CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (AP) — The governor of Louisiana, seen as a potential presidential candidate in 2016, is calling on the Republican Party to “recalibrate the compass of conservatism” as it rebounds from painful losses in the November elections that gave President Barack Obama a second term.
Gov. Bobby Jindal will deliver the keynote address at the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting Thursday night in Charlotte, North Carolina, becoming the latest high-profile conservative from outside Washington to call for fundamental changes inside the party.
Republican officials from across the country are gathering in North Carolina this week to begin shaping a path forward following their party’s November shellacking.
Despite a weak economy and a high unemployment rate, Republicans failed to regain control of the presidency and Senate, where Democrats gained seats. Republicans held on to their majority in the House of Representatives but lost seats there, too.
The outcome displayed the large and growing advantage of Democrats among women and minorities amid the Republican Party’s sharp turn to the right in recent years.
In speech excerpts released earlier in the day, Jindal says the Republican Party doesn’t need to change its values, but, “might need to change just about everything else we do.”
“We do not need to change what we believe as conservatives — our principles are timeless,” Jindal says. “But we do need to re-orient our focus to the place where conservatism thrives: in the real world beyond the Washington Beltway.”
The Republican Party is too focused on number-crunching in Washington, he continues, and not focused enough on economic growth across the nation.
“Today’s conservatism is completely wrapped up in solving the hideous mess that is the federal budget, the burgeoning deficits, the mammoth federal debt, the shortfall in our entitlement programs,” he says. “We seem to have an obsession with government bookkeeping. This is a rigged game, and it is the wrong game for us to play.”
The comments come a day after the House passed a bill to permit the government to borrow enough money to avoid a first-time default for at least four months, defusing a looming crisis and setting up a springtime debate over taxes, spending and the deficit. The House passed the measure on a bipartisan basis as majority Republicans back away from their previous demand that any increase in the government’s borrowing cap be paired with an equivalent level of spending cuts.
“The Republican Party must become the party of growth, the party of a prosperous future that is based in our economic growth and opportunity that is based in every community in this great country and that is not based in Washington, D.C.,” Jindal says.
Associated Press writers Steve Peoples and Ken Thomas contributed to this report.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.