Jindal chides GOP's 'obsession with zeroes' in budget battles
March 15th, 2013
03:58 PM ET
9 years ago

Jindal chides GOP's 'obsession with zeroes' in budget battles

(CNN) – The current Republican Party is distracted by the constant battles in Washington over the bloated federal debt, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal told a gathering of conservative activists Friday.

Bucking some in his party's tendency to place balancing the federal budget over all other issues, Jindal said such a narrow focus on the country's fiscal problems amounted to a diversion.

"The reality is these are government sideshows in Washington that we have let take center stage," Jindal said of recent battles over increasing the federal debt ceiling and avoiding the so-called fiscal cliff. He was speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference being held outside Washington.

"As conservatives we are falling into the sideshow trap," Jindal continued. "All of these sideshow debates are about the government. Today's conservatism is far too wrapped up in solving the hideous mess that is the federal budget."

That message is a far cry from what some of his fellow Republicans have been pushing in recent months. Congressional Republicans in particular have been almost singularly focused on ways to reduce the federal debt, sparring with the White House on increasing tax rates for wealthy Americans and cutting spending to entitlement programs.

While Jindal acknowledged the federal budget was mired with problems, he said the GOP fixation on bringing the deficit to zero was clouding the party's collective focus.

"Today's conservatism is in love with zeroes," Jindal said. "We seem to have an obsession with government bookkeeping. I'm here to tell you it's a rigged game. It's the wrong game for us to be playing."

Instead, Republicans should focus on how best to grow the economy, Jindal said, saying budget cuts shouldn't become the GOP's calling card.

"We must not become the party of austerity. We must become the party of growth," he said.

Since last November's election loss for Republicans, Jindal has been a prominent voice for change within the party, saying at one point ""We must stop being the stupid party."

That statement, not repeated Friday, was sharply criticized by businessman Donald Trump during his CPAC speech earlier in the day.

"When I heard that statement, I said what a horrible statement to make," Trump said. "What a horrible statement, because that's the statement that's going to come back and haunt you when the Democrats start using it."

CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

Filed under: Bobby Jindal • CPAC
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Larry Loanle Liberal

    Jindal should return all the federal monies that his state got in the last 10 years.

    March 15, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  2. DC Observer

    Every time Jindal slams the GOP, he puts another nail in his political coffin and guarantees that he will never be elected to a national office in the GOP - never ....

    March 15, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    Nonpartisan Tax Policy Center just revealed that Ryan's most recent iteration of his Pathology of Plutocracy budget plan would give wealthy people making $1M+ per year an average $408,000 tax break...those between $500K-$1M would get an average of over $50,000. Funny thing is, this $400K refund figure from the NONPARTISAN TPC is actually twice as much as an earlier figure reported by a very left-leaning group. Anyway, wanna guess who pays for the millionaires' big fat tax break?

    March 15, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    "We must not become the party of austerity. We must become the party of growth," he said.
    Jindal seems to be the only speaker so far who gives the impression that he learned the truth of the 2012 defeat. I see that he's still talking all of the same clattertrap about "growth", but whose economic growth is he really talking about. Surely not the "job creators".

    As for Trump distinguishing the "stupid party" remark, obviously the shoe fits. Jindal must have hit too close to home for Trump's liking. Had he any brains, he would have ignored and it let the remark rot in the dustbin.

    March 15, 2013 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  5. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    There needs to be some GOP understanding that stopping programs doesn't stop the need the for them. Until everyone helps everyone else, there is going to be a need for the federal government to do something to help those that the free market is beating down.

    March 15, 2013 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  6. Moose

    Want to guess who pays for all you dem deadbeats

    March 15, 2013 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  7. Bob

    Hey Bobby! Where's the birth certificate, boy?

    March 15, 2013 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  8. Bootstomper

    Man this cpac organization is hilarious. Trump,Mitt,Jindal,lapierre. Man these guys really are comedians.

