For all the talk of problems with the Republican Party and the conservative movement, the 2016 presidential primary is likely to offer a deep field of strong conservative candidates.
Any candidate that emerges from the field will be broadly conservative, so the primary is less likely to be a purity fight. Instead, it will likely be about which candidate can offer the most broadly appealing conservative message that could triumph in a national election.
During his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal offered a subtle contrast to House Budget Committee Chair Rep. Paul Ryan’s emphasis on fiscal issues.
Jindal argued against focusing the GOP message around, “Government-number crunching, even conservative number-crunching.” He said that the focus on “zeros” keeps the conversation directed on the importance of government, rather than framing the argument about real world solutions that the party could offer.
When Jon Ward wrote about similar comments Jindal made in January, Jindal’s office pushed back against the interpretation that he was in any way rebuking Ryan. “His point is that budget balancing is a tool, not an agenda or a vision for a party. We have to have an agenda that is bigger than the numbers in the federal budget,” Jindal’s communications director emailed Ward.
Still, this could be seen as a preview of how Jindal may set himself apart from Ryan in a campaign — argue that as a governor, he knows how to offer solutions that go beyond Washington budget documents. It should be fascinating to see how this plays out.