January 24th, 2013
08:50 PM ET
10 years ago

Jindal urges GOP to stop being ‘stupid’

(CNN) - “We must stop being the stupid party.” “We must stop looking backward.” “We must stop insulting the intelligence of voters.”

Gov. Bobby Jindal held little back with his sharp words to Republicans Thursday evening, urging his own party to rethink their arguments against Democrats and appeals to voters in his remarks to party members attending the Republican National Committee’s Winter Meeting.

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“We seem to have an obsession with government bookkeeping,” he told party members. “We as Republicans have to accept that government number crunching – even conservative number crunching – is not the answer to our nation’s problems.”

Instead of being the “party of austerity,” Jindal said, Republicans must “boldly show what the future can look like with the free-market policies that we believe in.”

“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,” he said, notably invoking comments 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney made at a closed door fundraiser about a bloc of voters who would not consider GOP candidates.

He also spoke out against those and other “completely unhelpful” comments from Romney in a November interview with CNN. In that interview, he signaled one of the seven points for the Republican Party’s future which he laid out Thursday: “The first step in getting the voters to like you is to demonstrate that you like them,” he explained Thursday.

Republicans “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,” he said.

The Louisianan’s remarks further positioned himself as a forward-looking voice among the Republicans thought to have their eye on a White House bid in 2016. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has directed a five-member panel known as the "Growth and Opportunity Project" to identify winning political strategies for the future, particularly in the area of minority outreach.

Jindal’s remarks were laced with criticism of and laugh lines at the expense of Democrats, such as “Which of you wants to sign up to help manage the slow decline of the United States of America? I sure don’t. That’s what we have Democrats for.”

He blasted the economic stimulus programs of President Barack Obama’s administration, invoking Solyndra when he said: “You can’t hire enough government workers or give enough taxpayer money to your friends who own green energy companies to create prosperity.”

But he was also distinctly blunt with his appraisal of the GOP.

Republicans have not only lost elections, he said, but lost issue arguments with Democrats.

“At present we have one party that wants to be in charge of the federal government so they can expand it, and one party that wants to be in charge of the federal government so they can get it under control,” he said, referring first to Democrats and then Republicans. “It’s a terrible debate, it’s a debate fought entirely on our opponents’ terms.”

Jindal allowed that his thoughts “may challenge your assumptions.”

“We must shift the eye line and the ambition of our conservative movement away from managing government and toward the mission of growth,” he said.

Republicans must move, he said, beyond a notion of “if we can just put together a spreadsheet and a power point and a TV ad, all will be well.”

Jindal was elected last year to lead the Republican Governor’s Association.

Priebus will be up for re-election as RNC chairman on Friday.

“I don’t think you should use that whole ORCA thing for your election tomorrow,” Jindal joked, referring to the Romney campaign voter turnout technology which was reportedly plagued with glitches on Election Day.

- CNN Political Director Mark Preston contributed to this report

Filed under: Bobby Jindal • Reince Priebus
soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. shazaam

    Creationist Bobby Jindal telling republicans not to be the party of stupid... yeah

    January 24, 2013 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  2. Iamnotfooled

    They should listen to him. Their way is not working at all.

    January 24, 2013 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  3. rude

    They need to gag Ted Nuget and the rest of the psycho ward of the GOP. Just because GOPers are immune to truth and susceptible to outrageous fake emails does NOT mean the average American is too.Time to quit the delusions that Obama is launching drone strikes in America and explain your agenda to America.

    January 25, 2013 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  4. Millerbarber

    The next President of the USA

    January 25, 2013 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  5. Gregory M. Newbold

    The GOP will have to publicly REJECT and REBUKE their most radical & racist elements before women, blacks, hispanics, asians or gays will give them the benefit of the doubt. For such a cowardly party, this will be scary. But the hard truth is where else are the redneck, racist Neanderthals go? Who else are they going to vote for? What is the downside for them?

    If the GOP stops demonizing the blacks & gays, they have a shot to win their hearts. If not, the party dies.

    January 25, 2013 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  6. Getoverit

    And the same can be said for Harry Pelosi and Nancy Reid!

    January 25, 2013 01:37 am at 1:37 am |
  7. Donkey Party

    Funny, you'd think with Bobby Jingle lambasting his GOP party about their stupidity, that he would actually say something that wasn't stupid.

