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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Jindal's prescription for the GOP

From his interview with Fox News' Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday this morning, Gov.-elect Bobby Jindal:

WALLACE: We've got about 45 seconds left. There's a lot of talk — and I don't know whether you like it or hate it — that you're a new GOP rock star. What lesson do you think your party should learn from your campaign and your success in Louisiana?

JINDAL: Well, my primary obligation is obviously to Louisiana. But I think the reason Republicans did so poorly in 2006 wasn't that the country stopped being conservative, it was that the party stopped being conservative. It's not enough to want power for the sake of wanting power. We waged here a principled campaign against corruption, against out of control spending [and] pledged to cut taxes. I think as the Republican Party gets [back] to its principled roots, it'll see more enthusiasm among voters. Voters don't want you to pretend to be an imitation of your opponents. They want you to stick to your principles, and to be honest — even if you disagree with a voter, tell 'em where you stand. So if we'll get back to our roots — against the earmarks, the pork barrel spending, the bridges to nowhere — if we will get back to not just covering up corruption, but standing for the strongest ethical standards, I think the voters will reward that.

Jindal is a rock star. He's got his work cut out for him in Louisiana. But if he can do a good job there, his future political potential is boundless.

And I entirely agree with what he said in this answer, but I would go farther: It's not enough to put thin Republican clothes on Democratic memes.

To take one of the three most conspicuous domestic policy examples (tax reform and social security reform being the other two): We already can be absolutely certain that the Democratic candidate in 2008 will be pushing for a radical change in our national health-care system. And in percentage of voter terms, almost no one in America is satisfied with the current system (including me). Even though improvements can still be made, the quality and availability of health care (as distinct from health care insurance coverage) in the United States is by far the best that it's been at any time or any place in the history of the world. But our system of linking health insurance coverage to employment through (mostly large) businesses has effectively unlinked the entire system from market economics — and efforts to combat that problem via "managed care" have generally resembled the Soviet Union's management of its steel industry circa 1953.

Radical change is needed — but not to a single-payer government (or government micro-directed) system like the Dems want. Nobody — not even Bill or Hillary Clinton — is smarter than the market. Merely tacking on symbolic tax deductions or even tax credits to a program claimed to "expand personal choices" isn't going to remotely address the enormous economic distortions already built into the existing system — in which economic decisions and the resulting "marketplace" are continuously distorted by decisions made by insurance-covered patients and their doctors (mostly, really by the doctors) without any regard for those decisions' cost-to-benefit ratio.

Simply put, the existing system can't be fixed; it must be replaced. And that is going to mean (in the short term) the literal destruction of vast economic domains belonging to those whose livelihoods are tied up in the maintenance of the existing system. Decoupling insurance coverage from employment is actually a far more bold proposition than anything Hillary or the other Dems are proposing — but it's a return to a traditional Republican and conservative value, i.e., the paramount importance of individual decision-making in a genuinely free market environment.

Posted by Beldar at 11:37 PM in Politics (2007) | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to Jindal's prescription for the GOP and sent a trackback ping are listed here:


(1) Diffus made the following comment | Oct 29, 2007 8:41:36 AM | Permalink

There are only two reasons to vote Republican these days. One is judges, and even then, you have to cross your fingers, hold your breath and pray. The other is that they're not Democrats. The GOP treats conservative voters like the Democrats have treated blacks for decades. Jindal is the only halfway prominent Republican that at this time I could support and vote for with any degree of enthusiasm.

(2) Critter made the following comment | Oct 29, 2007 3:40:10 PM | Permalink

It is my opinion that until the legal system in this country is controlled, there is no point wasting everyones time and money on health care. These judgements handed down by juries are out of control which is why insurance costs so much. There is no doubt in my mind that if judgements were based on common sense (with a loser pays rule)we could cut the cost of health care in this country 50% in a week. Of course you go after willful neglagence (no matter what industry), but when you have John Edwards talking to the dead during a trail against a doctor who clearly went in to medicine to help people-AND WINNING-what is going to change that?

We have some many doctors ordering needless test and consultations just to cover themselves from a lawsuit. Doctors know that the patients dont need this level of care, but they have to do it out of risk of losing everything.

(3) DRJ made the following comment | Oct 31, 2007 9:49:14 PM | Permalink

If the useless GOP politicians we have today make it easier for people like Jindal to rise to the top, then it's worth all this misery. Not easy, but it's worth it.

(4) DCPoliticsNews made the following comment | Nov 10, 2007 3:43:03 PM | Permalink

Excellent post. Jindal is right. The same dynamic from 2006 repeated itself in 2007 when the Republicans lost, for example, the Virginia Senate not because the repub candidates were too conservative, but rather because they were too liberal (and specifically too willing to buy into the governor's plans to raise taxes.) Will any lessons be learned in time for 2008?

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