Barbs Could Get Ugly In Crowded 2016 Republican Field

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal isn’t ready to declare he is running for president, but that hasn’t stopped him from declaring one of his likely rivals unfit for the job — launching the sort of stinging attack that’s usually reserved for the latter days of the campaign.

Expect it to be the norm as analysts say the 20 or so Republicans planning presidential bids are going to resort to those kinds of attacks as they try to carve out space within the crowded field, and try to win attention from primary voters by trying to knock front-running candidates off the top of the hill.

Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment — “thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican” — will be put to the test as the clawing commences and the field continues to grow.

Part of the incentive is that sharp barbs win free media coverage, which is an easy way for candidates without much money to try to compete for attention.

This go-round the competition could get uglier early than usual thanks to the size of the field and the announcements from Fox News and CNN that the first two GOP sanctioned debates will be cut off at the top ten candidates based on an average of polls.

On Wednesday, Mr. Jindal blasted Mr. Paul for accusing “hawks” within the GOP for pushing an adventurous foreign policies that helped the Islamic State, also known by the acronym ISIS, expand its terrorist reach.

“This is a perfect example of why Senator Paul is unsuited to be commander in chief,” Mr. Jindal said. “We have men and women in the military who are in the field trying to fight ISIS right now, and Senator Paul is taking the weakest, most liberal Democrat position.”

Analysts said Mr. Jindal was trying to gain attention by being outspoken.

“Jindal needs to win traction in the polls and this is a beyond safe way to do it,” said Ford O’Connell, a GOP strategist. “He is a wonk that no one seems to want to listen to and this is the best way for him to grab attention — particularly on an issue that Republican primary voters care strongly about.”

Read more from Seth McLaughlin at The Washington Times

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Analysis & Political Strategy