The GOP is still reckoning the reasons for its losses on Election Day one week ago, and two general but contradictory schools of thought have emerged among the chattering classes:
1. Mitt Romney (and the downticket candidates) were too hardline on social issues, scaring off moderate potential swing voters.
2. Mitt Romney spent too much time trying to "appease" moderates rather than satisfy the already-energized tea party wing of the GOP.
Jindal, a skilled political sailor who can tack into the slightest change in the current wind, provided Politico with a series of remarkable quotes, characterized by Martin thusly:
Jindal urged Republicans to both reject anti-intellectualism and embrace a populist-tinged reform approach that he said would mitigate what exit polls show was one of President Barack Obama’s most effective lines of attack against Mitt Romney.
(Meanwhile, Slate calls it "Bobby Jindal's Plan To Reposition The GOP On Economics Without Changing Any Of Their Economic Policies.")
Oh, and the new head of the Republican Governors' Association still "has the best job in the world." But what's he saying about a 2016 Presidential run?
Quotes under the jump ...
“We cannot be, we must not be, the party that simply protects the rich so they get to keep their toys.”
“Simply being the anti-Obama party didn’t work. You can’t beat something with nothing. The reality is we have to be a party of solutions and not just bumper-sticker slogans but real detailed policy solutions.”
(Last June, he told a conservative gathering that Obama was "the most liberal, most incompetent president since [Jimmy] Carter.")
On cultural issues, he suggested the party not retreat from its stances opposing abortion rights and gay marriage but rather soften its tone on such matters.
Jindal was less forthcoming on immigration reform. He said the border needed to be secured but dodged repeated questions about whether he supports giving those in the country illegally a path to permanent residence or wants them deported.
(In 2006, as a member of the House of Representatives, he voted to build a fence along the Mexican border.)
His home-state critics will argue that his rhetoric doesn’t match his policies — he’s currently taking heat for deep cuts to Louisiana’s public hospital system. But the governor said Republicans should frame themselves as on the side of the people.
“We’re a populist party and we’ve got to make that clear going forward,” he said.
Asked directly if he would run for president, Jindal dodged.
“I got the best job in the world and I’m going to be focused on being governor of this great state for the next three years and being chairman of RGA next year and getting a bunch of great Republican governors elected,” he said.
"Best job in the world" + crawfishing on grander plans? It's good to know some things never change.