Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal On What The Election’s About
HH: As promised, please to bring back now Louisiana Governor, Bobby Jindal. Governor, it’s great to have you back on the Hugh Hewitt Show.
BJ: Hugh, it’s always great to talk to you. It’s a great privilege to be back on your show, hope you’re doing very, very well today.
HH: Well, I am so glad that you’re here, because we’re talking about the President’s comments this week, and obviously, I don’t want to take him out of context. I’m going to play him for the audience and then get your reaction. Here’s what the President said in Roanoke about two weeks ago:
BO: If you’re been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something. There are a whole bunch of hard-working people out there. If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.
HH: Governor Jindal, what do you think of that?
BJ: You know, it’s amazing. First, the President said that if you have a business, you didn’t build that. A few weeks ago, he said the private sector is doing fine, the problem’s in the public sector. Four years ago, you remember, Hugh, he went to California and said that we Americans were clinging to our guns and religion. And every time he does this, his aides come out and explain it away, saying that’s not what he really meant. The comments are disturbing. What’s even more disturbing, though, are his policies. I think these comments tell a lot about this President’s approach to the economy and the government. And what’s even more disturbing than that speech is look at what he’s done as president. Four years ago, he was hope and change, he had no track record. Now, four years later, we’ve seen his track record – a trillion dollars every year in deficit spending after he promised to cut the debt in half at the end of four years, 41 months in a row, unemployment above 8% after he promised the stimulus would keep unemployment below 8%, down to 5.6% today. He promised health care premiums, he’d cut them $2,500 dollars. They’ve gone up 9% last year, promised us he would reform the entitlement programs. He didn’t do that. He promised us he’s going to help homeowners. 30% of mortgage owners are still underwater. What is disturbing to me, the comments are disturbing. I think they tell a lot about his approach to the government, and his approach to the economy. What’s of even greater concern to me, what’s of greater concern, is four years of his failed policies. Hugh, we can’t afford another four more years of this president. You know, he’s literally going to bankrupt our children and our grandchildren. The German foreign minister a couple of weeks ago, this was so concerning to me, the Europeans are lecturing us about spending and borrowing binges. As bad as things are in Europe, in the Euro Zone, they’ve borrowed 80% of their GDP. We’re at 100% of our GDP under President Obama. So I think the quote says a lot. His speech says a lot about how he thinks about America and our success. I think it reflects an Occupy Wall Street mentality that deemphasizes individual effort and success. It’s one of the reasons I think he is so comfortable proposing tax increases on small business owners, one of the reasons he is so comfortable engaging in class warfare and demonizing those that have been successful. It is unfortunate, it is not the American dream. We can’t afford four more years of this president.
HH: Now Governor Jindal, President Obama accused Republicans of taking him out of context. He in fact released an ad in his own voice yesterday. Let’s play that ad for the audience so we don’t take the ad out of context, cut number 6:
Obama Ad: Those ads, taking my words about small business out of context, they’re flat-out wrong. Of course Americans build their own businesses. Every day, hard-working people sacrifice to meet a payroll, create jobs, and make our economy run. And what I said was that we need to stand behind them, as America always has, by investing in education and training, roads and bridges, research and technology. I’m Barack Obama, and I approved this message because I believe we’re all in this together.
HH: Governor Bobby Jindal, what did you make of that?
BJ: Well, Hugh, what is it, fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me? Look, four years ago, he had great, empty rhetoric. Unfortunately, we fell for it. Let’s not fall for it again. You know, he says he wants to support small businesses. If he really means that, he can cut their taxes, not raise their taxes. If he really means that, get rid of these excessive regulations. If he really means that, let’s produce more energy at home. The House yesterday, you know, voting to say let’s do more domestic energy, oil and gas exploration. No way this president will ever sign that bill into law. If he really wants to help small businesses, let’s stop having the highest corporate tax rate in the entire developed world, which is where we stand today as a country. So the rhetoric is great, the music was wonderful. The country fell for it four years ago. You didn’t fall for it. I didn’t fall for it. Unfortunately, too many voters did. Let’s not fall for it again four years later. He’s got a track record. He can look at the camera, he can read the teleprompter. He can give as many moving speeches as he wants. He can’t undo his track record. He made specific commitments, specific promises, and he hasn’t kept them. He hasn’t done his job. It’s time for him to go back home. It’s time for us to get a new president.
