Floating the Jindal balloon

With respect to the question of whether or not John McCain will tap Louisiana’s Governor Jindal for his VP, I have been quoted on this website as saying, to paraphrase, “when pigs fly in hell.” I just don’t see the strategic value in such an arrangement. Why would Jindal want to give up the best possible job in the world (executive experience in a state which he can only make better…since it can’t possibly get any worse) in order to run with a nominee with tough odds (its forecasted to be a bad year for Republicans)? If he has ambitions he should strategically wait until 2012 or 2016 to act upon them. On the flip side, why would McCain pick someone who is young, intelligent, brown and relatively inexperienced to take over for him if he keels over while in office (he’s kind of old you know)? It undermines the very arguments he will need to make against Obama. But today we saw these pictures as the straight talk express rolled through New Orleans:

McCain illustrates the current administration’s popularity trend in Louisiana.

U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the presumptive Republican Party presidential nominee, today toured a portion of New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward still showing the ravages of Hurricane Katrina and called the federal government’s initial response to the catastrophe “disgraceful.”

In New Orleans as part of his “Straight Talk Express” tour, McCain – with Gov. Bobby Jindal at his side – sharply criticized the Bush administration for “mishandling” the disaster but also said Congress must share some of the blame for backing pork barrel projects when that money could have been used to strengthen the city’s levees and restore the state’s vanishing wetlands and coastline. [Link]

My guess is that McCain is trying to do whatever he can to get the media to stop focusing on the Clinton-Obama slugfest and to start concentrating a little on him. What better way to do that then to make people start speculating about his VP with greater interest. Also out today was this article:

There is a buzz in Republican political circles that John McCain could pick former Hewlett-Packard Chairwoman Carly Fiorina, 53, to be his vice presidential nominee.

NBC11 political analyst Larry Gerston said a potential McCain-Fiorina ticket could inspire Republicans who think the country may be on the “precipice of change…” “A number of Republican leaders are looking for a way to take a rather stodgy candidacy and bring some life to it,” said NBC11 political analyst Larry Gerston. “It comes at a time when Democrats have an African-American and a white woman battling each other — while the Republicans have a 71-year-old white male as the presumptive nominee…” [Link]

So there are two McCain stories floating out in the media on the same day. One has him paired with and ambitious and often vilified white woman and the other has him paired with a brilliant but relatively inexperienced young brown man. Hmmmm. Getting back to Jindal, this is what he had to say about the speculation:

Gov. Bobby Jindal dismissed rumors about him joining Sen. John McCain on the Republican ticket as vice president, but didn’t definitively say he would refuse McCain if called upon by the presumptive nominee.

Instead, Jindal said, “He’s not going to ask.”

“I’ve made it abundantly clear that I’m happy in my job,” Jindal said while in Monroe on Thursday. “I love the job I have.

“It’s flattering that my name has been raised, but this is a historic time in Louisiana and I want to be a part of it…” [Link]

Interestingly though, he does leave the door open AND he is appearing on Jay Leno next Monday. Politicians often go on the late night show circuit before announcing something major. However, like I point to above, this could all be a clever attention grabbing stunt by the Republican establishment. I still think this is a very unlikely pair.

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95 thoughts on “Floating the Jindal balloon

  1. With the slow-motion train wreck in the Democratic primaries, the Presidency is pretty much McCain’s to lose and at his age there is a non-trivial chance that he might decide to step aside after one term… even if that term was a successful one.

    I think Jindal would be a fool to turn down the job if it was offered to him.

  2. 41 · NikhilRam said

    I am South-Asian and was born and raised in California. I moved to Louisiana 2 years ago and observed Bobby Jindal’s successful gubernatorial election. First, my views are distinct from the “journalists” of the various Indian-American newspapers across the country (e.g. India Post)that celebrated his election without taking a critical (or even superficial) view of his policies. Louisiana is a conservative state where certain religious issues swing voters, and Mr. Jindal’s view on evolution are probably designed to capture conservative white Christian votes in the northern parishes of Louisiana. However, to discount the fact that the GOP has vocally criticized Roe v. Wade and pledged at almost every level of government to overturn that decision and accuse Mr. Jindal of pandering is quite ridiculous. Republican presidents have packed the federal judiciary with partisan judges and have continually focused on overturning Roe v. Wade (even if offends the judicial philosophy of stare decisis). I am a firm advocate of living in a pro-choice country; but to pretend like the Roe-reversal talk is just pandering is naive. Roe v. Wade has been chipped away continuously by the efforts of the GOP. Furthermore, let’s put our liberal elitism behind us and recognize that approximately 50% of voters are pro-life and have a right to that position. I think it is unfair and somewhat racists/classist to imply that people who are pro-life are uneducated, unsophisticated bitter backwoods people. And the posters who are hyper-critical of Mr. Jindal’s conversion to Catholicism and accuse him of being a “sell-out” because he fails to practice his faith with oth you are ill-informed. Mr. Jindal converted to Catholicism, which enjoys a rich history and unique role in the state of Louisiana. To claim that Bobby Jindal is a sell-out because he doesn’t practice some kind of traditional South-Indian sect of Christianity ignores the fact that he is an American who adopted the traditions and cultural values of the community around him and reflects ignorance about Christianity in general. Mr. Jindal is an Indian-American, but his constituents are the people of the state of Louisiana. It seems as if Mr. Jindal will be labeled as a “sell-out” only if he doesn’t pander to the NRI (pro-India rather than pro-Indian-American) community. Finally, Mr. Jindal is extremely intelligent and incredibly accomplished and I have hope that he can help one of the worst states in the country.

