I’m embarrassed to say that I once had a little bit of respect for Bobby Jindal. I mean, his retrograde social views notwithstanding, he seemed to be exactly what I was looking for in a Republican: intelligent, articulate and comfortable with public policy. Granted, I would never vote for him, but it is critically important for the country that the GOP take governing seriously, and here was a guy who – I thought – did exactly that.
But as we’ve seen, Bobby Jindal is basically in the same boat as his Republican fellow-travelers, sterling resume notwithstanding. And today, Jindal continues his downward trend with a virtually fact-free op-ed in the Washington Post (shockingly, the WaPo publishes deliberately misleading editorials from prominent conservatives!):
But memo to Washington: The debate on health care has moved on. Democratic plans for a government takeover are passé. The people don’t want it. Believe the polls, the town halls, the voters. Only Democrats in Washington would propose new taxes on businesses and families in the middle of a recession, $900 billion in new spending at a time of record deficits, and increased taxes on health insurance and products to reduce health-care costs.
Washington is the only place in the country that doesn’t realize that this debate is over. Democrats may march forward anyway, but they will do so without the people, and at their own peril.
Yet hope for meaningful reform need not be lost. Only two things need to happen. First, Democrats have to give up on their grand experiment and get serious about bipartisan solutions.
There are only two explanations for this kind of foolishness: either Bobby Jindal is a dishonest shill, or he is a deeply stupid man. And Bobby Jindal is not a stupid man. That is, he must know that most polls show enduring support for health care reform (and even the public option!), and he must know that the town hall protesters aren’t anywhere near a representative sample of the voter pool. Indeed, assuming he’s been doing his homework, he must also know that the “$900 billion” in new spending is (mostly) deficit neutral, and that the only families that might be affected new taxes are among the wealthiest families in the country, and have seen their income grow dramatically over the past few years. And finally, if Jindal has been following the news (and I’m sure he has), then must know that Democrats have given away months of time in an ultimately futile effort to forge a sufficiently bipartisan health care bill.
So, and with all of that in mind, I don’t think it’s particularly unreasonable to just assume that Bobby Jindal is being deliberately misleading. In fact, it’s easy to see why he would use his valuable piece of op-ed real estate to obfuscate the health care debate – like most other Republicans, he has a vested political interest in seeing meaningful health care reform fail. And like any good team-player, he’s just doing his part.