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. While I bow to none in my admiration for Jindal, I really don’t think it’s time yet for him–better for him to go straight for the Presidency after a (hopefully, and at least it’s started off well, with the anti-corruption legislation) run as Gov. of Louisiana. I don’t think McCain is that old, BTW. P.M. Singh is older, just to take the most obvious example!

  2. Like you mentioned, Jindal is too young (even though he has more experience than Obama). Pawlenty seems like a good pick for McCain (it could make Minnesota turn into a red state…this swing state was a blue one back in ’04).

  3. And also, before the inevitable “Jindal is bad b/c he’s anti-abortion” talk starts, please keep in mind that this is just a valence issue. No way, no how that the GOP is going to make abortion illegal in the US–they’re just using this issue to get votes (from the “bitter” people ;-) ). They know, though, that if actually went to illegal (well, maybe outside of a few states) it would destroy them going forward–so–they’re not going to do it. The judicial (Supreme Court) nominees of the GOP are, ahem, aware of this issue. . . so, I seriously doubt even that Roe will be overturned states given the latitude to outlaw abortion. Republicans aren’t all a bunch of Neanderthals–some of us are your (free-trading with Colombia) friends!!

  4. It would be a good move for McCain – he gets a fetus loving real live Christian, a southerner with apparent integrity, and a young brown guy to inject excitement into the campaign and attract a number of independent voters, including south asians (though they are a negligible demographic contingent) but probably not for Jindal. He’d do better to start practicing on a keynote for the republican national convention and see if he can exploit that opportunity the way Obama did.

  5. 1 · rob said

    I don’t think McCain is that old, BTW. P.M. Singh is older, just to take the most obvious example!

    Dude, you obviously haven’t seen this.

  6. And also, before the inevitable “Jindal is bad b/c he’s anti-abortion” talk starts

    Dude, its not his position on abortion that I care about. Its his position on evolution. And that isn’t valence, its nucleus.

  7. 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.

    The running mate announcement is made by the Presidential candidate, and not by the running mate or potential running mates. Therefore, McCain will make the announcement when he thinks that it will do a boost in ratings (during the announcement) and that boost will still be warm near November. Whether, McCain will choose him is something only McCain knows. Often, they shortlist half a dozen candidates, and a team will vet them led by a very close confidante. While I bow to none in my admiration for Jindal, I really don’t think it’s time yet for him–better for him to go straight for the Presidency after a (hopefully, and at least it’s started off well, with the anti-corruption legislation) run as Gov. of Louisiana. I don’t think McCain is that old, BTW. P.M. Singh is older, just to take the most obvious example!

    Not so fast. Buddy Roemer, a Harvard graduate when elected as Governor of Louisiana, was touted as the whiz kid of Louisiana. Less than a term later, his career was doomed, and one of the Louisiana Congressman said, “He deserves refund from Harvard”. Sure, Jindal has South Louisiana behind him for many reasons, but the corridors of Baton Rouge are full of intrigue, which even Huey P. Long could not master.

  8. 5 · Abhi Dude, you obviously haven’t seen this.

    LOL! Though, “older than Iceland” seems a bit overdone! I guess it means “older than Iceland’s independence from Denmark.” Not to be too pedantic! ;-)

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

    What he’s actually telling Jindal: “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job!”

  10. John McCain could pick former Hewlett-Packard Chairwoman Carly Fiorina, 53, to be his vice presidential nominee.

    This would be perfect. Fiorina came in to HP with lots of hype and excitement behind her, and then, by most accounts, made a royal hash of it. Would be an appropriate successor to our current MBA president.

  11. 6 · Abhi said

    And also, before the inevitable “Jindal is bad b/c he’s anti-abortion” talk starts
    Dude, its not his position on abortion that I care about. Its his position on evolution. And that isn’t valence, its nucleus.

    I doubt that he really believes that stuff. I mean, he graduated from Brown and Oxford. How can a really smart person believe that? He realizes that he’s brown, and the only way a brown dude is going to be elected if he’s ultraconservative. Jindal figured it out, and that’s why he’ll be the first non-white pres. in the U.S.