    However, I’m sure that Gov.Piyush will do an excellent job. He’s going to improve the the state and improve the Indo-American’s standing here. Personally, I’m against his phony pro-creationist views, pro-life/anti-choice, and his insincere conversion. Note: I’m no into Hindutva, and I have nothing against Christianity (I’m actually inspired by Jesus’ teachings). I do, however, question his phoniness

    Jindal will do an excellent job, but he won’t receive my moral support.

  3. Why are we questioning the Catholic conversion of an Indian-American who was raised in a heavily Catholic community in Louisiana?

    No one is questioning anything, but lets face it, a Hindu with the name srinivasa venkatasastry pai ain’t gettin’ elected to be the LA governer.

  4. i have a vague recollection of carter giving an interview in 1980 where he professed his belief in a literal interpretation of Genisis (nothing to do with phil collins) and this was one of the triggering events that drove Kennedy into the race. Kennedy, whose sense of entitlement rivaled Clintons, actually attempted to get carters pledged delegates to switch during the convention. reagan, at the time, was considered too radical (like goldwater) and the dems where certain they could defeat him. but Kennedy was vicious and a severely wounded carter lost to the unelectable Reagan.

  5. I don’t know if this has been pointed out, but Jindal doesn’t have to give up his governship to run as McCain’s vice presidential pick in 2008. Last I checked, Lieberman still has his senate seat. I see positives and negatives. Positives are that it could turn Jindal into a national figure, positioning him well for the early competitions of a future presidential run (usually it’s the national figures with name recognition that start off polling the strongest -note Hillary, Edwards, and Obama ending up the top three candidates). However, the downside is if McCain loses, Jindal could have that taint of loserishness on him, like Lieberman may have when he ran in 2008, Edwards may have when he ran in 2004 and like Mondale and Quayle may have, 2 guys who lost elections as Veep (1980 and 1992, respectively), and subsequently lost party nominations or general elections.

    I think the better strategy is for Jindal to try to get the keynote address speech at the Republican national convention, the way Obama did in 2004 at the Democrat convention. It could turn him into a national figure the way Obama’s did him, without the taint of losing as a veep candidate.

    Jindal would also do very well to consider how he can bolster his foreign policy credentials between now and 2012 (his biggest electability weakness, in my opinion). A moderately successful Obama presidency would turn Jindal into a very, very attractive candidate for Republicans by then.

  6. “like Lieberman may have when he ran in 2008, Edwards may have when he ran in 2004″ in my post should read “like Lierberman may have had when he ran in 2004, like Edwards may have had when he ran in 2008″

  7. Jindal wishes he could rub his skin color until he acquires just the right pigmentation of his liking. The guy’s a sell-out plain and simple. He converted when he was 15 (as if he knew anything about anything when he was that age). His accomplishments are laughable at best- any decent politician could have done what he has accomplished. Stop calling him an Indian-American. He obviously wants nothing to do with us.

  8. I agree 100%. Piyush would have been a Jew had he grown up in Jerusalem, a Muslim growing up in Dhaka; or a Rasta in Kingston. Once again, I have no probs wiith any of these religions. He lacks much integrity that I’m sure he would have considered being an honorary member of the KKK with David Duke, but they won’t take catholics.

    58 · NYC Chaatwala said

    Jindal wishes he could rub his skin color until he acquires just the right pigmentation of his liking. The guy’s a sell-out plain and simple. He converted when he was 15 (as if he knew anything about anything when he was that age). His accomplishments are laughable at best- any decent politician could have done what he has accomplished. Stop calling him an Indian-American. He obviously wants nothing to do with us.
  9. Well, I think Jindal’s political success is good for us -at least so far. He’s raising a glass ceiling. Desi support for his continuing success would be rational from that vantage point, similar to the black woman’s magazine Essence giving Condaleeze Rice an award (I think NAACP gave her an award too?) and analogous to element of the black community’s leadership in Maryland rallying behind Republican gubinatorial candidate Michael Steele a few years ago, when they perceived him to be experiencing some unfair attacks.

