The problem with this intra-party division is that one group bleeds over into the other. Crazy people are demanding other crazy people stop being so darned crazy.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on Monday called on Republicans to “stop being the stupid party” and make a concerted effort to reach a broader swath of voters with an inclusive economic message that pre-empts efforts to caricature the GOP as the party of the rich.
In his first interview since his party’s electoral thumping last week, Jindal urged Republicans to both reject anti-intellectualism and embrace a populist-tinged reform approach that he said would mitigate what exit polls show was one of President Barack Obama’s most effective lines of attack against Mitt Romney.
“We’ve got to make sure that we are not the party of big business, big banks, big Wall Street bailouts, big corporate loopholes, big anything,” Jindal told POLITICO in a 45-minute telephone interview. “We cannot be, we must not be, the party that simply protects the rich so they get to keep their toys.”
"It is no secret we had a number of Republicans damage our brand this year with offensive, bizarre comments — enough of that," Jindal said. "It’s not going to be the last time anyone says something stupid within our party, but it can’t be tolerated within our party. We’ve also had enough of this dumbed-down conservatism. We need to stop being simplistic, we need to trust the intelligence of the American people and we need to stop insulting the intelligence of the voters."
Pretty on the money. Only one problem: Bobby Jindal is the stereotypical Republican whackjob. After all, it was Jindal who bizarrely criticized volcano monitoring as a waste of money. Ironically, Jindal later blew $200 million on a scheme to protect Louisiana from the Deepwater Horizon oil slick -- after being warned by scientists that it wouldn't work. For the record, Louisiana's not a wealthy state with hundreds of millions of dollars they can flush down the toilet whenever the governor thinks he's an engineering genius.
If Bobby Jindal represents any wing of the Republican Party, it's the crazy anti-science and anti-fact wing. This is a man who participated in an exorcism in college and signed what is most likely the most backwards piece of education legislation into law. Among the "facts" kids in Louisiana are now allowed to learn are that dinosaurs and humans lived side by side, that "God used the Trail of Tears to bring many Indians to Christ," and that slavery and the Great Depression are being misrepresented as bad things.
This is the guy who's telling other Republicans to stop being so crazy.
But my point isn't to single out Jindal. The point is that Jindal represents a real problem for the GOP -- namely, that crazy people don't know that they're crazy. He's absolutely correct that the GOP needs to stop being the party of morons and lunatics, but he has absolutely no idea that he's one of those morons and lunatics. He wants to see Republicans stop promoting every brand of conservative craziness but the science-denialism that embraces creationism and believes global warming is a hoax perpetrated by socialist scientists. Republicans have to reject every form of insanity and idiocy except his particular brand, because his isn't crazy or stupid.
And that's the entire GOP's problem in a nutshell. They all need to stop being nutjobs, but they all think the other sort of nutjob is the problem. So the anti-science nuts blame the anti-abortion nuts, who in turn blame the economic flatearthers, who point their fingers at the next group of crazies down the line. You can see how well that'll pan out for them.
No, what Republicans need is not for one group of lunatics to start listening to another group of lunatics. What the Republican Party needs is new Republicans. And the old Republicans aren't exactly willing to be replaced by a saner brand. Nor are Republican voters eager to replace them.
So they're left with Bobby Jindal as a prime example of their dilemma; he both put his finger directly on his party's problem and totally misunderstood it at the same time. And so, it's unlikely that the problem will be solved anytime soon.