  12. Highly unlikely that McCain will pick Jindal, though you never know. He is a maverick after all. He should seriously consider:

    A woman, to blunt some of the novelty of the first black presidential nominee; and also.to attract those women democrats who were excited to see a woman running for president and who will be sorely disappointed that Hillary lost the nomination to Obama. And also

    A catholic, to pre-empt the inevitable tit for tat attacks on his connections to Pastor Hagee who is notorious for anti-catholic views. Catholics (along with the elderly and blue collar whites) are also the constituency that Obama has the hardest time appealing to. They have consistently voted heavily against him. Probably many catholic democrats will cross party lines to vote against him in the general election as well, especially with the added inducement of a catholic running mate. McCain being elderly himself may have a good chance pulling away many elderly democrats who have voted very heavily against Obama in the primaries.

    A relatively young white catholic woman with more experience than Obama would be his best bet as running mate I think.

  13. I think McCain should ask Dick Cheney to lead the vice-presidential search committee.

    Exactly, Cheney was so close to Bushes, that he was heading the search, and he nominated himself.

    They sometimes interview candidates 2-3 times in complete secrecy, and the candidates have to bare all their records (even the ones the press does not know yet). Or it has to be someone with a clout like Lyndon Johnson.

    In Clinton first term, Bob Kerrey was a front runner for VP for brief while, but then his role in Vietnam as a Green Beret was privately vetted long before press ever gotta a hint of it.

    I would not be surprised that someone like James Carville will head Hillary’s VP search, if she ever reaches to that point.

  14. Abhi, In a perfect world, you are spot-on, but on our sorry globe, how much does it really matter that 50% or whatever of Americans don’t believe in evolution? At least the people with the purse-strings do, whether GOP or Dem. I really don’t think that science research is going to be (nor has it been) shut down b/c the GOP is in power (yes, there are some smallish areas, but that’s what private foundations are for, no? Like, stem-cell under GOP, admittedly. . . .). I’m not saying you have to vote GOP, and McCain has some problems, in my view, esp. on foreign policy, but this abortion/stem-cell stuff really is just a valence issue, IMHO

    Re: McCain: Paiya, wayathil mudhinthavarai mariathai seyya vendum. (I.e., loosely translated from the Tamil, “Young’un, you must respect your elders”)

  15. 17 · bytewords how come no one has noticed mccain has probably pee-ed in his pants? :)

    Given that the clock of mortality is ticking on, and on on you, my friend, you might heed the parable of the “wooden bowl” before you make such a comment again.

  16. I doubt that he really believes that stuff. I mean, he graduated from Brown and Oxford. How can a really smart person believe that? He realizes that he’s brown, and the only way a brown dude is going to be elected if he’s ultraconservative. Jindal figured it out, and that’s why he’ll be the first non-white pres. in the U.S.

    he sure panders a lot…a catholic who has a degree in biology in a program with a strong focus on evolution (brown u) who ended up running pro-creationist adverts. that being said, there’s nothing that’s inherently false or true about being pro-life or pro-choice; it’s a normative issue. also, a lot of jindal’s moves toward trad/conservative catholicism were apparent during his teenage years, so if it’s some ploy he has been playing at it for 20 years now.

  17. Jindal is going to be groomed like a pretty pony and will be trotted out to show that the GOP is a big tent (at least when it comes to mocha religious conservatives). But it is unlikely that he would accept the gig at this point. He has eight years to be filmed bass fishing, duck hunting and frog gigging so he can come across as salt of the earth like Hillary “Annie Oakley” Clinton

  18. I find it very hard to discount his articles about Catholicism (including his personally witnessing an exorcism!), and his general beliefs about non-Catholics, Hinduism etc., which he has stated as far back as when he was in Oxford, to be mere political pandering. I think his religion matters to him far more than that, and I really don’t want such a doctrinaire believer anywhere near the White House.

    As for Dubya, I am honestly indifferent as to whether his religious beliefs are deeply held or mere vote-banking, because the two stances are virtually Turing-indistinguishable from his behavior.

    I really don’t think that science research is going to be (nor has it been) shut down b/c the GOP is in power

    This is definitely not the case. The last 8 years have been quite bad in terms of contraction in academic research funding. And this is apart from the ideology-based agendas of organizations that should be run based on science, like the EPA, NASA, health-research funding on stem cells which you mentioned, and so on. You might argue that this is to please the evangelican and the business base, and not based on Dubya’s personal faith, but the net result is the same.