  10. Well, I think Jindal’s political success is good for us -at least so far.

    He’s thrown us under the bus and has picked the only type of assimilation that the social conservatives will accept.

    He’s raising a glass ceiling.

    The ceiling has moved up enough to accommodate people who belong to the majority religion and don’t stir the pot too much by marrying white like D’Souza or Ponnuru (which would have turned his constituency against him). There are Hindus with genuine road to Damascus conversions but this guy seems as artificial as Michael Jackson’s nose

    Desi support for his continuing success would be rational from that vantage point, similar to the black woman’s magazine Essence giving Condaleeze Rice an award (I think NAACP gave her an award too?) and analogous to element of the black community’s leadership in Maryland rallying behind Republican gubinatorial candidate Michael Steele a few years ago, when they perceived him to be experiencing some unfair attacks.

    Rational for whom? Most of my Mallu Christian friends are pretty liberal, what would a Jindal presidency for them? I’m a secular Republican, what will his desire to continue to erode the separation of church and state do for me?

  11. 61 · louiecypher said

    Well, I think Jindal’s political success is good for us -at least so far.
    He’s thrown us under the bus and has picked the only type of assimilation that the social conservatives will accept.
    He’s raising a glass ceiling.
    The ceiling has moved up enough to accommodate people who belong to the majority religion and don’t stir the pot too much by marrying white like D’Souza or Ponnuru (which would have turned his constituency against him). There are Hindus with genuine road to Damascus conversions but this guy seems as artificial as Michael Jackson’s nose
    Desi support for his continuing success would be rational from that vantage point, similar to the black woman’s magazine Essence giving Condaleeze Rice an award (I think NAACP gave her an award too?) and analogous to element of the black community’s leadership in Maryland rallying behind Republican gubinatorial candidate Michael Steele a few years ago, when they perceived him to be experiencing some unfair attacks.
    Rational for whom? Most of my Mallu Christian friends are pretty liberal, what would a Jindal presidency for them? I’m a secular Republican, what will his desire to continue to erode the separation of church and state do for me?

    If you check the way he governs in Louisiana, he doesn’t implement religion into his politics. Yea, he may go to churches to give speeches, but his leadership is phenomenal thus far. He’s turning around a messy situation into a great one down there.

  12. He supported Faith Based initiatives. Even the Dems have to re-affirm their Judeo-Christian faith, but Jindal wants tax money going into faith based charities (as if it is not enough that they enjoy tax exemption). He wants school prayer. The argument that we have a Supreme Court doesn’t encourage me

  13. Wanting is different than whether it will happen. If he’s elected Pres, it won’t pass. Hilbama want universal healthcare. Will it happen? Nope.

  14. If Manju AND port are below Rahul, does that make this a double-double?

    (this is like some wacked out ordering problem)

  15. I agree with posters above– there is no obligation on Mr. Jindal to be politically or culturally involved in the Desi community. There is no obligation on him to remain within the religious tradition of his upbringing and birth. If Mr. Jindal chooses not to be politically or culturally involved in the Desi community that’s also his prerogative.

    It is in turn the prerogative of some members of the Desi community to criticize him for those actions if they wish. For those quoting the Constitution, I’d suggest reading that Constitution a little more closely or retaking that civics class. Freedom of conscience talks about the ability of the state to impose/restrict such matters–the ability of individual citizens to criticize one another’s matters of conscience falls under the same amendment but is covered under the rubric of freedom of speech. If it’s somehow “unAmerican” to exercise one’s freedom of speech and criticize someone for changing their religion, there are a LOT of people that need to be shipped to Gitmo stat and a number of them could probably take mass with the good Governor from time to time. And why, pray tell is a conversion to Catholicism okay and “American” and “adopting the values of the American community” while expressing regrets about the choice and the implications smacking of “Hindutva”? If one is Hindu and expresses regret for the change or questions whether the move was done as a matter of calculation vs. sincerity (gosh, Frank Hardy, that NEVER happens in politics!) that is somehow pro-India? Because Christian=American? As Krusty the Clown would say, Oy.

    Certain of Mr. Jindal’s policies and statements are quite troubling to some people on this site. If some of those are (as claimed by others) just a clever political ploy to maintain his base then it certainly damages his credibility regarding honesty and integrity and is certainly a ground for questioning his “sincere” religious conversion no? And if so, one could speculate on the reason for such “sincere” conversion. And if, on the other hand, he is 100% behind his stated beliefs, then I am sure that Americans have the right to criticize and NOT support such an individual without being somehow labelled anti-American. BTW, I’m sure those who are concerned about Hindutva and its disproportionate influence in the American sphere are also equally concerned about recent (within the last 1.5 years) Vatican exhortations directed at Catholic politicians worldwide to vote in accordance with Vatican doctrine or risk religious sanction? Anyone? Bueller?

