Jindal’s Debatable Whine

I’m only taking notice of Bobby Jindal’s public whining (per Yahoo‘s Jon Ward) about the RNC’s efforts to limit debates and (slightly) compress the presidential nominating calendar because we’ll soon hear other proto-candidates issue similar complaints. Rather obviously, the debate restrictions affect Bobby because they reduce an important source of free media for him. But he’s pretending it’s another Establishment conspiracy to shut up brave ideologues like his own self:

“Some of those that are wringing their hands about the nominating process, what they really mean — and they don’t say this outright — is, ‘Well we just need less conservative voters. We need less conservative candidates.’ And I think that’s nonsense,” Jindal said. “They don’t want somebody who’s too conservative and really wants to repeal Obamacare and all of its tax increases, who really wants to get rid of Common Core to win this nomination.”

Well, I dunno. Yeah, the vast number of debates conspicuously helped Newt Gingrich keep the bloated zeppelin of his candidacy afloat between infusions of cash from Sheldon Adelson. But Romney made good use of the debates as well, which most obviously tripped up would-be champions of the pure Right like Bachmann, Perry and Paul. Yes, having fewer debates could lead to less intramural scrapping between True Conservative candidates, and perhaps prevent the slow drift of the whole field into the fever swamps over time. But this is mostly about money and credibility for a marginal candidate who is leaving no angle unexplored.

Support the Washington Monthly and get a FREE subscription

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.