Our Views: Jindal: ‘Modernize, not moderate’

Posted: November 20, 2012

In the wake of a soul-sapping defeat, American conservatives may feel obliged to don a hairshirt and, as New York Times columnist Ross Douthat says, “wander east of Eden.” They may also feel tempted to accommodate, moderate, or bid adieu to core principles.

Lousiana Gov. (and rising star) Bobby Jindal will have none of such defeatism. This nation, he says, “already has one liberal political party; there is no need for another one.”

Mr. Jindal is right, of course. And he’s spot-on, too, when he states, “Despite losing an election, conservative ideals still hold true. Government spending still does not grow our economy. American weakness on the world stage does not lead to peace. Higher taxes still do not create prosperity for all. And more government still does not grow jobs.”

These notions notwithstanding, conservatives still have a tough slog ahead — especially if they don’t pay heed to the lessons of 2012. Among them, Mr. Jindal says:

 Remember that America is an “aspirational” country — and that conservatism is aspirational, forward-looking.

 Do not divide the electorate into special-interest groups, as Democrats do. Compete for every vote.

 Quit the “big” stiff. Conservatives are not the protectors of big business, big banks, big bailouts, big anything — but the champions of limited constitutional government.

 In this same vein, focus on people and creating prosperity for all, rather than competing with Democrats for the job of “government manager.”