    Look, I don’t know whether his conversion and associated stipulated beliefs are authentic or not. I suspect, but have no way of knowing that it was a mix of sincerity and opportunism (even the Vatican isn’t pimping Intelligent Design). But I don’t think it is immune from comment and criticism (nor would a conversion to Hinduism be immune from comment and criticism). And I don’t see anything in the criticisms of Mr. Jindal that suggest that somehow participants are focusing on India’s concerns above those of the U.S. Hindu concerns (and only regarding the authenticity or implications of his conversion) sure. But remind me again why Hindus cannot be American?

    As a complete aside, one could argue in fact that Mr. Jindal is secretly even more pro-India than the Hindutva. If he does in fact favour creationsim, sorry, “Intelligent Design” and doesn’t support evolution, stem cell research, he is in fact helping move scientific capability and expertise off U.S. soil. Some of that will likely end up in India. Hindustan zindabad! ;)

  16. I am amused by the humorous tone of your post ente. But just because we have the freedom to express ourselves, does that mean I can’t offer my critical reflection on the statements and discussions we are having as a community? Or is this India?

    I never claimed people were un-American for criticizing Bobby Jindal. I also didn’t generalize and label every person suspicious of Piyush’s early conversion at 15 of being a Hindu fundamentalist. Maybe you should read my post a little more carefully. I simply posed a question – why are we asking these questions as a community? And I offered my opinion: The critics of Bobby J’s conversion are probably unfamiliar with the culture of Louisiana, the phenomenon of conversion in America (a very distinct sociological phenomenon from the missionaries present in India and around the world), and to some extent (the Hindus) because of the spillover from the Hindu fundamentalist cultural and political revolution in India.

    Unlike Mr. Bueller, I sat through civics class, 4 years of american politics in undergrad, and 3 long years of law school so please don’t lecture me on the principles of the first amendment. I am a firm advocate of the free exchange of ideas and that’s why I posted my views on here. To cling to the first amendment superficially and claim that the my post is written sanctimoniously and is somehow suppressing the views of others is mischaracterizaiton of what I wrote.

    As much as the views of the people who have questioned Bobby J’s conversion are protected by the 1st Amd., my opinion that the Hindutva movement, directly or indirectly, is having an impact on Indian-American political views is equally valid. And, FYI – the first amendment only restricts the government from censoring speech, it doesn’t provide posters on SM personal protection from my attacks on the racist, nationalistic, and political bias underpinning the criticism of Bobby J.

    And to point to specific criticism of Mr. J based on some kind of pro-India stance:

    Finally, if he’s truly a Christian, do you ever imagine that he’d go to Church with South Indian Christians? NOPE. Would he ever visit the ancient Christian Churches in Kerala/Tamil Nadu? Would he associate with the Christians of the Subcontinent? NOPE. For some reason, I get the impression that Piyush, *if* he were at a Desi event, wouldn’t associate with the South Indian Christians.

    For all I know, as a natural citizen of the USA and elected executive of the state of Louisiana – Mr. Jindal owes only a duty to those South Indian Christians that live in Louisiana.

  17. Quit hatin’ on my boy Bobby J, cuz he’s Catholic.

    For the poster who stated:

    His accomplishments are laughable at best- any decent politician could have done what he has accomplished. Stop calling him an Indian-American.

    I’m sure you’ve been following the accomplishments of a New Orleans Congressman out there in NYC. Laughable at best? Any decent politician – please let us know why you think Mr. Jindal’s accomplishments are so insignificant.

    And to the poster who suggested that Mr. Jindal is uncredible because he converted to the religion that he was exposed to and surrounded with as a young man growing up in Baton Rouge – maybe you should expand your horizons a little bit. I grew up in southern california, with a great exposure to Indian culture and Hinduism – but many members of my friends/family have at points considered or have converted to Christianity due to the social and cultural pressure to fit in. So is it not equally likely that Mr. Jindal growing up in a heavily Christian southern city – felt pressured socially/culturally to convert?

    Finally, a Ramakrishna quote for all you haters:

    God can be realized through all paths. All religions are true. The important thing is to reach the roof. You can reach it by stone stairs or by wooden stairs or by bamboo steps or by a rope. You can also climb up by a bamboo pole.
  18. 68 · NikhilRam said

    God can be realized through all paths. All religions are true. The important thing is to reach the roof. You can reach it by stone stairs or by wooden stairs or by bamboo steps or by a rope. You can also climb up by a bamboo pole.

    the point was, that he wouldn’t apply the same generous rule to non Catholics.

    So there are two McCain stories floating out in the media on the same day. One has him paired with and ambitious and often vilified white woman and the other has him paired with a brilliant but relatively inexperienced young brown man. Hmmmm. Getting back to Jindal, this is what he had to say about the speculation:

    I think Carly would jump a the chance. Finally, a job in which it takes more than a few board-members and annoyed stock-holders to get sacked!

