Governor Bobby Jindal was the star of a Christian Science Monitor breakfast on September 16. C-SPAN has the full video
During the breakfast he got an incredibly trolly question on evolution from a reporter hostile to his possible Presidential run. I love how he handled it, and more conservatives should emulate his handling of a hostile reporter.
Jindal could have handled this question in any number of ways. Many less skilled politicians would have taken the bait, and let the reporter change the subject from policy to religion. But Jindal stayed on topic and on message:
Here’s the transcript of my favorite part, via C-SPAN, hastily corrected by me in spots where I saw mistakes:
Jindal: AS A FATHER I WANT MY KIDS TO BE TAUGHT ABOUT EVOLUTION IN THEIR SCHOOLS. BUT SECONDLY I THINK LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS SHOULD MAKE THE DECISION.
Reporter: WHAT YOU THINK
Jindal: I TOLD YOU WHAT I THINK. I THINK THAT LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS, NOT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SHOULD MAKE THE DECISION OF HOW THEY TEACH SCIENCE, BIOLOGY, OTHER TOPICS. I WANT MY KIDS TO BE TAUGHT ABOUT EVOLUTION AND OTHER THEORIES.
This video should be taught to conservative Republicans on how to deal with hostile, trollish questioning. The reporter is trying to get Jindal to delve into his personal views, informed by his Christian faith. Everyone in the room knows this. But Jindal sticks to policy and absolutely refuses to give any bulletin board material to the left.
I’m reminded of when Rick Perry was questioned by the child of a left-wing activist about teaching evolution in schools, and the Governor told the child “I think you’re smart enough to figure it out for yourself,” without putting too much weight on his own personal views.
Fairly or not, conservatives will have their statements scrutinized more carefully, and anything they say will be taken out of context and blown up, if it will benefit the left or the GOP establishment. Just ask Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock.
Conservatives must learn from Jindal. Never let hostile questioners dictate the terms of the conversation. Stick to your message. You’re running for office. Give your policy views, even as you stand up for the right thing, as Jindal does here.