Recently, we took a look at the CPAC speeches two of the up and coming young conservative senators that may emerge as presidential candidates for 2016: Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rand Paul (R-KY). Today, we take a look at couple of conservative governors that may also consider a bid for the White House in 2016, Bobby Jindal (R-LA) and Scott Walker (R-WI). Again, here are the convention speeches from each, in their entirety:
Once again, we will tap Prez16 to provide an analysis in terms of the implications for the 2016 election. However, Walker’s speech is not included in their analysis, so I will turn to Jennifer Rubin (since she did a similar analysis of both speeches) to fill in the gaps for Walker.
First Walker via Rubin:
Like Rubio, Walker’s is a message of optimism and a cautionary tale about relevance. Both Rubio and Walker used portraits of ordinary Americans to show what conservatism has to offer them. While conservative students might thrill to a rousing speech about the government droning us or the desire to wish away the federal government, ultimately the GOP’s future depends on articulating how conservatism improves the lives of average Americans.
If you want to see the future superstars of the GOP look for the positive, can-do messengers and ignore the “anti’s.” And that means laying out a positive vision of how government should promote opportunity, vibrant communities, a sound safety net and a secure world.
GRADE = A- [mine]
Next Jindal via Prez16:
Having said that, from a political point of view, he’s headed down a stronger path than Ryan.
Growth > austerity in the hearts and imaginations of voters.
It’s much easier to say “There’ll be more for everyone!” than “Let’s sacrifice, and maybe you don’t need a phone that knows when you want to pee, Samsung.”
That’s why Jindal’s speech was more strategic than anything else, and that’s the role he’s increasingly been playing since the 2012 election.
Finally, he had a warning on party branding, which is an important one.
“We have to be comfortable with the fact that our liberal critics in the media will say that we haven’t changed anything unless we endorse abortion and socialism.”
(It’s kind of true — for the most part, the media will only give the GOP a “Yup, you’re relevant” card if one of their candidates shifts on abortion or gay marriage).
GRADE = B-
Jindal, like Rand Paul, is largely theoretical. Most of his speech was a repetition in various phraseology of “America is not just the government” and “We can’t be fixated on the fiscal crisis in D.C.” It is a non-starter if you are a national candidate but not if you come from the perspective of a smallish, poor state. Great. Ignore the federal mess and don’t be worried about bookkeeping. But wait. If he desires to grow America and success outside of D.C. is to come to fruition, don’t we need to remove the threat of fiscal meltdown, don’t we need tax reform and entitlement reform? Well sure enough, later in his speech he called for “blowing up the tax code.”
So in the end, yes, D.C. matters and simply saying ignore the elephant in the room let’s talk about small business, ignores the efforts in D.C. to make it easier to operate (e.g. repeal regulation, refashion health care, etc.) And his pronouncement that we should not worry about managing the federal government is, I think, dead wrong. Republicans have to be the party that reforms, modernizes and reins in the government or the liberal welfare state will strangle the economy and bankrupt the country.
It seems that Rubin comes to a different conclusion than the Prez16 analysis of the Jindal speech. Whereas Prez 16 sees Jindal’s message as moving beyong numbers and talking about growth as a positive message about improving economic conditions, Rubin sees this as ignoring the federal mess, and instead prefers the optimistic message of Walker, which is essentially the same thing as Jindal is talking about. In other words, I don’t think her analysis holds up. Perhaps, though, the confusion was a result of the speech, which by all accounts was lackluster.
Currently, Jindal is my preferred choice among those that have been mentioned for a potential primary run; as I noted before, I think governors are just better prepared for taking on the job starting day one (and with the mess Obama is going to leave behing, we’re going to need action from the get-go. However, if he’s seriously considering a run, he’ll need to improve his speeches (maybe hire a new speech writer). While the CPAC speech wasn’t bad, in my opinion, it wasn’t a good-enough effort for a presidential candidate.
That being said, I certainly would be sad if Walker (considered by most as a dark horse candidate right now) ended up as the nominee.