As a possible prelude to a presidential run, the Louisiana governor turns the tables on Democrats. By referring to the Obama administration as “science deniers” Gov Bobby Jindal has sought to turn the language, and the relative positions of the two parties, around.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
It is not yet clear whether or not Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana is running for president in 2016, but his recent comments in Washington should probably be seen in that context. Mr. Jindal was in Washington this week to, among other things, unveil his national energy plan. Crafting a national energy policy is not usually part of the work of the governor of Louisiana, so it is likely that a big part of Mr. Jindal’s trip was to explore further a possible presidential bid.
Gov. Jindal’s new energy policy, a report called “America’s Next Energy Plan-Organizing for Abundance” produced by America Next, a conservative non-profit policy group that promotes Mr. Jindal’s views, describes the administration’s current energy policy as “based on radical leftist ideology which is causing America to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory” and goes on to assert “energy scarcity and skyrocketing energy prices result from failed public policy, not our unparalleled energy abundance.”
These are reasonably standard conservative views on the Obama administration’s energy policy; and Republicans criticizing Democrats for not drilling for enough oil is not news, but the Governor’s spoken remarks were more notable. “The reality is right now we’ve got an administration in the Obama administration that are science deniers when it comes to harnessing America’s energy resources and potential to create good-paying jobs for our economy and for our future.” Mr. Jindal’s use of the phrase “science deniers” to describe administration policy is intriguing especially in the context of the current political environment. We have grown accustomed to Democrats and progressives accusing Republicans and conservatives of being anti-science, but the reverse is much more rare. It is all the more rare from a politician whose policies as governor reflect an ambiguity around such scientific concepts as evolution. […]
By referring to the Obama administration as “science deniers” Mr. Jindal has sought to turn the language, and the relative positions of the two parties, around. On the surface it seems strange as Gov. Jindal’s differences with the White House regarding energy are clearly ones of policy not of science, or even of interpretations of scientific data. Nonetheless, the effort is significant. If other Republicans begin to use this language too, it will blur the message and policy discussion, making it harder for the Democrats to present themselves as the party of science. This, in turn, will help the Republicans shake off the image as the anti-science party. Additionally, if the Republicans are able to argue that the president’s energy policy is the result of shoddy science, rather than different policy views, it will be much easier to win popular support for Republican energy policies.