    January 25, 2013 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  8. DixonIV

    Republicans just do not get it. Changing the face of the Republican party is no different than what criminals do to hide from the law. I am waiting to hear which government contracts in who's district they will use to reduce the size of the federal government. We can cut the military budget with out hurting the troops. Stop wasting money on government contracts for votes. It isn't the people who waste the tax money; it is the so-called job creators. How many depend on government spending to stay above water? How many job creators soak up subsidies that increase the size of government? Try cutting all the subsidies and government contracts to job creators who always finish late and over budget. Every penny of government spending ends in the hands of the top income earners who demand bigger and bigger profits and want to pay less and less taxes. Who do you think will need to pay the bills if the top earners own the majority of the wealth? They pay less and less for workers and expect that somehow their profits will increase. How much cheaper are the Toyotas and other non-union built autos built in the south? And yet somehow the union workers are the problem. You know the customers! As long as you make the average person (customers) your enemy you will lose.

    January 25, 2013 02:46 am at 2:46 am |
  9. Marry

    Gov. Jindal: “The first step in getting the voters to like you is to demonstrate that you like them,”
    Well, isn’t that nice. What about making the LIVING in your State for all the people BETTER? Being among the worst preforming States in all sectors, he has plenty to prove that "free-market policies that we (GOP) believe in" can work for ALL people and the country is not just “harvested” by the few!
    The GOP should have a new rule = NO GOP candidate needs to apply for the Presidency out of a State that has a more than average State deficit and is a “taker-state”, getting more money from the Federal Government that they pay to the Federal Government. (I realize that does not leave much for the GOP but that might be the kind of “gerrymandering” people could go for!)

    January 25, 2013 03:26 am at 3:26 am |
  10. Quixote

    Jindal will be primaried. Stupid people do not like being reminded they are stupid. Especially by a cullerd fellah. .

    January 25, 2013 04:54 am at 4:54 am |
  11. Name lynn

    What about bobby jindal is he stupid, who is bobby trying to impress. What about his speach is he saying stupid speaches as well.

    January 25, 2013 05:17 am at 5:17 am |
  12. Marie MD

    What's up cnn. Telling your bloggers that mr. mardi gras just cut hospital money in his state doesn't sit with your twisting the truth about rethugs?
    Red states are already trying to change our electoral system to make sure their rethug candidate wins starting in 2016. Wake up people!!!

    January 25, 2013 06:30 am at 6:30 am |
  13. JD

    That train left the station a long time ago!!!!!

    January 25, 2013 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  14. J.V.Hodgson

    Unpleasamt words for both sides with more truth in his republican critique than for dems. Nevertheless it would be wise for dems to take the comments and listen and re-act acordingly where needed.

    January 25, 2013 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  15. TomInRochNY

    It's been said before and it's worth repeating. If you take the vowels out of Reince Priebus's name you get RNC PR BS. He seems the perfect man for the job.

    January 25, 2013 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  16. Jose79845

    Jindal, the drug war monger, has no idea how stupid he is.

    January 25, 2013 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  17. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Physician heal thyself.

    January 25, 2013 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  18. T

    ...........TOO EASY............too easy

    January 25, 2013 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  19. Name

    LMAO...Thing is he will be the minority voice within the extremists. I for one do not want a one party system. However unless the GOP change their hateful rhetorics against anyone who looks/acts different than they are they will continue to lose national elections. And how this isnt obvious to them is beyond me? Maybe they truly are the party of the stupid. Admission is the first step...

    January 25, 2013 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  20. June

    I think this is interesting, as they lose ground with voters, the ones who will come out on top will be the ones who go against the grain – like Christie and Jindal – abandon ship.

    January 25, 2013 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  21. Facts don't Lie

    now wait and the right wingers will label him a RINO like they did Gen Powell and Chris Christie. The GOP is ruled by FEAR and they are afraid of
    The NRA
    The Tea Party
    Rush Limbaugh
    any right wing talk show host
    once they were even afraid of Sarah Palin

    get the fear out and get some sense in and that would be a good start!

    January 25, 2013 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  22. Name

    They probably hate him for speaking the truth...Watch him be labeled a RINO or even worst...Just take a look@many conservative blogs and vile comments directed at Gen Powell nowadays. SMH

    January 25, 2013 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  23. bigtbone

    Let's stop being stupid piyush says...

    Perhaps the pushing of wildly inaccurate fairy tales into your schools masked as an equal to legitimate scientific theory could cease?

    Then there may be a tinge of credibility.

    January 25, 2013 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
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