  19. Thanks for your comments NikhilRam. I’m glad I was able to provide you with a little levity (it’s always good for the blood pressure so yay preventative medicine). In light of your suggestion I did in fact re-read your post. I guess I’m wondering about all those civics classes in light of this comment To question his religious conversion violates the fundamental principle of religious freedom embodied in the Constitution (obviously the Hindtuva folks didn’t study the U.S. Constitution very closely when they took their citizenship exam). Perhaps you could explain to me exactly how the questioning violates the fundamental princple of religious freedom embodied in the Constitution–with the benefit of all that civics and legal expertise that you (or indeed anyone else here) may hold –where in the Constitution or in the vast body of case law and commentary on that living document does it say that a private citizen cannot question the authenticity or motivations behind a person’s conversion or that to do so violates the Constitution? I’m always happy to learn. Otherwise, I’m afraid I’m going to have to stand by my previous rhapsodical waxing on the glorious document and how it’s actually quite American to bitch and moan about another’s exercise of their religious freedom (cue Rush Limbaugh).

    You do seem, on further parsing of that particular sentence, to be suggesting that anyone who questions his religious conversion is a Hindutva, no? I mean, if you weren’t you’d have qualified the aside in the aforementioned quote, to give it more clarity and indicate that only some of those questioning the authenticity are Hindutva. I’d have let it go, but you did also raise this point earlier.

    More importantly, I question who within the South-Asian community is criticizing and questioning his conversion? I smell the influence of the Hindutva afoot.

    I guess that, based on the evidence on this board, I’m not seeing anything that confirms that it’s all Hindutva. Hindu, sure but we wouldn’t want to conflate the two, would we? That might violate some constitutional principle somewhere.

    You later say that I am firmly opposed to wielding the same type of “special-interest” power with regard to India or mandating that Indian-Americans have some type of overriding obligation to the Desi-community or India. I’m wondering where the criticisms on this board as to his policy positions showed that he had an overriding obligation to India. You appear to be the first person to mention Modi. The stipulated issues appear to be creationism, abortion, an ostensible lack of personal religious tolerance for others based on previous statements and funding of faith-based initiatives. None of those appear to touch on the Indian government’s domestic or international interests.

    I have no doubt that some people who question the authenticity or necessity or desirability of his conversion (as well as some who don’t) are Hindutva. I have no doubt that there are a number of people who believe he should put India’s interests over U.S. interests. But I also have no doubt that a number of the people (Hindutva) or no who do examine his motives didn’t have to write a U.S. citizenship exam to get their citizenship and that their primary concerns with Mr. Jindal (especially in the context of a potential vice-presidency) are focused on the impact on U.S. interests (including the protection of the rights of religious minorities in the Homeland). And I have seen nothing on this particular set of comments that leads me to believe that anyone and everyone who questions his motives or suitability or integrity is a member of the Hindutva. And just as a tactical suggestion, I wouldn’t advise coming to a blog dedicated to exploring “the desi angle of everything” [see the FAQs] and complain that people are improperly focusing on the desi angle of Mr. Jindal. Of course, you are focusing on the right angle while everyone else is focusing on obtuse angles, but they are both desi angles none the less. :)

    Again, please do not misconstrue me. Mr. Jindal is able to exercise his freedom of conscience and that is a wonderful thing. You, I and others are free to comment on the authenticity or motivations behind such purported exercise and that is also a wonderful thing. That same wonderful thing allows you to critique such commentary. However, it also allows me to ask to prove your assertions and, if you can’t, then dismiss your purported expertise.

    Here’s to our mutual blood pressure :)

  20. Ente, Ente, Ente where do I start? I find your most recent post lacking in that flair that made your first posting so amusing. Just to put an end to your semantical micorobservations – I’ll respond.

    I specifically stated: “To question his religious conversion violates the fundamental principle of religious freedom embodied in the Constitution. I’m not going to use this board to explain to you the history, meaning and/or discussion of First Amendment jurisprudence. But, questioning a man, solely based on speculative allegations that his religious conversion was an opportunistic political move at the age of 15 – and then claiming he is not “Desi” enough or a sell-out because he adheres to the tenants of his religion – in my opinion – offends the idea that we should respect other people’s freedom to exercise the religion of their choice. Stop miscontruing my statements – I never claimed that someone questioning his religious conversion was criminally or civilly liable for their comments. You claim that my first post was unclear, but I attempted to clarify my position in my 2nd post when I discussed my respect for the free flow of ideas on boards like this. People are free to criticize his as much as they want, but again I don’t see why I’m wrong for expressing concern with the content of their criticism?

