Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal wants to be another culture warrior fighting for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. McKay Coppins of BuzzFeed offers a glimpse of the governor’s groundwork:
With a new political ad airing this week in Iowa, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is informally kicking off his bid for the Republican presidential nomination by casting himself as the conservative movement’s leading voice in the culture war battle over religious freedom.
The ad, which was previewed for some news outlets including BuzzFeed News, features Jindal rhapsodizing — in his signature rapid-fire twang — about the sacred need to protect religious believers’ “freedom of conscience,” which he argues “must, in no way, ever be linked to the ever-changing opinions of the public.” It concludes with a line that has become a mainstay of his recent speeches and interviews: “The United States of America did not create religious liberty. Religious liberty created the United States of America.”
In keeping with what is bound to be a relatively low-budget, scrappy campaign operation at the outset, Jindal’s ad doesn’t have much money behind it. According to an operative at The American Future Project — the pro-Jindal advocacy group launching the ad — the commercial is debuting in Iowa with a “five-figure ad buy,” meaning the organization spent somewhere between $10,000 and $99,000 to get it on the air. It will appear on cable and online and it will run for one week, according to the group.
There really is no question about what is about to happen. Yesterday the presidential hopeful announced his exploratory committee:
“For some time now, my wife Supriya and I have been thinking and praying about whether to run for the presidency of our great nation,” Jindal said in a statement Monday.
“If I run, my candidacy will be based on the idea that the American people are ready to try a dramatically different direction. Not a course correction, but a dramatically different path.”
He said he won’t make a final decision until after the legislative session ends next month. The creation of an exploratory committee allows him to raise money for the White House, though, and is just the latest signal toward Jindal’s seriousness about jumping into the 2016 contest, despite his low ranking in many polls on the large Republican field.
As Elizabeth Crisp reports for The Adovocate, Mr. Jindal is finished as executive of the Pelican State according to term limits, and has begun moving about like a presidential candidate in Iowa and New Hampshire, and turned much of his public expression toward more nationally-oriented policy discussion. That said, there are still opportunities to mix Pelican politics with Beltway dreams.
As Emily Lane of the Times-Picayune, explains:
Gov. Bobby Jindal issued a statement Tuesday (May 19) saying he plans to issue an executive order to enforce the intent of a religious freedom bill that effectively died about two hours earlier, in the House Civil Law and Procedure Committee.
Read the full statement below:
“We are disappointed by the committee’s action to return the Louisiana Marriage and Conscience Act to the calendar. We will be issuing an Executive Order shortly that will accomplish the intent of HB 707 to prevent the state from discriminating against persons or entities with deeply held religious beliefs that marriage is between one man and one woman.
“This Executive Order will prohibit the state from denying or revoking a tax exemption, tax deduction, contract, cooperative agreement, loan, professional license, certification, accreditation, or employment on the basis the person acts in accordance with a religious belief that marriage is between one man and one woman.”
Because, you know, when it comes to leadership, discrimination by executive order is what Bobby Jindal comes up with. And, you know, it’s not like he’s being creative, either. Still, what would compel Mr. Jindal to think that what plays well among Republicans in Louisiana and Kansas will help his presidential ambitions? Picking fights in order to lose at home might well work to rally the most desperate among the conservative voting base, but as a matter of leadership we might wonder at Gov. Jindal’s judgment.
You know, because, well, if he goes so far as to actually run for president, Mr. Jindal will only be reiterating that infamous poor judgment.
Image note: Uncredited photo of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) at 2013 CPAC; text by McKay Coppins, 2015.
Coppins, McKay. “Bobby Jindal Makes Religious Freedom Pitch In New Iowa Ad”. BuzzFeed. 19 May 2015.
Crisp, Elizabeth. “Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal announces presidential exploratory committee; here are the possible next steps”. The Advocate. 19 May 2015.
Lane, Emily. “Bobby Jindal plans to issue an executive order enforcing intent of religious freedom bill”. The Times-Picayune. 19 May 2015.