Now that a government shutdown has become a reality, Republican Governors Association Chairman Bobby Jindal, who once wholeheartedly endorsed the Republican tactic to tie government funding to a proposal to defund President Obama’s health care law, is now striking a different tone.
Jindal won’t “second guess” congressional Republican strategies in Washington, the Louisiana governor told ABC News today. Instead, he stressed that the states, not Washington, are the “one place in America where you can actually see conservative principles being applied and you can actually see them working.”
Before the shutdown went into effect, when Jindal was asked whether defunding Obamacare justified shutting down the government, he replied that it was a fight worth having.
“I do think our party needs to be more than repeal and defund—I think its needs to be replace,” Jindal said at a National Press Club event in September. “But I think repeal and defund is certainly a fight worth having.”
“I don’t know why as a party we would ever try to negotiate with ourselves for taking the option off the table,” he added. “It’s certainly presumptuous for us to think that the president will choose to shut down the government over this.”
Three days into the shutdown, however, it is the backdrop for a new initiative by the RGA to contrast the success of Republican governors who “can show results” with dysfunction in Washington.
“We’re done outsourcing our reputation – our brand – to Washington, D.C.,” Jindal said.
“For Republicans to be successful, we need to highlight not just rhetoric, not just talk but actual implementation of conservative politics and principles,” Jindal, 42, said. “Where you see that, that’s not in D.C. You see that in 30 state Capitols.”
The Louisiana Republican principally blamed President Obama for failing to lead in the shutdown crisis.
“Things aren’t happening in this city because of a lack of leadership,” Jindal said, referring to Obama. “If the chief executive is unwilling to lead, you’re not going to see progress.”
He stressed that he would not try to “micromanage and second guess particular tactics” of congressional Republicans during his visit to Washington, which coincided with the government shutdown.
Instead, he pointed to a series of “structural issues” that he believes would avert the ongoing cycle of fiscal crises such as a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, a requirement that only a congressional super-majority can raise taxes and increase spending faster than population growth, and term limits of lawmakers on Capitol Hill or event a part-time Congress.
Without such changes, Jindal warned, “there’s going to be another crisis just as soon as they get past this one.”
This post has been updated.