The full text of Governor Bobby Jindal’s speech to the RNC this week.
Thank you all for having me here tonight. And thank you Reince for the outstanding leadership you provide to the Republican Party. And I want to thank our great RNC members from Louisiana, Chairman Roger Villere, National Committeewoman Lenar Whitney, and National Committeeman Ross Little for all of their hard work.
Let me warn you in advance that I plan to talk big picture here tonight, and I plan to say some things that may challenge your assumptions.
You may not agree with all of it, but that’s ok, ours is a party that can handle real discussions.
And now, after losing two Presidential elections in a row, is certainly the time for some candid discussion.
I. America is not the federal government.
The first concept I want to talk about is simply this – America is not the federal government.
Take a minute to let that thought sink in. America is not the federal government.
In fact, America is not much about government at all. In America, government is one of those things you have to have, but you sure don’t want too much of it…kind of like your in-laws.
This is of course the polar opposite of the political debate in our country today.
At present we have one party that wants to be in charge of the federal government so they can expand it, and one party that wants to be in charge of the federal government so they can get it under control.
It’s a terrible debate, it’s a debate fought entirely on our opponents’ terms.
A debate about which party can better manage the federal government is a very small and shortsighted debate.
If our vision is not bigger than that, we do not deserve to win.
In our public discourse today, America is pretty much defined by government, by the latest moves that occur in Washington.
If you landed from outer space…and read the news…and watched TV for a week…you would have to conclude that Washington is the hub of America and that what happens in Washington is what drives and dictates the success or failure of America.
In addition to Washington, there are a bunch of outlying areas we call states, but they are pretty much just adjuncts of the federal government.
This is not the idea of America. But…this is what America will become if we do not reorient our way of thinking right away.
As government grows ever larger, it will become what America is all about…if we let it. This is our challenge; this is what we are here for.
Look at the debates that have dominated Washington in just the last few weeks:
The fiscal cliff, the debt ceiling, and Joe Biden’s gun control task force.
These are in reality sideshows in Washington that we have allowed to take center stage in our country – and as conservatives, we are falling into the sideshow trap.
All of these sideshow debates are about government.
Government and government power are the leading lady and the leading man.
Today’s conservatism is completely wrapped up in solving the hideous mess that is the federal budget, the burgeoning deficits, the mammoth federal debt, the shortfall in our entitlement programs…even as we invent new entitlement programs.
We seem to have an obsession with government bookkeeping.
This is a rigged game, and it is the wrong game for us to play.
Today it’s the fiscal cliff, tomorrow it’s the fiscal apocalypse, and then it will be the fiscal Armageddon.
But I have news for you; our government already went off the fiscal cliff.
It happened years ago, and has happened every year for many years.
Today’s conservatism is in love with zeroes.
We think if we can just unite behind a proposal to cut the deficit and debt…if we can just put together a spreadsheet and a power point and a TV ad….all will be well.
This obsession with zeroes has everyone in our party focused on what? Government.
By obsessing with zeroes on the budget spreadsheet, we send a not-so-subtle signal that the focus of our country is on the phony economy of Washington – instead of the real economy out here in Charlotte, and Shreveport, and Cheyenne.
We as Republicans have to accept that government number crunching – even conservative number crunching – is not the answer to our nation’s problems.
We also must face one more cold hard fact – Washington is so dysfunctional that any budget proposal based on fiscal sanity will be deemed ‘not-serious’ by the media, it will fail in the Senate, and it won’t even make it to the President’s desk where it would be vetoed anyway.
In fact, any serious proposal to restrain government growth is immediately deemed ‘not-serious’ in Washington. The Balanced Budget is deemed ‘not-serious’ in Washington.
Term Limits are deemed ‘not-serious’ in Washington. Capping federal growth by tying it to private sector economic growth is deemed ‘not-serious’ in Washington.
The truth is nothing serious is deemed serious in Washington.
When then-Senator Obama voted against raising the debt ceiling, he said he was doing so because the national debt was at an outrageous 8 trillion dollars…and he clarified for effect, saying that is “trillion with a T.”
Now President Obama has our national debt over 16 trillion dollars and climbing…larger than our entire economy. And he’s not worried about it in the least.
He calls it progress. You remember his campaign slogan, he says it is “Forward.”
I have news for the President – If Washington’s debt is going forward, America’s economy is going backward.
Instead of worrying about managing government, it’s time for us to address how we can lead America… to a place where she can once again become the land of opportunity, where she can once again become a place of growth and opportunity.
We should put all of our eggs in that basket.
Yes, we certainly do need folks in Washington who will devote themselves to the task of stopping this President from taking America so far off the ledge that we cannot get back.
We must do all we can to stop what is rapidly becoming the bankrupting of our federal government.
But we as conservatives must dedicate our energies and our efforts to growing America, to growing the American economy, to showing the younger generations how America can win the future.
That path does not lie in government. If more government were the answer, our economy would be booming right now. That path has been tried.
You can’t hire enough government workers or give enough taxpayer money to your friends who own green energy companies to create prosperity. The facts are in, it’s a disaster.
Balancing our government’s books is not what matters most. Government is not the end all and be all.
The health of America is not about government at all. Balancing government’s books is a nice goal, but that is not our primary objective.
Our objective is to grow the private sector. We need to focus our efforts on ideas to grow the American economy, not the government economy.
If you take nothing else away from what I say today, please understand this – We must not become the party of austerity. We must become the party of growth. Of course we know that government is out of (more…)