    On to what I ACTUALLY SAID: and I continue to hold to – is that people who criticize Mr. Jindal based solely on his conversion offend an ideal that is enshrined within our national conscience (and I pointed to the Constitution to show that it is). While not quite to the same extent, the first amendment embodies the national value of freedom of speech. I am not going to argue Constitutional theory or politics with you, because in my opinion – most people don’t know shit about the Constitution. They just cling to catch phrases like “freedom of speech” and “free exercise of religion”, that they heard some talking head discuss on some cable news network.

    Furthermore, my comments about the critics of Bobby J weren’t limited to the people on this blog. If you look to the Indian-American news media, journalists were critical of Bobby J. and it seemed to me that they were influenced by the Hindtuva movement. Did I fail to read the blog comment rules when I started reading SM (maybe the answer is hidden away in those FAQs that you mentioned?) Next time, I’ll be sure to restrict my freedom to express myself to the comments on this board and this board alone. I will never bring any outside ideas/information into the discussion because obviously that is forbidden.

    I stand by my statements, my parenthetical about Hindtuva folks not reading the Constitution – was a weak attempt at humor. Although, the stipulated issues on this board deal with religious views (intelligent design, abortion, and you claim lack of religious tolerance based on statements + funding faith-based initiatives) – HA – I actually believe in evolution, a women’s right to choose, and believe favoring faith-based initiatives offends the 1st amendment (quite literally this time!) – go figure? And I also question that these positions are dangerous to US interests (as they are now being employed the Bush administration). But people did mention he was a “sell-out” and that he wanted “nothing to do with us” – so my comments were addressed to those critics.

    You’ve obviously adopted a microscopic and hyper-critical analysis of my comments and you take them out of context (cue Bill O’Reilly?). I’m sure you can continue to accuse me of not spending a few hours drafting and refining an impeccable comment for this blog article – making sure that my statements would display nothing but politically correct prose and clarity.

    People on this board have accused him of being a sell-out: hence my comments on overriding obligation to the Desi-community. And as for my comments on India and Modi – that again is a response to comments outside of this particular SM blog post (and was also an attempt to stir-up some discussion on people’s views).

    You accused me of labeling every critic of Mr. Jindal a Hindtuva, confusing Hindus and members of Hindutva, being un-American for accusing others of offending national principles of the free exercise of religion, and implying that I really don’t know what I’m talking about. (cue Hilary Clinton…)

    As to your tactical suggestion – I’ll dismiss that one as well. I’m not complaining that people are improperly focusing on the “desi angle” of Mr. Jindal. I’m questioning what that “desi angle” really means.

  21. 65 · Camille said

    If Manju AND port are below Rahul, does that make this a double-double? (this is like some wacked out ordering problem)

    Camille, really, I am tired of your elitist intellectual tendencies. “Wacked-out ordering problem,” she says. What are you — an Obama supporter? Did you go to French finishing school with Kerry? Were you at Harvard with Al Gore? Missy, we have a saying in Texas, which I am repeating for your benefit.

  22. port, are you calling my love of In’N'Out (sadly no innuendo intended) elitist? Aren’t you the person who took the “wacked out ordering test” last fall??? :)

    In my neck of the woods, we call it hipster.

  23. 39 · bess the spellarian said

    Sorry to be such a stickler, but that’s not how you spell “Huge”, Rahul.

    Yep. It’s one of the reasons I never need to toot my own horn.

  24. RahulS said :

    I am personally sick and tired of this inherent reluctance of Indian-Americans to see ourselves as AMERICANS first.

    Yes, but Americans see you as a NON-American first. And if you have ever gone back to India, Indians see you as a NON-Indian too.

    i.e. You are not one of them. You are not one of us.

    Reminds of an old song that goes as follows : “I need to love but it comes out wrong”. “I want to live but I don’t belong”. “I close my eyes and I see blood and roses.”

  25. IT will be funny if Bobby Jindal one day becomes the president of the united states and a few months into his presidency, he re-converts back to Hinduism. He would then be the first “hindoo” president.

  26. Speak for yourself Blog_Prowler. Maybe you see INDIAN-Americans as Indian first. What’s your definition of American – white protestants? America is a pretty diverse place my friend – so I have know idea who you are referring to when you say “Americans”. I am American. Are you claiming that Indian-Americans are not accepted in American society as true citizens of our country?

    I’ve questioned my cultural identity and have felt marginalized many times in my life being an ethnic minority living in the USA, but I would never concede that ALL Indian-Americans are viewed by other “Americans” (whatever racist category of people you are referring to when you use that word”) as non-American first.

    If your comment was really a subtle observation intending to raise awareness of the intricacies of racial and cultural identity in America’s complex multi-racial society – I might agree with you. For some reason I don’t think your a devout scholar of critical race theory. I agreed with you on one point though…when I go to India I hope they see me as non-Indian because I’m an American.

