I was going to write about Governor Bobby Jindal’s sensible, conservative, and memorable comments on our broken immigration system that he opened with at the Americans for Prosperity Defending the American Dream summit in Columbus, Ohio. He related the story of his parents, who immigrated here legally, and his upbringing as his family pursued the American Dream of starting with nothing and finding success.
But his sharp-elbowed, no-punches-pulled criticism of Gov. Scott Walker’s relatively sensible healthcare reform proposal overshadowed those remarks.
In mentioning Scott Walker’s plan, he said, “Scott Walker’s plan actually does create a new entitlement program” and it does raise taxes by $1 trillion, Jindal claimed. Government should not raise taxes to pay for redistributive health care schemes, he said.
Irrespective of the nuances of health care reform – Jindal does know his stuff on the topic – characterizing Walker’s plan as an entitlement program is unfair, a sop to the “why replace Obamacare, just repeal it!” crowd. (Answer: Healthcare was not a free market before Obamacare…government interference created a ruinous healthcare system for the middle class and therefore government has a role in fixing it).
The rupture between Walker and Jindal is surprising as they’ve been pretty chummy thus far, have similar records back home – for better or for worse – and have both served as chairs of the Republican Governor’s Association.
Jindal clearly thinks he smells blood in the water given the troubles Walker has faced, with flip-flop criticisms (that I believe are unfair, but in politics perception is reality), a lackluster debate performance, and a general displeasure with his campaign yielding in a decline in the top-tier candidate’s poll numbers.
Jindal wants to tap into supporters he sees as fleeing Walker’s corner. This strategy is short-sighted and, since Jindal has had a terrible showing in the polls, it’s desperate, but there’s little doubt Walker is likely surprised by the blood-sucking nature of bare-knuckle presidential politics – where good politicians don’t have friends, only exploitees.