WASHINGTON — The speech Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal delivered Tuesday at the Brookings Institution’s Brown Center for Education was unquestionably a speech about education policy. But Jindal, who is widely seen as a potential front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, also used the speech to hint at his own vision for the future of the Republican Party.
Like two other likely top 2016 contenders, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, who each delivered a major policy address in Washington, D.C. in recent days, Jindal discussed the importance of keeping the American Dream alive for everyone. (RELATED: Ryan proposes more compassionate, articulate Republican Party)
“The American Dream is the circumstances of your birth don’t determine your outcomes as an adult,” Jindal said. “We’ve all grown up hearing that from our parents — if you work hard enough, there’s no limit to what you can accomplish. … Reality is: We believe that our children should have the opportunity to be better than their parents.”
“For that America dream to be true, however, it starts with providing every child a great education,” he added. “If we really believe that a child’s zip code, race, gender, parents [and] wealth, don’t determine how well they’re gonna do as adults … we’ve gotta make sure they get a great education, so they can compete in today’s global economy.”
The Louisiana governor also subtly distanced himself from former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s at times divisive rhetoric about “gifts” and the “47 percent.” Jindal had already outright condemned those comments shortly after Election Day as “absolutely wrong.”
“[W]e need to continue to show how our policies help every voter out there achieve the American Dream, which is to be in the middle class, which is to be able to give their children an opportunity to be able to get a great education,” Jindal said at the time.
His speech on Tuesday hit a similar note.
“To oppose school choice is to oppose equal opportunity for poor and disadvantaged children in America,” Jindal told the audience.
“I believe we’ve got an economic and a moral imperative to provide school choice and a quality education to every child, every student in America. In that case, many lives will be transformed, many futures will be realized, and the results for all our country will be real and lasting.”