    March 15, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  9. Joe M

    G O P = GROUP OF PIGS at the trough eating green backs. REPUKS really sicken me and im a WHITE 30 yrs SELF EMPLOYED BUISNESS MAN IN TX

    March 15, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  10. chill

    Hopefully DC Observer is correct and that the GOP continues to put debt reduction over growth as their message. That should keep Dems in office for a long time. But Jindal is exactly right. Stop being the anti-science party when what we need to grow the economy is science.

    March 15, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  11. The Real Tom Paine

    To Mr.Trump:

    We will use your words far more than Jindal's. Thanks for the free material you keep generously supplying us with.


    The people who will beat the GOP like a drum for a generation.

    March 15, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  12. nothing new here

    Well spoken from a man that accepts federal funds for pork projects, but denies basic healthcare to the poor and disabled.
    Maybe Jindal is trying too hard to be a voice of change. I think Jindal would be better off getting back to his proposal to make birth control pills OTC.

    March 15, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  13. rs

    My respect for Jindal has grown just a wee bit. He is right on the balanced budget thing. Obviously since Reagan Republicans have had no interest in balanced budgets (or the debt.- G.W. Bush proves that point). Ryan's budget re-hash still slather the rich in tax breaks and re-funds, and doesn't do anything on the debt and deficit- it simply crushes the poor and elderly. That IS what their version of austerity is about.
    It obviously would be better to grow the economy (and hence swell tax revenues) to sort out the D & D, but the GOP simply doesn't see enough pain in that (or something) to want to go there.

    March 15, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  14. Len

    Well said Sniffet. So true. Sounds like Kundalini has some smart s.

    March 15, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  15. SK in VA

    The man has the courage to speak the truth, I'll give him that. I don't agree with a lot of his stances, but he's absolutely right. The GOP raised the debt ceiling several times without even burping while there was a GOP President.

    March 15, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  16. Name lynn

    The republicans is low life bats, why cant the republicans come up with budgets cuts that want hurt the people. The republicans cant even agree with the president what the heck.

    March 15, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    This is the problem with enacting a strategy of radicalization in order to shift Overton's window in your direction: when it comes time to move back to the real center and the positions you left behind in favor of expedient extremism, because the radicalization is finally, well and truly starting to backfire, you suddenly find yourself fighting resistance from those you radicalized, who view a return to centrism as abandoment of the new dogma and "principles" as an admission that they've lost the battle, lost everything even.

    March 15, 2013 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  18. NotFooledByDistractions

    Pretty big talk from a guy that wants to rape and pillage the residents of his state. Check out his tax proposal for Louisiana. He's just as f'ed up as those he's complaining about.

    March 15, 2013 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  19. Mark in Seattle

    But "zeros" make up today's gop.

    March 15, 2013 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  20. CaliforniaAC

    Jindal is the only voice of reason in the Republican Party - the reaction from the GOP marks the end of the GOP as a viable Party. Sad to see how the party of Lincoln has fallen so low ; it is now PARTY OF GREED without compassion.

    March 15, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  21. Pete

    It's funny how republicans were bashing this new job training bill and how it stupidly spends unnecessary monies when in fact it was created by republicans,nice ha idiots!!Ryan dusting off this old budget plan that gives millionairs over $200.000 more in tax cuts while cutting SocialSecurity,making Medicare into a voucher program and Ryan when are you and republicans gonna ditch this plan because its getting old and we're tired of the same old crap..

    March 15, 2013 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  22. anotherGDlefty

    Want to guess who pays for all you dem deadbeats
    Dear Mr. Moose, the same people that pay for deadbeat GOP/Teas...working people.
    Mr' Jindals state would be a wasteland if the federal money for welfare & foodstamps stopped flowing to his very RED voting state.
    You should listen to Mr. Jindal and stop being the party of stupid that treats facts as kryponite...

    March 15, 2013 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |