll, which is certainly a noteworthy accomplishment. Continue Reading

GOP Candidates Move Away from Common Core

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (photo credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0)

National Review has a useful summary of the GOP candidates’ move away from the Common Core. It begins by noting that as recently as January 2012, Scott Walker chaired a Wisconsin reading task force that endorsed the Common Core:

Two years later, on July 17, 2014, Walker released a statement: “Today, I call on the members of the State Legislature to pass a bill in early January to repeal Common Core and replace it with standards set by people in Wisconsin.”

Walker is, of course, not the only high-profile Republican to backtrack on his support for Common Core…

[…]

Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, initially a Common Core supporter, has become perhaps its most outspoken opponent, even filing suit against the Department of Education for tying federal money to the adoption of Common Core, which, Jindal argues, violates Congress’s intent and the Tenth amendment.

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee supported the standards, too — but now says Common Core “has morphed into a Frankenstandard that nobody, including me, can support.”

And after declaring in 2013 that “we’re doing Common Core in New Jersey, and we’re going to continue,” New Jersey governor Chris Christie said earlier this month that he has “grave concerns” about the program, “especially the way the Obama administration has tried to implement it through tying federal funding to these things.” New Jersey’s Study Commission on the Use of Student Assessments is now reconsidering the standards.

Meanwhile, former Texas governor Rick Perry and Texas senator Ted Cruz have opposed Common Core from the beginning, as have Florida senator Marco Rubio and Kentucky senator Rand Paul.

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Jindal, Cruz, Huckabee on Marriage

Gay marriage is back in the mainstream TV news thanks to Bobby Jindal and Mike Huckabee.

In a CNN interview on Feb. 10, Gov. Jindal endorsed a Constitutional Amendment as a remedy if the Court orders gay marriage.  And on Feb. 1, also on CNN, Gov. Huckabee addressed the religious liberty impacts of gay marriage as progressives redefine traditional Christianity as hatred and bigotry per se.

Sen. Ted Cruz (photo credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Now, The Blaze is crediting Sen. Cruz with being the first presidential candidate to “take action” in response to Alabama ruling,  for introducing a Constitutional Amendment this week permitting states to define marriage as one man and one woman. (Being a senator helps you be in a position to “take action” of course.)

Cruz issued a strong statement:

Even though the Supreme Court made clear in United States v. Windsor that the federal government should defer to state ‘choices about who may be married,’ the Obama Administration has disregarded state marriage laws enacted by democratically-elected legislatures to uphold traditional marriage. . .[W]e should reject attempts by the Obama Administration to force same-sex marriage on all 50 states. The State Marriage Defense Act helps safeguard the ability of states to preserve traditional marriage for their citizens.

Peculiarly, he also declined to be interviewed by The Blaze about it however.

CNN appears to believe the progressive narrative that support for gay marriage is a problem for GOP candidates.  Of course, progressives also thought opposition to late-term abortion bans would propel Wendy Davis to iconic status as a warrior for women. Continue Reading