HH: And Governor Jindal, when he said at the end of this ad we’re all in this together, that’s hardly the way that Ronald Reagan ran for reelection, or Bill Clinton, or George W. Bush. We’re all in this together is sort of resignation in the face of overwhelming circumstance, and it’s not what I look for in a president. Are you surprised to hear him in essence throwing in the towel on morning in America stuff?
BJ: Well, Hugh, you’re exactly right. Look, President Reagan could ask us back when he was running against Jimmy Carter and later, are you better off than you were four years ago, and this president can’t do that. I was really disappointed. You know, several weeks ago, he gave a speech in Ohio on the economy, supposedly. He spoke for 55 minutes, didn’t say anything new, but it was all about divide and blame. It didn’t sound presidential to me. Harry Truman would never have recognized this. I mean, Harry Truman got it that the buck stops here, he was responsible. This president is blaming everybody. Look, trying to run against President Bush, his campaign staff has been out there trying to run against President Nixon, trying to blame everybody, every year we’re about to start our recovery, but every year, it’s somebody else’s fault. It was Europe’s fault, it’s somebody else’s fault. It’s always somebody else’s fault. I think it’s getting old. I think the American people are seeing through that, and saying we want a leader. We want somebody who’s going to take responsibility and take decisive action. He inherited a bad economy. It has not gotten better under his policies. It’s actually gotten worse. We have half a million, nearly half a million fewer Americans working since he took office. Median income has gone down over $4,000 dollars since he took office, household income, a two decade low since he’s taken office, so clearly, median household income, so clearly, his policies haven’t worked. He can’t run on his track record, can’t run on his policies, so he’s trying to distract us. No, Hugh, it didn’t sound very presidential, but then again, this is a president who wouldn’t proudly embrace American exceptionalism. This is a president who apologizes too often as opposed to leading, as opposed to making those tough choices.
HH: Now Governor Jindal, I just put out a book called The Brief Against Obama, and there are three quotes which I use twice in that book. I want to play the President, so people again, I don’t take him out of context, and get your reaction after I play all three. This is cut number 1, President Obama last year.
BO: This is a great, great country that had gotten a little soft, and we didn’t have that same competitive edge that we needed over the last couple of decades.
HH: Cut number two, President Obama last year.
BO: We’ve lost our ambition and our imagination, and our willingness to do the things that built the Golden Gate Bridge.
HH: Cut number three, President Obama last year.
BO: You know, we’ve been a little bit lazy, I think, over the last couple of decades. We’ve kind of taken for granted well, people will want to come here, and we aren’t out there hungry, selling America and trying to attract new businesses into America.
HH: Now Governor Jindal, is that your experience in America, Louisiana or anywhere? Are we soft, lazy, and we can’t build bridges?
BJ: Absolutely not. Maybe our President is, but that’s not the American people I know. We are not lazy, we are not soft, we’ve not lost our ambition. But you hear two things in the President, in those clips, and I think it’s very, very good you put them together, giving them context, made sure people pay attention, because again, every time he says these things, his aides say oh, that was just a one-time gaffe, he didn’t really mean that. Two things that I think are very, very important that I take away from listening to those quotes. Number one, I think the President has lost maybe his energy, his drive, his ambition. He does sound resigned. He does sound defeated, because every year, he tells us it’s getting better, it’s getting better, and then it’s not. But secondly, listen to what he’s saying. When he thinks about building the economy, he’s really thinking about building the government. He’s really thinking about government spending, what can the government do to solve our problems. And I think that’s the fundamental mistake that he makes. He thinks that what makes America great comes out of Washington, D.C. The founding fathers never, never intended that. They wanted a limited federal centralized government. They didn’t intend the government to be doing these bank bailouts, doing these private company bailouts. They didn’t intend the federal government to be running our health care system. He’s got it exactly backwards. It is not our government that makes us great. It is not…and the route is, he’s trying to make us more like Europe in not only his rhetoric, but his policies. He’s grown federal spending 24-25% of GDP. When you think about it, it sounds like a president who’s trying to manage the slow decline of a great country, as opposed to a president who truly believes in his bones, and knows that our best days are ahead of us, that we are blessed to live in the greatest country in the history of the world, and this century doesn’t belong to China, it belongs to America not because of our federal government, but because of the American people and the freedoms we have that are unparalleled as long as we don’t give them away. Nobody can take them away from us. We must not give them away to an ever-increasing federal government.