  19. I’m with Rahul (above) on how one’s personal philosophy/faith can become a liability to science. It’s one thing to “not believe in” a concept as a matter of faith (although I’d argue evolution does not contravene most religious narratives — another topic for another day), but it’s another to use that as a launching pad to further an ascientific or anti-science agenda. Don’t worry, I’m sure there’ll still be money for defense research, though :P

    I think it’s way too early for Jindal to be viable. Carly Fiorina — really? Isn’t she already an advisor on McCain’s economic team?

  20. Carly Fiorina — really? Isn’t she already an advisor on McCain’s economic team?

    McCain has an economic team? McCain’s team understands economic policy?

  21. 23 · Ardy said

    Carly Fiorina — really? Isn’t she already an advisor on McCain’s economic team?
    McCain has an economic team? McCain’s team understands economic policy?

    Last time I checked, we didn’t have a similar situation to the tech boom this decade.

  22. Some have claimed that Obama has a resemblence to RFK. Could never see it. However, Jindal really does. He looks just like some of RFK’s kids as young adults if they were, well, brown (I’m from Massachusetts so I’ve seen ‘em around.) Weird. And he’s Catholic to boot. Americans have a soft spot for toothy grins and that lean hungry look, probably because of the obesity epidemic.

  23. and will be trotted out to show that the GOP is a big tent

    Nobody had a bigger tent than Bill Clinton.

  24. Carly would be a great way to derail the McCain train. Has no one on McCain’s team read the post-mortem articles on her stint at HP?

  25. IMO, the surest way for Mccain to lose the general election is to pick Jindal. At the end of the day, the hardliners in either party are going to back their respective candidates. Right wingers certainly don’t want either Obama or Clinton and left wingers certainly don’t want Mccain. Therefore, I think the battleground is for those moderates in either party.

    As evidenced by the numbers of newly registered Dem’s (some of whom were former Repubs), there is a reaction against what is viewed as the far right (Bush, Cheney et al. – I realize some may not place them in this category) Jindal would do nothing to assuage those voters. First, some of Jindal’s views as alluded to above, certainly are not within the mainstream: exorcisms and his view on evolution. Second, Jindal does not have the name recognition that would give the sort of pizazz that Obama/Clinton have been generating. (Even negative attention is attention). Third, this country is still debating whether it can elect an African-American as the democratic nominee (whether he’s electable), I don’t see how an America that is still debating that question can go the extra step further and say it’s willing to have an Indian-American who would seemingly be more foreign (despite the Bobby name and the conversion to Christianity) as it’s vice-president, especially, where the president would be rather old.

    I still believe that Mccain’s best chances for winning the general would be to pick a moderate republican as his running mate: a Bloomberg given his financial creds would be a nice choice.

  26. Piyush Jindal is a sell out. Everything thing about him is fake and insincere. Personally, I don’t believe that he converted to Catholicism as a teenager. What’s the proof? I could easily say that I converted to Wicca as a 7 year older, but then I reverted back to Baha’i.

    Piyush also claims that he liked the name “Bobby” from watching the Brady Bunch. Now all of us brown folks here now what a common name “Bobby” is amongst Northern Indians, and I simply don’t buy into his appreciation for the Brady Bunch. I’m sure that this is what his family called him all along.

    If he’s so all-American, then why did he marry a girl “within his community” (my words, not his) who also grew up in Louisiana? I noticed that his wife, and she certainly is a catch, is also a Punjabi Hindu. I mean, what are the chances of that. It’s apparent that there was parental involvement in this not-so-Christian wedding.

    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.

    He’s just an opportunistic Desi, but he’d do a great job. His mom/dad should disown him for his insincere conversion.