  27. 76 · Blog_Prowler said

    RahulS said :
    I am personally sick and tired of this inherent reluctance of Indian-Americans to see ourselves as AMERICANS first.
    Yes, but Americans see you as a NON-American first. And if you have ever gone back to India, Indians see you as a NON-Indian too. i.e. You are not one of them. You are not one of us. Reminds of an old song that goes as follows : “I need to love but it comes out wrong”. “I want to live but I don’t belong”. “I close my eyes and I see blood and roses.”

    Not to everyone. Some, obviously you’re right.

  28. 59 · boston_mahesh said

    I agree 100%. Piyush would have been a Jew had he grown up in Jerusalem, a Muslim growing up in Dhaka; or a Rasta in Kingston. Once again, I have no probs wiith any of these religions. He lacks much integrity that I’m sure he would have considered being an honorary member of the KKK with David Duke, but they won’t take catholics.

    The KKK accepts Catholics, here is a funny video where a Australian Jew try to join the clan. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1JhZGv8Tj0

  29. Uh, wasn’t Jindal born in India? Doesn’t that disqualify him from being the President of the United States? Or only from running for President, not taking over as…?

  30. Uh, wasn’t Jindal born in India? Doesn’t that disqualify him from being the President of the United States? Or only from running for President, not taking over as…?

    No, he was born in the US of motherf*cking A! Baton Rouge

  31. Floating the Jindal balloon
    Funny Abhi/Evil Abhi, you slay. (I’m a little slow to the punch line but at least I arrive.)

    what’s the reference? i didn’t get it…

  32. Uh, wasn’t Jindal born in India? Doesn’t that disqualify him from being the President of the United States? Or only from running for President, not taking over as…?

    Jindal was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

    However, an interesting titbit is that he was conceived in India, his mother was pregnant when she came to LSU as a graduate student.

    McCain would only pick him to corner the ultra-conservative, evangelical vote, but there is a better running mate choice than him (Jindal), Mike Huckabee, and McCain knows it.

  33. 85 · Kush Tandon McCain would only pick him to corner the ultra-conservative, evangelical vote, but there is a better running mate choice than him (Jindal), Mike Huckabee, and McCain knows it.

    C’mon, now! You have interesting comments on a lot of stuff, but this is really showing a tin ear. Going for the “Huckabee” vote is really unfair to Jindal. No, I would totally not vote for a Huckabee, but would absolutely vote for a Jindal. The difference is their stance on economic issues. Not everyone votes on cultural/religious/etc. grounds, which IMHO, are better left out of the political realm (not that Jindal does enough of that, I would concede).

  34. Not everyone votes on cultural/religious/etc. grounds, which IMHO, are better left out of the political realm (not that Jindal does enough of that, I would concede).

    Vice Presidential candidate/ running mate is not the candidate that is put on the block – It is the Presidential candidate, who raises the money, and puts his or her reputation on line. Running mates are supposed to compliment (Lyndon Johsnon for JFK, looking photogenic like Dan Qualye, etc.).

    It will not be Jindal or Huckabee’s or Shirley Jones or John Doe’s economic stance, it will be McCain’s, and only McCain. VP running and their family (with all the kids) are supposed to look pretty on the podium, and do some below the belt attacking, and bring a vote base that Presidential candidate thinks lacks.

    I have followed Jindal very closely – I lived in Louisiana for 7 years (6 in Baton Rouge and 1 in Lafayette) when Jindal career was unfoldinf. I was a visiting faculty at University of Louisiana when he (Jindal) was the President of University of Louisiana system.

    Now a simple question to you, rob: What is Jindal’s economic stance? I am all ears. Except slash and burn he did as the Secretary, Department of Health and Hospitals in Louisiana.

  35. slash and burn he did as the Secretary, Department of Health and Hospitals in Louisiana.

    I think the politically correct phrase for this is “small government”.

  36. 87 · Kush Tandon Now a simple question to you, rob: What is Jindal’s economic stance? I am all ears. Except slash and burn he did as the Secretary, Department of Health and Hospitals in Louisiana.

    Fair question. If I recall correctly, he’s in favor of pretty radical experimentation with respect to funding for primary and secondary school education (contra the interests of the teachers’ unions, but we know what tree they’re barking up, and esp. important b/c that’s probably the biggest weak spot in the US economy), increased off-shore drilling for hydro-carbons (wise, I think, b/c even w/out having one’s head in the sand re: environmental issues the transition to a lower hydro-carbon-based economy is not going to be quick or painless), and free trade in general rather than protectionism (just wise in general).

  37. If Jindal knows what’s good for him, he will mess up his governorship instead of doing too much good. As boss Long once said: Someday Louisiana’s gonna get good government and they’re not gonna like it.

