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Rediff.com  » News » Bobby Jindal hints at being in the race for White House

Bobby Jindal hints at being in the race for White House

October 18, 2013 10:26 IST

In the clearest sign yet that he is seriously considering a bid for the Republican Party nomination in 2016 for presidency, Louisiana Governor Piyush ‘Bobby’ Jindal on October 17 unveiled the formation of his new organization, America Next -- a non-profit to promote conservative policy ideas.

The launch of his organization coincided with the battering the Republicans -- particularly the conservatives -- were receiving with the Grand Old Party’s approval ratings plummeting to new low for the recent government shutdown.

Political observers believed that Jindal’s new organization was apparently an attempt to exploit the animus against the Tea Party and hitherto right wing conservative favourite, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas -- who has also been talked about as a likely Republican presidential candidate -- who is being held responsible for launching the Congressional chaos with his filibustering for over 21 hours on the Senate floor to stop funding for Obamacare.

Ultimately, the Republicans capitulated and struck a deal to re-open the government without affecting a single change in Obamacare, which was a major victory for President Barack Obama, who had continued to slam the GOP conservatives for bringing the US to the verge of a default on its debt.

Cruz was being singled out as the villain of the peace by even many fellow Republicans and this would necessarily help Jindal who needs the support of the conservative base -- now solidly behind Cruz -- if he is to clinch the GOP nomination in 2016.

In pitching his new group as an attempt to focus on winning the war of ideas on areas ranging from health care to education, Jindal said, ‘Conservatives have failed to articulate and sell a national policy agenda to the country, a vision of what conservative policies can accomplish when put into practice. We have detailed the awful things the Obama administration has done, all the failings of the left, and we have pledged to undo as much of that as we can. That’s good, it needs to be done.’

‘But conservatives must be willing to demonstrate that we have the courage of our convictions by going on offense in the war of ideas. That is where America Next comes in,’ he said.

Jindal said, ‘The political consultant class warns officeholders with this admonition -- ‘just attack your opponent, and never give your enemy the rope to hang you with.’ By that they mean, don’t espouse any ideas or plans; don’t give any specifics that your opponents can use against you, just attack the other side.’

He argued, ‘The American public demands more than that, and they should.’

Jindal said, ‘If we believe in the principles we espouse, then we should have no fear of putting them into practice, and we should have no fear of articulating for the American people exactly what a conservative policy agenda will do.’

‘We have said what we are against. But shame on us if we do not put pen to paper and begin selling the American public on a new policy direction for this country,’ he added.

Jindal warned, ‘There will be no change in our country or in Washington, without building, championing, and selling the ideas that can unleash great opportunities for an American future,’ and noted, ‘Margaret Thatcher famously contended that first we must win the war of ideas, after that we can win the election.’

Obviously trying to dispel any notion that his new organization is ostensibly a campaign start-up, he said, ‘America Next is not focused on elections. We are not one of those groups that merely pretend to be focused on policy, but are actually focused on campaigns.

Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC