Torn About Bobby Jindal

I have a slightly different take on Bobby Jindal from some of my co-bloggers here at the Mutiny: I know, if I lived in Louisiana, that I wouldn’t vote for him. I just disagree with him too strongly on the social issues — intelligent design and abortion rights, for starters — to let my sense of ethnic loyalty get the better of me.

But I can’t help but be somewhat torn when I see photos like this:


The rest of the very interesting New York Times profile explains what this represents: Jindal is slowly winning over the rural white voters in northern Louisiana, staunch Republicans (can anyone say David Duke?) who couldn’t bring themselves to vote for him when he ran for governor four years ago. He’s also learning how to avoid giving the impression that he is an overachieving policy wonk (which he undoubtedly is), so as to better connect with ordinary Louisianans.

For me, Jindal’s growing success at this (again, encapsulated in the photo above) taps into an anxiety I myself have had as a child of immigrants — who became the first (and only) person in my extended family to earn a Ph.D. Even if your tastes and cultural values are profoundly “Americanized,” as mine are, there remains a sense that you don’t quite “fit,” which tends to be exacerbated (for me, especially) every time some a-hole on South Street (in Philly) mutters something about “there goes Bin Laden” when I walk down the street. Part of the anxiety comes from the ignorance and xenophobia of some Americans, but a good part of it comes from myself, an internalized sense of remaining not-quite-pukka despite everything.

If Jindal wins, his victory will suggest to me he’s somehow overcome both sides of the immigrant’s anxiety syndrome: the part that comes from others’ mistrust, and also the part that comes from himself — his own sense of being something different, something other than a “normal” American, or in this case, a representative Louisianan. If he wins, I won’t cheer, but I will, I expect, quietly feel a certain sense of pride at his accomplishment despite my strong disagreement with his kind of politics. Not just because he’s a fellow desi — it’s actually more complex than that. Rather, the pride will be because he’s a fellow desi who’s evidently achieved, after a struggle, something I’ve long aspired to do: shake that dude’s hand.

279 thoughts on “Torn About Bobby Jindal

  1. rob,

    I was referring to this bill bill. I do realize it didn’t become law, but if it had there is a possibility that the necessary federal intervention would have come too late to prevent people from going out of state to get their abortions.

    anyhow, I was not disturbed by the policy implications of his stance on abortion (although it is undeniable that it is harder to be an abortion provider in some states as opposed to others, due to economic and local ordinance factors) but how it reflected on his decision-making ability.

    I can’t seem to find any solid election numbers either.

  2. duke was both a democrat and republican.

    he began as a democrat and then repeatedly switched during his political forays (it seems neither party was particularly fond of him–when he ran for governor in 91 as a repub he got an official reproval [letter expressing the GOP's disdain for Duke's activities] from the party) and he was actually a campaign manager for one of jindal’s challengers in the house seat race

    by the way, the claim that jindal is running to the right of him is absurd and should immediately disqualify anybody who claims that as a rational person (or at least as an honest or even somewhat unbiased individual)

    as of right now with 1,515 precincts reporting (1,515 of 3,967 precincts) Jindal has 52% of the vote Governor 2,165 0% B. Alexandrenko, O - 90,999 19% Walter J. Boasso, D - 67,751 14% Foster Campbell, D - 1,074 0% Sheldon Forest, N - 1,502 0% Anthony “Tony G” Gentile, O - 60,726 13% John Georges, N - 1,031 0% T. Lee Horne, III, L - 247,551 52% “Bobby” Jindal, R - 888 0% M. V. “Vinny” Mendoza, D - 475 0% Arthur D. “Jim” Nichols, N - 840 0% Hardy Parkerson, D - 2,657 1% Mary Volentine Smith, D

  3. Didn’t have time to read all comments. But, Clueless @ 172: my first thought exactly. The hypocrisy here is overwhelming.

  4. 3,096 of 3,967 precincts reporting – Jindal 53%

    3,827 0% B. Alexandrenko, O - 175,292 18% Walter J. Boasso, D - 123,197 13% Foster Campbell, D - 1,889 0% Sheldon Forest, N - 2,692 0% Anthony “Tony G” Gentile, O - 137,681 14% John Georges, N - 2,025 0% T. Lee Horne, III, L - 518,317 53% “Bobby” Jindal, R - 1,657 0% M. V. “Vinny” Mendoza, D - 827 0% Arthur D. “Jim” Nichols, N - 1,394 0% Hardy Parkerson, D - 4,741 0% Mary Volentine Smith, D -

  5. Redstate is calling it for Jindal. Let’s all be good sports and congratulate the man for doing it big. (now if this were a really populous state like FL, CA or TX–and he received the kind of face-time and publicity commensurate with such a governorship, i’d be popping one of only two varieties of Champagne available at the local Krogers)

  6. Actually, wait a minute — there’s something fishy about the KTBS numbers — if you actually add them up and do a percentage, it puts Bobby Jindal at 53% as of 88% of precincts reporting. Maybe the KTBS percentage is an absolute percentage?