  38. 72 · Manju said

    while criticism of jindals conversion does not violate the first ammendment, i think its worth noting that it may eventually violate international law, as there is a growing movement to enforce “an international law that criminalizes religious insults and enforces mutual respect of religions.” the movement is gaining traction.

    Don’t worry! Freedom of speech is alive and well in America.

  39. Don’t worry! Freedom of speech is alive and well in America.

    Well, she’ll get her day in court. interesting case. i think the board will argue they have the right to fire someone if they engage in speech that’s detrimental to their job. for example, there have been cases where cops have been fired for using racist language or belonging to a hate group, b/c–even though such speech and associations are constitutionally protected–the state has a compelling interest in keeping racists out of such positions, since the beliefs could reasonably be expected to interfere with their job. (i think, this is where the case law is, but i’m not up on it).

    she’ll either argue that her speech did not rise to a hate speech level or even if it did, it didn’t interfere with her job. she’ll probably win, since the courts usually need some evidence of interference with the job, as “prior restraint” in first amendment law is greatly frowned upon, which is the reason, btw if hmf is reading, why the state cannot ban saying merry christmas in the workplace even though it may lead to an establishment of religion. basically you have to wait until it actually does, you can’t take a preemptive strike except in very narrow circumstances. prior restraint.

  40. Thanks for the clarification nikhildev. Okay, so we’ve established that freedom of conscience is a fundamental principle of the Constitution, but that that private citizens can also question the sincerity and motives behind a purported converstion. The Hindutva slam was apparently an attempt at humour that didn’t really translate to at least some of your audience.

    I agree that some Indian-Americans want/expect all Indian-Americans to put India’s interest first or some Hindutva members being outraged at the issue. I just felt you were using an overly broad brush (one can be cynical or saddened about the conversion without being a bigot or expecting Mr. Jindal to vote for Indian or desi interests over the interests of all Americans) and I couldn’t understand why comments about Mr. Jindal’s views on evolution etc. triggered a rant about the danger of AIPAC activities. As for the sell-out, I guess it depends on the beholder. If an individual is perceived as turning his back on a group of which he is a member (and you’re mainstream media also stresses his “INDIAN-American” aspects from time to time, the “sell-out” label is not unexpected. If an individual is perceived as turning his back in order to advance his own individual interests as the expense of group members, the “sell-out” label is virtually guaranteed. And if he’s perceived as doing so as a purely cyncial ploy… Obviously, the Rolling Stones can still rake in advertising royalties from commercially licensing their songs, and the rights of the individual to choose his own path will take precedence over such accusations.

    I wasn’t accusing you of showing a lack of tolerance for minorities–I was stating that concerns raised about Mr. Jindal demonstrating a lack of tolerance for religious minorities in the U.S. seemed to me to relate to America’s interests, rather than India’s. That’s it.

    As a lawyer, or at least one who endured 3 years of law school (congratulations, btw), you know that the profession lives (sometimes very profitably) or dies on the semantics. Yes, I’m going to analyze a statement that seems overly broad and prejudicial in its scope, if only out of an anaphylactic reaction to potential “9-11–Iraq”s. Hopefully such analysis remains constitutional, although, judging from the reactions to those who tried to parse the “9-11–Iraq” statements some 5 years ago, it might be considered Unamerican :)

    In any event, we now appear to understand each other clearly enough to move on. Is the correct sign-off Govern Yourself Accordingly? I think I’ll just stick to Best Regards. :)

  41. Apostates of any religion are not liked by the community they left. Doesn’t matter what religion. It is a basic instinct – for any culture, religion, whatever to continue you need people to continue it. Look at Christianity – non-Christians are going to hell – the penalty for leaving Christianity is eternal hellfire and damnation with the devil as companion. Individuals can believe whatever religion they want, but don’t be surprised by the negative reaction from the community s/he left. Cultures have gone extinct. Religions have gone extinct. Languages have gone extinct. Traditions have gone extinct. Most are not even documented so once extinct the information is gone forever for future generations (of course through colonialism a lot was deliberately destroyed as part of the process to subjugate the masses).

    Jindal does not give the same vibe as Obama or even Leiberman. Obama went from “Barry” to Barack, while Jindal went from Piyush to “Bobby.” Obama seems to come to terms and embrace who he is and his ethinicity, while Jindal seems to want to change a lot of who he is and go further away. Joseph Leiberman was a VP candidate while remaining an Orthodox Jew. That is acceptance of diversity – both by Leiberman about himself and by the Democratic Party about him as he was born. Republicans picking a minority who converted to Christianity doesn’t seem to convey acceptance. Obama seems comfortable with his full real name – Barack Hussein Obama. While Jindal doesn’t seem to be comfortable with his real name Piyush Jindal and rather likes people to call him “Bobby,” after a kid who doesn’t even really exist except on television. Obama and Leiberman seem comfortable today with their born diversity, unlike Jindal.