Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is seen as one of the thought leaders for the Republican Party – a guy willing to call out peers for making the GOP the "party of stupid" – and also a champion for conservative causes, such as school choice and lower taxes. He also brings intellectual arguments to conservative gatherings and Washington think-tank forums.
But in an op-ed in Politico Tuesday, Jindal's take on "what the Left wants" has left Democrats laughing – and may undermine Republican efforts to build support among moderate voters, experts say.
"Because the left wants: the government to explode; to pay everyone; to hire everyone; they believe that money grows on trees; the earth is flat; the industrial age, factory-style government is a cool new thing; debts don't have to be repaid; people of faith are ignorant and uneducated; unborn babies don't matter; pornography is fine; traditional marriage is discriminatory; 32 oz. sodas are evil; red meat should be rationed; rich people are evil unless they are from Hollywood or are liberal Democrats; the Israelis are unreasonable; trans-fat must be stopped; kids trapped in failing schools should be patient; wild weather is a new thing; moral standards are passé; government run health care is high quality; the IRS should violate our constitutional rights; reporters should be spied on; Benghazi was handled well; the Second Amendment is outdated; and the First one has some problems too."
Republican strategists say there's no doubt that Jindal's comments echo how many Republicans view Democrats, but repeating them may not help the GOP politically.
"Politicians should avoid talking in absolutes," says Eric Fehrnstrom, a top adviser for the Romney presidential campaign. "Both parties are guilty of it, [but] it just makes it harder for people to work together to get things done."
Ron Bonjean, another Republican consultant, says Jindal and other Republicans need to do more than trash Democrats to win future elections.
"While there is plenty of ammunition to go after Democrats these days, it is important Republicans as a party illustrate how they would lead the country differently," he says. "We lost a presidential election because we didn't succeed in telling our side of the story."
A top Republican fundraiser adds, "One way to stop being perceived as the stupid party is if one of its leading spokesman would stop insulting all Republicans as stupid."
Democrats, meanwhile, reveled in Jindal's words.
Ezra Klein, a liberal columnist for The Washington Post, called Jindal's description "a ridiculous caricature of liberalism" and said Jindal's theory that voters would turn to support Republicans because of the failings of liberal principles is "utter nonsense."
"That's how the GOP becomes the stupid party: Republican Party elites like Jindal convince Republican Party activists of things that aren't true," Klein wrote in a Wonkblog post. "And that's how the GOP becomes the losing party: The activists push the Republican Party to choose candidate decisions and campaign strategies based on those untruths, and they collapse in the light of day."
A former Democratic Senate aide now working as a political consultant adds that by playing to the conservative's worst nightmare of what Democrats represent, Jindal undercuts his own credibility.