    That doesn’t really make sense, so I’m guessing they might be doing something wrong in terms of how they’re adding things up?

  7. NOLA has Jindal at 53% at 85% when 2KTBS had him at 47% with 84% reporting. Something is not right.

  8. The numbers at are not correct. Take any of the top 3 non-Jindal candidate and from that calculate what 47% would be.

    For example:

    Boasso at 203135 is 18%. So 1% == 11285.28 47% will then be 530408 But Jindal has 612,144 votes.

    It seems to me they put 1% for everyone with low votes (except the top 4) and then summed them and subtracted the result from 100 to get 47%.

    For more accurate results see

  9. @chitta

    that makes sense..thanks for the explanation–you’d think the coder would have realized that particularly in a runoff election

  10. Its pretty official—Jindal sounds like he’s won. Boasso and Georges have conceded.

    The folks at redstate are already talking about a Jindal presidential run

  11. If NOLA is calling it, so can we. 3% is a pretty good margin if you’re at 90% of precincts reporting.

    Love him or hate him, Bobby Jindal made history tonight.

  12. Congrats to Bobby Jindal. I feel happy for the brotha. Apparently he got third of the votes in heavily black New orleans.

  13. Jindal got almost 20k votes in the orleans parish, only about 3k less than the lead vote getter there—boasso.

    He must have done unusually well with black voters.

  14. But that’s just me. And I didn’t slam him for what he names his kids, so maybe I’m biased, or something.

    I think when I brought up his kids’ names, my comment got misunderstood. My point was, for him and his wife, naming their kids stuff like Slade Ryan (apparently Ryan’s the middle name) is definitely a major cultural departure…they don’t come from a line of people named “Georges, Vargheses/Varugheses, Jacobs, Cherians, Thomases, etc.” There’s nothing wrong with naming his kids whatever he wants…but naming his kids what he did does tell you something about where he stands in relation to the culture his parents come from. That is all it tells you, and there is nothing inherently wrong with that. And I do think part of it might be political…having kids names Prakash and Jyoti wouldn’t go over too well with a lot of Louisianans. His religious conversion seems very genuine and I applaud him for that 100%.

  15. Bobby Jindal is officially the new governor of Louisiana, with Mitch Landrieu as his lieutenant (thank god for Mitch).

    Jindal got a lot of votes in Orleans parish because the Black Democrats of New Orleans aligned with him than with the other three losers. It’s not like they were going to get anywhere with any of the gubernatorial candidates, including Jindal, but they have to side with someone in every election.

    As for “Slade Ryan,” everyone here knows how desparately Bobby Jindal wants to be white. So there you have it.

  16. I personally dont give a flying f*** about the fact that Jindal is desi and of Indian origin. However, I dont have a problem with the fact that some mutineers will be proud of Jindal’s achievement. I say more power to them.

    Its a little depressing though that another religious zealot will have control over the levers of power in a US state. On a more positive note, he will leave the US Congress and thus lose his ability to help pass laws which can affect people like me who dont live in his La. Hopefully he will also be out of sight out of mind of the national media and we will be spared his purple finger stunts and other similar future inanities.

  17. yah..he so wants to be white that he named his other kid ‘shaan’ and came in whiteface to his victory party

    get real..we all know he named his kid ‘slade’ cause ‘slade jindal’ is badass and gonna get him tons of ‘tang

    are you going to even more bonkers when he lets his children assimilate by watching yo gabba gabba or dora instead of mahabharata too?

    just leave the macaca alone

  18. get real..we all know he named his kid ‘slade’ cause ‘slade jindal’ is badass and gonna get him tons of ‘tang

    This might actually be a good point…

  19. he will leave the US Congress and thus lose his ability to help pass laws which can affect people like me who dont live in his La

    Yeah, that would be me, thanks. Let’s see what happens – there is hope.