HH: Now Governor Jindal, I want to turn to some political questions. You’re on the short list of everyone for vice president right now. If you are asked by Governor Romney to be his running mate, I know the left will attack you immediately on a number of things, one of them previewed by Charles Blow, who is a very, very nasty columnist for the New York Times. He’s written some really bigoted things about Mitt Romney’s religion. He put a column – Bobby Jindal, Exorcist. You’ll get the exorcist question out of the box if you’re the nominee. Are you prepared to deal with the piece that you wrote a few years ago about your experience?
BJ: Sure, well three three things. One, I take it as a badge of honor. If the New York Times is attacking me, that’s a good thing. Yeah, I only get worried, if they were to say something good, I’d be worried about it. Too many Republicans go to Washington, they try to make the Washington Post and the New York Times like them. The reality is, we’ve got to stick to our conservative principles. We don’t need to go and become a part of the cocktail party establishment or the circuit. We need to remember that when we are being true to our conservative principles, we are going to be called names. We are going to be attacked. And we can’t whine about it, we can’t complain about it, we can’t say it’s not fair. It is what it is. Suck it up and go and be true to your principles. We must not try to give in and try to become liked, admired, and try to live for those editorials. I mean, it’s a big mistake. Secondly, you know, just on the VP thing in general, of course, well, obviously, we’re referring all those comments, questions, suggestions to the Romney campaign. I will say, though, this election’s not about Joe Biden. This election is absolutely about Mitt Romney versus President Obama. The reality is that you’ve got two very different philosophies, the most liberal, the most incompetent president since Jimmy Carter. The President’s going to try to blur the distinction. He’s going to try to attack, distract us, and no disrespect to Joe Biden, but the reality is, and he’s got a whole show’s worth of just mistakes and things we could be talking about, but this, at the end of the day, is about President Obama versus Governor Romney, and President Obama’s failed approach. Look, I wrote a lot of things when I was in college, and a lot of kids were drinking. I was out there writing stuff. I’m more than happy to talk about my faith, my record, anything people want to talk about. But at the end of the day, I don’t think whoever our nominees are for vice president or our other candidates. They must not worry about what the New York Times is saying about them. They need to just resign themselves, I tell candidates this all the time. If you want to run for elected office, you want to be a conservative, you just get ready for a lot of those reporters to come after you. And you cannot worry about that. If that is your, if you’re going to go home and worry about that, and if that’s how you define success, you’re either going to compromise your principles, or you’re not going to be successful. So you cannot, as conservatives, we just cannot worry about that.
HH: Now Governor, unlike President Obama, though, your autobiographical writings are accurate. You didn’t make up people or events, or any composite characters there. And you’re standing by it. Are you prepared to defend that exorcism article, because that’s what they’ll come for on the day one that you’re nominated for vice president.
BJ: Yeah, look, like I said, all the VP stuff, I defer to the Romney folks. I’m absolutely prepared to defend my faith, who I am, and what I believe in. But this election, again, I just want to be very, very clear, this election is not about Joe Biden, it’s not about Bobby Jindal, it’s not about…this election is about President Obama, his failed, liberal policies. This election is about Mitt Romney. It’s about another trillion dollars a year in debt. It’s about repealing…under President Obama, it’s about repealing Obamacare under Governor Romney, it’s about creating new entitlement programs. So absolutely, I’m ready to, at anywhere or anytime defend who I am, what I believe, my faith, my Christian faith. But we’ve got to remember what this election is really about, because this president doesn’t want to talk about his record. He’s going to want to try and distract us, because he cannot run on what he has done.
