Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., has a message for his fellow Republicans in Washington: it's time to let governors run the show.
"I think the American people rightfully are frustrated with everybody in Washington, saying look at the dysfunction," Jindal said in an interview with CBS News' Major Garrett on Thursday. "As Republican governors, we've outsourced our brand to D.C. for too long. We're taking it back."
Jindal, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, was in Washington to promote the launch of the RGA's American Comeback project promoting the work of some of the GOP's rising stars in statehouses around the country.
A video released for the project features Govs. Jindal; Nikki Haley, R-S.C.; John Kasich, R-Ohio; Susana Martinez, R-N.M.; and Scott Walker, R-Wis., speaking to the camera. "I believe the vast majority of people today who are dependent on government, don't want to be," Walker says. Kasich adds, "My philosophy is sort of this: It's a sin not to help people who need help, but it's equally a sin to continue to help somebody who needs to learn how to help themselves."
The message of the video: conservative policies are being implemented in the states, not in Washington. That's the place, Jindal told CBS News, "you can see conservative principles actually being applied...iIt's not just being talked about, it's not just a theoretical debate."
Jindal has come under fire for criticizing his party before. During his keynote address at the Republican National Committee's winter meeting this year, he famously said, "We've got to stop being the stupid party. It's time for a new Republican Party that talks like adults."
He calls for a set of radical structural changes to Congress, including the addition of a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution, a two-thirds majority to raise taxes, term limits, and part-time lawmakers. When Garrett pointed out that House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is not even talking about these things, Jindal said, "That's exactly why we need structural reform."
Jindal didn't directly challenge the Republican strategy of tying the health care law to a short-term spending bill and the debt ceiling increase, but he is certainly not the first governor to distance himself from inside-the-Beltway lawmakers. "My approach would be as the executive, is to call in the leaders of the Congress, the legislature, whatever you're dealing with, and say that 'we are not leaving this room until we fix this problem,' because I'm the boss, I'm in charge," said Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., during a roundtable discussion at the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation earlier this week. Walker, the Republican governor of Wisconsin who was the subject of a recall election this year, said he would encourage Washington to follow the state's model of converting a budget deficit into a surplus. Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas, said before the shutdown that it would be "nonsensical" for Republicans to stop the government in its tracks in order to fight Obamacare.
Republican governors currently hold 30 of the 50 gubernatorial seats in the United States, and will be looking to expand their reach in the next year. This fall, there are elections in New Jersey and Virginia. Christie will likely be reelected in New Jersey, while the Virginia race is much closer. The RGA has already spent $7 million backing Republican Ken Cuccinelli against Democrat Terry McAuliffe, but officials realize the race will largely depend on turnout.
"[Cuccinelli] is the one that comes across as more serious, he's got more detailed ideas about growing the economy, creating jobs. [McAuliffe], I think, has discredited, disqualified himself," Jindal said.
One race where Jindal projected plenty of confidence is in the 2014 Texas gubernatorial election, where Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis is expected to enter the race Thursday afternoon. Davis, who won national attention in June for filibustering a bill to restrict abortions in the Texas statehouse, will likely face state attorney general Greg Abbott.
"I think she'll get a lot of national headlines and a lot of national money, a lot of special interest groups from ...outside of Texas," ," Jindal told Garrett. "I think inside Texas, Greg's going to do just fine."
The RGA, which has already raised $23.6 million for the two-year election cycle beginning on January 1, 2013, is anticipating they will spend heavily to defend seats in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and Florida. They are also eyeing the governor's mansion in Arkansas, Illinois, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Colorado, where they hope to pick up seats that are currently held by Democrats.