Jindal’s Big Dumb Fixes

For a guy with a reputation as a genius, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal sure has some dumb “ideas” about how to fix Washington’s dysfunctional fiscal politics. Nestled in the usual “I’m not from Washington” boilerplate about how stupid Washingtonians are, he trotted his proposals out in the dispenser of the Beltway daily bread, Politico–just the place to touch off an anti-Washington firestorm of common sense.

It’s a token of the freshness of Bobby’s Big Think that his prescriptions begin with a tired idea from the 1980s, a constitutional balanced budget amendment, and end with a tired idea from the 1990s, term limits. In between we have two versions of the most discredited idea of all for overcoming fiscal gridlock, legislative super-majority requirements.

I’ve always gotten the impression that Jindal is a man who thinks himself so intelligent that he must embrace egregiously and aggressive stupidity to communicate with the masses (viz. his disastrous let’s-bring-out-the-hand-puppets response to the 2009 State of the Union Address). But he surely understands that if conservatives do not have the political capital to win a straight-up fiscal fight in Congress they are a million miles away from being able to impose any of his Big Fixes.

Perhaps this disposable op-ed was simply his way of giving the actual choices facing the country and the GOP a wide berth. If so, he impressively succeeded in steering clear of reality.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.