    “Bowing to pressure, Sen. David Vitter, R-La., has backed off an attempt to steer $100,000 in taxpayer money to a Louisiana Christian group that supports teaching religious and alternative theories of creation alongside evolution in science classrooms. Vitter has taken heat from educational, religious and civil rights groups for earmarking money in the fiscal 2008 spending bill for the U.S. Departments of Labor, Health, Human Services and Education for the Louisiana Family Forum, ‘to develop a plan to promote better science education.’”

    Jindal may bow to similar pressure, but all I see are loads of compromises forwarding no one’s agenda but his own. It’s politics as usual, no better, no worse, just overt stagnation.

    I went back and perused the earlier comments. Jindal pandered to EVERYONE in this state, including white northern Louisianans and our large African-American population. Looking like a black businessman and sounding like a white redneck helps a lot, as is apparent.

  20. by the way, is there any doubt that LA might be the most messed up state politically. forget about everyone’s views on jindal—they have the Katrina incompetents, Bill Jefferson (whose current defense in his ongoing case is that he used his influence and accepted money as a ‘private citizen’ even though he used the power of his office to do so), David Vitter (who’s multiple trips to prostitute alley are apparently between him and GOD), Ray Nagin (who has an impressive list of foibles) and David Duke

    If they shipped a Craig/McGreevey over it would be the perfect storm of corruption/incompetence/inexplicable sexual episodes

  21. As for “Slade Ryan,” everyone here knows how desparately Bobby Jindal wants to be white. So there you have it.

    Awww, Maitri, noooooo.

    I know you dislike him intensely, for very strong reasons and I respect your opinion even more because:

    a) you are IN Louisiana and you’re devoted to it

    b) well, you’re Maitri :)

    …but that bit makes me cringe. I am so sick of the “Jindal wants to be white”-shit for a plethora of reasons. If he was such a self-loathing tosser, why the hell did he marry a brown girl? All I’m saying is, if Jindal is “white-washed”, then so are a LOT of South Asians. I want to break in to hives at the suggestion that desis all have to be a certain way, and that if they aren’t Democrats who retain the religion of their parents, if they name their kids something besides “Priya” or “Nikhil”, then somehow they deserve to be excommunicated.

    Amitabh, thanks for clarifying what you meant. :) My comment was more snark than a dig at you, I hope you believe that. You, like Maitri, are a mutineer of which I am fond. ;)

  22. Over here in India people are passed out with joy not knowing (or not caring) that “our boy” is crazier than Dubya. CNN-IBN (Indian CNN) is running this interview where this sycophantic reporter keeps asking him questions about his relatives in the desh and Jindal is trying to shake him off. Disgusting !

  23. this sycophantic reporter keeps asking him questions about his relatives in the desh and Jindal is trying to shake him off. Disgusting !

    This is exactly what they did to Sunita Williams when she visited India recently. Crazy media sycophancy, and most of it geared towards stressing how Indian she is, or how Gujarati she is (and getting her to comment on those aspects). She was treated like a rock star and she looked pretty uncomfortable with the endless attention. I would bet she has no desire to go back there anytime soon.

  24. Over here in India people are passed out with joy not knowing (or not caring) that “our boy” is crazier than Dubya. CNN-IBN (Indian CNN) is running this interview where this sycophantic reporter keeps asking him questions about his relatives in the desh and Jindal is trying to shake him off. Disgusting !

    Please post the videos!

  25. In other Louisiana news, the Jindal win inspired LSU to pull off another come from behind 4rth quarter victory over Auburn.

  26. slade is generally translated to mean “child of the valley”

    What valley? Louisiana is as flat as an ironboard! Third lowest state in the Union@!!!!!1@ Oh the hypocrisy of it all!!!11111

  27. yes please–can someone please post VIDEO links for us tv-less folks: his victory speech, as well as the cnn-ibn links. i’ve found nothing yet on youtube or google video. and of course there’s nothing substantive on baton rouge channels’ websites.

    ps: proper spelling is jambalaya

  28. Crazy media sycophancy

    And they say trickle down effects are not happening in India, bet the media picked this habit from the mai-baap Congress party. Stupid fuck$ all of them, disgusting. Well, more power those who are happy that Bobby Jindal won for the brown community, his is a nut asinine but at least his nuts are similar to thine.

  29. I probably wouldn’t vote for Jindal if I lived in Louisiana (though his competition sounds horrid… so I guess I’ll just be glad that I don’t have to make the choice), but I’m seriously amazed that there’s an Indian-American dude in charge of an American state. (Hmm, I know some brown folks from New Orleans, I’ll have to ask them what their take on him is next time I see him…)

    The AP article I read said that he’s the first nonwhite governor of Louisiana since Reconstruction.