HH: Last subject, Governor, I’m going to be talking Saturday night to a group of Catholic laymen and clergy about religious liberty in the middle of this story about Chik-Fil-A, which is an assault on a private business owner’s, you know, they’ve got 1,600 restaurants, they employ thousands of people, the guy believes in traditional marriage, and we have elected officials attempting to shut them down in places. This is, and then we’ve got the HHS regulations aimed at Catholic hospitals and Catholic schools. I’m quite shocked. You’re a devout Roman Catholic. Are you shocked at what’s going on vis-à-vis religious liberty in this country?
BJ: Absolutely. You look on the war on our religious freedoms, and look, this was, and people say oh, this was just one of those unforeseen consequences. This is exactly what happens when the government tries to run our health care. And today, the Catholic Church. Who knows who’s going to be in the crosshairs tomorrow? The reality is that we shouldn’t have the federal government requiring religiously run schools, health care institutions and other organizations violate their core, fundamental beliefs. I am Christian, I am Catholic. But even those that don’t agree with the Church’s position, at least they should understand that it is not acceptable, it is not a good thing for the federal government to be able to force religious organizations to subsidize services or actions that are contradictory to their beliefs, because they’re purchasing private insurance. And that’s what’s so dangerous about the Supreme Court ruling, that now they can tax inactivity, now they can try to compel behavior. I mean, what’s next? Are they going to tax us for not eating tofu, for not driving a Chevrolet Volt? I mean, you just wonder where the limits are to this government intrusion, and that’s why I said this election’s so important. We are a free people. And we have never, the founding fathers never intended the federal government to be this involved in running our daily lives. So absolutely, I’m concerned about this, and I think everybody, every listeners out there should be worried about this. This is an awful, awful precedent for the federal government to be able to do this.
HH: Last question, though, what about the mayor of Boston, the mayor of Chicago, calling for boycotts of private businesses because of what the religious beliefs of those entrepreneurs?
BJ: Oh, yeah, look, that’s…it’s ridiculous. It is no way to be using these public offices. The reality is I certainly don’t have any problem with a private individual making a purchasing decision based on their beliefs. There’s nothing wrong with that. You know, if somebody decides they want to eat more chicken sandwiches, good for them. If somebody decides they don’t want to eat chicken sandwiches, that’s fine, too. But for publicly elected officials, to go after a guy, and by the way, for just…and for a view that for a lot of us, by the way, believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, it’s not like he said something completely out of the mainstream. The reality is that I don’t think publicly elected officials should be out there abusing their offices to attack these privately-run businesses, especially for expressing, for an individual to express his privately-held beliefs. The other thing, you know, we talk about the expansive role of government power, you look at the debate that’s going on in New York City, the federal government, you know, the city government in that case, trying to tell us how large our drinks can be. I think that in this country, we’re moving more and more, you’re seeing more and more the growth of a nanny state. That’s just not, that is not who we are as a people, and I don’t think that is a good development culturally for our country. I think that part of what makes us such a great country is we do have the freedoms to make our own decisions, live our own lives. And you know what? There are consequences to freedom. There are responsibilities with freedom. We’ve got to take responsibility for our actions, and we’ve got to stop this belief that there’s always another government program, there’s always somebody to blame, always somebody to sue. I think that’s a very corrosive mentality. You know, there are some on the left that would like us all to think of ourselves as victims. That’s not who we are as American people.
HH: You’re talking about, obviously, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s soda policy. People are calling him Mayor Michael BloomBorg after the Star Trek villain. And have you talked to him about this?
BJ: I’m not. You know, he doesn’t consult my opinion on what they do up there in New York City, But look, I invite your listeners. We’re still, you can buy sodas any size that you want in the great state of Louisiana. You can come eat your chicken sandwiches in Louisiana. But we don’t have any of those kinds of restrictions. We’re still the land of the free in Louisiana. So if you want good eating, you should move.
HH: Governor Bobby Jindal, thank you so much for spending time with us, Governor Jindal, see you down the road.
BJ: Thanks, Hugh, great talking to you.
End of interview.