The Corner

Politics & Policy

Thirty-Three Cheers for Jindal, Contra Trump

Bobby Jindal made a superb, sharply pointed speech today at the National Press Club, embracing Donald Trump’s assault on “political correctness” in order to use politically incorrect, but utterly accurate, words to describe Trump himself.

Calling for a “politically incorrect conservative revolution,” Jindal proclaimed that he “like[s] the idea of Donald Trump” — the outsider persona, the willingness to say things other people fear saying, the insistence that “the professional political class in Washington, including the Republicans, is incompetent and full of nonsense.”

Then Jindal turned the tables:

“But, here’s the problem: Donald Trump is also full of nonsense.”

Jindal proceeded to call Trump “absurd,” “a non-serious carnival act,” “shallow,” “full of bluster but has no substance,” “lack[ing] the intellectual curiosity even to learn,” a “narcissist and an egomaniac,” and “insecure and weak, and afraid of being exposed,” among other zingers.

Then there was this:

You may have recently seen that after Trump said the Bible is his favorite book, he couldn’t name a single Bible verse or passage that meant something to him. And we all know why, because it’s all just a show, and he hasn’t ever read the Bible. But you know why he hasn’t read the Bible? Because he’s not in it.

Boom.

Jindal then said that Trump himself would be not the solution for the country’s ills bur rather the very cause for failing to “make America great again” (the slogan Trump stole from Ronald Reagan) — because Trump, if somehow elected, will not serve America, but only serve himself. Even that is unlikely, though, because, Jindal said, “if we nominate him, we will self-destruct in a massive way in a general election. He may be Hillary Clinton’s only hope.”

The chance to turn America around, Jindal said, is great — but . . .

This is our moment. This is our time. We can win right now, or we can be the biggest fools of all time and put our faith not in our principles, but in one egomaniacal madman who has no principles.

Jindal’s diagnosis is correct. We’re Americans. We’re better than people who are so weak that we need an almighty “strong man” to save us. (Set aside, for now, the reality that Trump isn’t actually all that strong.) We’re better than people who are willing to set aside our very Constitution for a second consecutive cult of personality.

We do indeed need a conservative with populist sensibilities. What we don’t need is Trump: an all-over-the-political-map non-conservative play-acting the role of populist, merely for his own aggrandizement.

There are several good, strong, reformist, anti-”establishment” Republicans running for president this year. Jindal is right: Donald Trump is not only not one of them; he is poison to the cause.

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