BAYHAM: And The Romney Aides Snipe Back

Romney advisers recently began leaking their displeasure concerning criticism that has been heaped upon the 2012 GOP presidential nominee’s political carcass, with one unidentified aide specifically citing Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal and former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich.

The anonymous campaign aide mocked Jindal and Gingrich as “real profiles in courage” for sniping at Romney after the election. Concerning the Indian-American governor, the aide emphasized his eagerness to be picked as Romney’s running mate, even after a tape of the presidential candidate’s infamous 47% comment was made public, a political faux pas Jindal pounced on after Romney lost.

Gingrich’s lack of praise for Romney should come as no surprise. The ex-Massachusetts governor and the third-party Super PAC that promoted Romney’s candidacy carpet-bombed Gingrich in direct mail pieces and in television advertisements that tied the former speaker to “influence peddling” for the mortgage entity Freddie Mac and accused him of leaving Congress in disgrace.

With the notable exception of John McCain, few of Romney’s intraparty rivals from his 2008 and 2012 GOP presidential bids professed much affection for him though all with one exception (Jon Huntsman) dutifully toed the party line in the general election, though without enthusiasm.

If Gingrich’s “airing of grievances” is rooted in his rocky past with Romney, Jindal’s is centered on the future…and his own.

The new Republican Governors’ Association head has one eye on the White House and another on what happened in the caucuses and the primaries, where Republicans dragged their feet in embracing the conservative-talking, yet moderate-governing presidential candidate.

Jindal is looking to carve his niche in the national GOP electorate by planting his flag as the anti-Romney for 2016. Jindal’s initial criticism and its media recycling courtesy of the anonymous aide to the 2012 GOP nominee have helped the Louisiana governor towards that objective.

Though Jindal was an active surrogate for Romney in the general election, the Louisiana governor had initially backed Texas governor Rick Perry in the primaries and after the Perry campaign’s collapse in January, Jindal didn’t endorse the ex-Massachusetts governor until April.

While a charge of opportunism would be fair, Jindal can’t be accused of hypocrisy. And Jindal’s words were far softer than what Romney had to say about the character of his fellow Republicans in the primaries and caucuses.

Besides, it’s not like Romney will be doing any favors for Jindal, as he is certain to line up behind whichever Floridian (Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush) ultimately throws his hat in the ring for 2016.

If Jindal can’t have Romney, then he’ll gladly settle for inheriting his enemies, especially since a Lyndon LaRouche endorsement might be more valuable than Romney’s come 2016.

And even if Jindal has ulterior motives for his harsh analysis of the GOP nominee’s campaign, how is it out of line?

Should we attribute Romney’s defeat to “gifts” and call it a presidential cycle until another “country club” Republican declares himself the next “too moderate to fail” establishment candidate that we should quietly shuffle behind?

Now is the time to have this conversation, not in 2016 when Super PAC ads will drown out discussion.

Mitt Romney talked about holding President Obama accountable for the current state of America, yet why shouldn’t Republicans hold accountable Romney, his campaign operation and the national GOP for blowing the election?

Romney talked about how President Obama wasted our tax dollars yet Republicans are not to inquire how our campaign donations were squandered?

Jindal’s not the only “veep-wannabe” that “Romney sources” have shivved in the press.

Days before the presidential election, “campaign insiders” put out word that New Jersey governor Chris Christie may have made himself conveniently available for President Barack Obama’s tour of his Hurricane Sandy-ravaged state in revenge for being passed over for the second spot on the GOP ticket.

You would think Romney aides would have had more productive things to do than discreetly dump on their candidate’s top supporter in the primaries, but this seems to be their main area of expertise. Just ask Sarah Palin.

That a Romney staffer chose to take public issue with Jindal’s critiques shows exactly how little his team understood politics, as the Louisiana governor’s gripes were a one day story that the mystery campaign aide kept alive for another week in the press.

If Jindal ever finds out which aide took issue with him, the governor might send him a fruit basket and a thank you note.

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