Jindal: debt is bad when we say it is
I’m open to hearing a defense of Bobby Jindal from Matt Yglesias’s allegations. But I am having a hard time imagining what such a defense could mean. Bobby Jindal was not out there beating the drum of deficit reduction and fiscal responsibility when George Bush was in office; now, suddenly, he’s rediscovered the value of such things. And it’s not even a situation where one side is as bad as the other, as Democrats are generally more amenable to deficit spending.
This question is equally applicable to a lot of Republicans, of course. But they aren’t Jindal and don’t represent what he represents to so many conservatives, of many different stripes. As many have said, Jindal is potentially a Republican Obama, and in two possible directions (not exclusive): an invigorating young politician who wins back political power after a period of great failure; or an empty vessel that partisans can cast all of their hopes and dreams onto, without much at all in the way of evidence or proof. We’ll see. He is an impressive politician who has generated real enthusiasm from an influential part of the conservative intelligentsia. It’s really noticeable to me, just how thoroughly invested otherwise skeptical conservatives have become in Jindal, and how they are developing the same kind of sensitivities towards him that I and other liberals have towards Obama. That’s natural, and people from both sides need to feel inspired by politicians sometimes. But of course there was a huge amount of work to be done between Obama’s convention speech in 2004 and his election in 2008, and what Jindal will amount to in the long term is still quite uncertain. In the meantime, I’d love an explanation of how someone can be considered credible or serious when they start giving a shit about debt and deficits only at the precise time that it becomes politically expedient.