That problem has been growing for a while, and no one really knows how to address it. His campaign has ignored it for the most part, and his opponents aren’t attacking him over it yet. However, when the debates begin and Jindal has to distinguish himself as a competitor, the issue will come up, and it is one that will cost him in the current political climate. That issue is education.
Sure, he has some things he can claim, like a revamp of tenure in the state of Louisiana and a statewide voucher system. But his positive education efforts have been bogged down in the courts for most of their existence. Those are reforms, however, that conservatives will say they enjoy. Those are not the issues that will hurt him in the race for the White House.
Common Core will hurt Bobby Jindal.
Sure, he says he is against it, but history will prove to be his enemy on this one. He supported Common Core State Standards (CCSS), even when some conservatives questioned them. He defended them. He did so at the RedState Gathering, a gathering of conservative activists, when it was in New Orleans two years ago, much to the chagrin of the conservative activists who were there. His handpicked Superintendent of Education, John White, is a big supporter and has worked hard to get it implemented in the state. However, Jindal has spent the last year and a half opposing Common Core at a time when it was becoming politically unfavorable.
Jindal’s flip on Common Core is especially relevant given his recent statements regarding Jeb Bush. “I disagree with Jeb Bush. He said we have to be willing to lose the primary to win the general election,” said Jindal, who announced his own presidential candidacy June 24. “Let me translate: He’s saying we need to hide our conservative ideas.”
What Jindal is suggesting is that politicians need to stand up for what they believe in, and not hide behind political opportunism – which is exactly what his flip on CCSS seems like. He is telling others not to be political opportunists while simultaneously ignoring his own opportunism. It is, quite simply, dishonest to the voters to go around pretending this never happened.
Jindal is smart and a policy wonk. He made his name in politics working health policy during the Bush administration. He is the only candidate to have a detailed plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. However, he ignores all this and goes for the “red meat” speeches to build up morale. However, in 2016, voters will have been so jaded by the “Hope and Change” morale boosting speeches that they will want substance. Jindal can provide it, but he hides behind political talk and offers no real solutions (to his own detriment).
Joe Cunningham is a conservative commentator, Front Page Editor at RedState.com, and a teacher in south Louisiana. You can find him on Twitter at @joec_esquire.