Jindal: Liking people is key to expanding GOP tent
WASHINGTON (AP) — Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal says the Republican Party needs to go back to basics to attract the broad coalition of voters credited with putting President Barack Obama back in the White House.
"If we want people to like us, we have to like them first," Jindal said on Fox News Sunday.
Former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez has a more nuts-and-bolts approach to bringing in some of the largest and fastest growing groups of Americans: He's forming a super PAC to support Republican candidates who back comprehensive immigration reform, including legalizing the status of an estimated 11 million immigrants in the U.S. without authorization.
The 2012 elections drove home trends that have been embedded for years in the fine print of birth and death rates, immigration statistics and census charts. Nonwhites made up 28 percent of the electorate this year, compared with 20 percent in 2000, with Hispanics comprising much of that growth. Obama captured a commanding 80 percent of the growing ranks of nonwhite voters in 2012, just as he did in 2008. Republican Mitt Romney won 59 percent of non-Hispanic whites, and although he dominated among white men — outperforming 2008 nominee John McCain among that group — he couldn't win.
Republicans have spent much of the time since the election wrestling with ways to appeal beyond their base of white men and married women. Nonetheless, in a conference call to big donors last week, Romney credited Obama's win to "extraordinary financial gifts from government" he said the president gave groups in his base coalition: Latinos, African-Americans and young people.
Both Jindal and Gutierrez backed Romney's bid for the White House, but distanced themselves from his post-election comments.
Jindal, the incoming chair of the Republican Governors Association and a potential presidential candidate in 2016, on Sunday said slighting people simply isn't good politics.
"You don't start to like people by insulting them and saying their votes were bought. We are an aspirational party," he said.
Jindal said the Republican Party needs to convince voters it is the party of the middle class and upward mobility. Its conservative principles "are good for every single voter" and it "has to campaign for every single vote," he added.
"We also don't need to be saying stupid things," Jindal said, referring to GOP Senate candidates in Missouri and Indiana who lost their races after comments about rape that were widely criticized.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, the GOP group's incoming vice chair, said also on Fox News Sunday that governors are key to bringing a diversity of voters to the GOP. Thirty states have elected Republican governors, an indication that "the trust factor is there."
"We've got a message that works for young people, that works for people who come to our country from other countries, and, basically for anyone who wants to live their piece of the American dream," Walker said. "I think that starts with our governors as great messengers."
Gutierrez, who served under President George W. Bush, said the country cannot grow without immigrants and the Republican Party is a natural home for them.
"We are the party of prosperity, of growth, of tolerance," Gutierrez said in remarks taped Friday for CNN's "State of the Union." ''These immigrants who come across, and what they do wrong is risk their lives, and they come here and they work because they want to be part of the American dream. That is what the GOP is."
Gutierrez said he is working with Charlie Spies, who created the largest super PAC supporting Mitt Romney, Restore Our Future, on a super PAC to back candidates that support "a path, a process for legalization of workers who are here undocumented."
"First they have to be legalized," Gutierrez said. "Then you have to find a way to get into a line for the green card. ... There will be requirements. And we'll have to negotiate some sort of requirements."
Gutierrez said Republicans for Immigration Reform is about people from all over the world, including Hispanics, Asians, West Africans and Ethiopians.
"If we get this right... the 21st century is ours," Gutierrez said, referring to the GOP. "If we get it wrong, shame on us."
MAY 17 Here's a column from James Gill, this time in the Advocate. Gill, who has jumped ship from the Picayune, writes about the absurdity of dueling polls in this post. The numbers are so wildly different, it is obvious that both sides are "cooking the books," he writes. In particular, he looks at Sen. Mary Landrieu, and how her recent actions in DC have been received by those polled. Gill's acerbic, amusing prose is a welcome addition to a paper so conservative as to be occasionally lacking in personality.
MAY 17 Blogger Tom Aswell continues delivering bombshells about the state education department and Gov. Jindal's education "reform" efforts. In this post, he reports that students in the Shreveport area have been signed up for a charter school without their knowledge or consent. Most interesting to Aswell is how this Texas-based charter (with ties to GOP types) got the personal student information it has, if the students didn't give it.
MAY 17 This post by JR Ball in the Baton Rouge Business Report is an interesting tongue-in-cheek look at recent Baton Rouge economic development efforts. Among the items he examines is the idea that gaining a Costco makes BR a "world-class city." (Really? All you need is a different brand of Sam's? MK!) This effort, and other recent ones, are all built on the taxpayer's back, with tax zones, tax incentives and tax rebates, Ball writes.
MAY 17 Blogger CB Forgotston is critical of the legislature's reliance on a revenue-estimating committee's decision to include projected tax amnesty income in this year's forecast. That's a problem, CB posts, because the deadline for these people to pay their taxes is June 30, 2014. So when do you think these people who haven't paid taxes in years are going to pay their taxes? Surely not before June 30, and that means the money won't be there for this year's budget, he argues.
MAY 17 Here's an interesting blog out of California by a Hollywood writer, attorney and academic named Brian Alan Lane. He blogs about higher ed, and was a whistle-blower in a scandal over false credentials. In this post, he takes aim at LSU's new top dog, King Alexander. It's convoluted and a little confusing, but it sure makes Alexander a lot more interesting than he was yesterday.
MAY 17 Blogger Robert Mann writes about the LSU Board's refusal to allow Dr. Fred Cerise to testify before the legislature about Gov. Jindal's plan to close down all the state's charity hospitals and dump the poor on the private system. It's hard to imagine anyone more qualified than Cerise to testify about that, so why would anyone try to prevent him doing so? Mann thinks it is because the powers that be aren't interested in hearing any truth about the plan.
MAY 17 This post on the Louisiana Sinkhole Bugle, a blog that notes developments in the Bayou Corne and Jefferson Island salt domes, talks about a proposed expansion of the salt dome storage under Lake Peigneur in Iberia Parish. Residents are working against it for several reasons, including two biggies: the sinkhole disaster in Bayou Corne and the continuing, unexplained bubbling on the surface of the Lake.
MAY 17 NOLA police arrested more people Thursday accused of either being involved in the Mother's Day shooting or hiding the suspect afterward, this Gambit story reports. The NOLA police chief said he suspects the whole thing was gang-related and throws out a challenge to the gangs: he's got informants now, he says, and he knows a lot more than the gangs want him to know. The people who live in the neighborhoods terrorized by gangs are ready to talk, he says.
Is it a crime for citizens to photograph, video, or take notes of a police officer in the line of duty, or a right protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution? Locally, such activity, as witnessed recently, will at the very least result in a night spent behind bars.
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
Episcopal School of Acadiana’s Dr. Joshua Caffery, chair of the school’s English Department, is headed to Washington, D.C., and the Library of Congress as the latest winner of the Alan Lomax Fellowship in Folklife Studies.