Government & Politics

Bobby Jindal Sets Up 2016 Presidential Bid

Sep. 19, 2014

Republican Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal released a comprehensive energy plan this week that he believes will put America on the road to energy independence while reinvigorating the economy and reducing government interference. It also serves to set him apart from other prospective 2016 GOP presidential candidates.

This 48-page policy vision covers six major areas of the energy debate, and also spends a fair amount of ink criticizing the Obama administration and its leftist cadres who would love nothing better than to create scarce resources and higher prices.

The plan, released by Jindal’s nonprofit policy group “America Next” and co-written by Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX), calls for promoting responsible development of domestic energy resources and building an infrastructure to transport it. This means supporting oil and natural gas exploration and refining, going forward with the Keystone XL pipeline, and embracing clean coal and nuclear power as the viable energy sources that they can be.

Jindal’s plan also examines the negative impact government regulation is having on the energy industry, and proposes eliminating the most burdensome and redundant restrictions that keep the energy industry from growing. He wades into the debate over renewable energy, recognizing that there is great potential for jobs and fresh energy sources. He believes the government should encourage technological innovation, but he points out that the crony capitalism of the Obama administration has created a rigged game where ineffective companies like Solyndra get pumped up with taxpayer dollars and then fail miserably.

The proposal emphasizes how a clear energy strategy can guide America to a stable future. More jobs and cheaper energy in the long term will be an obvious boost to the economy. Energy independence will make the nation safer and less reliant on foreign sources, many of which are in the hands of America’s enemies.

Jindal faults the Obama administration and the environmental lobby for deliberately creating a situation where energy is more expensive and consumers pay more for it. Environmentalists always turn against forms of energy as soon as they become widespread and inexpensive. Leftists love it when natural gas was expensive, he said, but “as soon as it became affordable, all of the sudden they decided they didn’t like it so much.”

This is because, as Jindal explains, scarcer, more expensive energy gives the government a foothold on greater control of the economy. Energy scarcity is a myth; there is more than enough natural gas, oil and coal under our feet in this country alone to power this nation at current levels of consumption for decades, if not centuries. But Obama would have us believe that we are approaching crisis levels, thereby creating an excuse for greater regulation, which then artificially raises prices. In effect, he’s arbitrarily deciding which companies win and lose in the marketplace.

Jindal’s energy policy is not without its controversies. Calling for the phasing out of ethanol and lifting the ban on oil exports, though reasonable, will create arguments within GOP circles. But he is stirring the debate, much like he did with the release of his health care proposal in April. In the coming months he will be releasing similar policy plans on education, defense and jobs.

These policy prescriptions together make for an interesting presidential platform. Jindal says he hasn’t decided whether he will run, but none of the likely candidates have made formal announcements yet. That won’t happen until after the dust from the midterms settles. Jindal does have a name recognition problem; few people in the general electorate know much about him.

On the plus side, Jindal has been vocal about the problems of the Obama administration. More importantly, at each step, he has offered alternatives to the statist policies wrecking our country. Anyone who can do that deserves to be heard.

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