  27. 31 · boston_mahesh said

    Piyush Jindal is a sell out. Everything thing about him is fake and insincere. Personally, I don’t believe that he converted to Catholicism as a teenager. What’s the proof? I could easily say that I converted to Wicca as a 7 year older, but then I reverted back to Baha’i. Piyush also claims that he liked the name “Bobby” from watching the Brady Bunch. Now all of us brown folks here now what a common name “Bobby” is amongst Northern Indians, and I simply don’t buy into his appreciation for the Brady Bunch. I’m sure that this is what his family called him all along. If he’s so all-American, then why did he marry a girl “within his community” (my words, not his) who also grew up in Louisiana? I noticed that his wife, and she certainly is a catch, is also a Punjabi Hindu. I mean, what are the chances of that. It’s apparent that there was parental involvement in this not-so-Christian wedding. 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. He’s just an opportunistic Desi, but he’d do a great job. His mom/dad should disown him for his insincere conversion.

    Stick to rope tricks. Nobody believes you have sight into Bobby Jindal’s heart.

  28. er, portmanteau said “I’m with Rahul (below)” not I…not that there’s anything wrong with that

  29. Besides Hurley to bed, Hurley to rise; Routine pushes man to libidinal demise.

  30. flattery may get you everywhere, but too much brown-nosing will lead to an hurley demise.

  31. I am Hugh.

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

  32. Yeah, I don’t think this is going to happen either and the Tonight Show is about publicity (which all politicans love, whatever stripe). I think even Jindal’s fans (especially the fans) want him to stay put so they can see what he can do as governor.

  33. 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 other South-Indians – 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.

  34. Yeah, I hate the term sell-out, too. Often it’s used as shorthand for, ‘doesn’t support my positions’. “I believe in X, I am desi and yet, another desi believes in Y, so that desi is a sell-out. Oooookay…..

  35. Floating the Jindal balloon

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

  36. Yeah, I hate the term sell-out, too. Often it’s used as shorthand for, ‘doesn’t support my positions’. “I believe in X, I am desi and yet, another desi believes in Y, so that desi is a sell-out.

    It’s not as simple as that. You’re assuming the beliefs held by X and Y are beliefs that are somehow arrived at in some kind of vacuum. Usually when the term sell-out is applied, the belief held by Y is one that either disacknowledges or undermines a shared experienced held by the group inhabited by X and Y (in your instance, desis) and that belief is usually held in order to gain favor by the majority group

    For example, if desi X believes that racism exists and has a significant effect on how we can perform, and desi Y believes that racism is a thing of the past never to be revisted or discussed again, Desi Y really has no recourse to label Desi X a “sell out” because Desi X’s belief doesn’t undermine a shared experience, nor would it gain favor with the group in power, where as vice-versa is true.

    So, sell-out is not simply a replacement for “differing opinion”

  37. yes, desis who support affirmative action are sellouts to the liberal establishment, throwing our shared experience of discrimination under the bus in order to curry favor with the powers that be.

  38. I wonder how the Democrats will slam him if he runs for pres. one day.

    The same way republicans have been slamming Democratic opponents since Lee Atwater… although they don’t do so very skillfully. A good example is NC republicans running ads against Obama and the it’s not even the general election.

  39. I think the point I was making and I feel MD (3:03 PM) was reinforcing is that Desi-critics of Bobby Jindal who label Mr. Jindal a “sell-out” simply because his political platform is not consistent with the critics’ liberal/anti-discrimination views. Additionally, to claim that Mr. Jindal has turned his back on the Desi-community because his cultural and religious views reflect the community he was born and raised in is absurd.

    Why are we questioning the Catholic conversion of an Indian-American who was raised in a heavily Catholic community in Louisiana? The only thing I expect of Mr. Jindal is that he fulfills his obligations to the citizens of Louisiana as the governor of Louisiana. Whatever, Mr. Jindal wants to involve himself in outside of that public duty, family, the Republican party, or to the Desi community – they are his prerogative to make. I don’t feel that Mr. Jindal is a sell-out if he chooses not to be culturally or politically involved in the Desi-community.

    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 am personally sick and tired of this inherent reluctance of Indian-Americans to see ourselves as AMERICANS first. Mr. Jindal is no less of an Indian-AMERICAN now than if he had remained a Hindu.

    The reason I read SM is because I like to feel that there are Indians who are suspicious of this phenomenon within our community. Our community needs to stop this superficial, chest-thumping and Indian (Hindu) flag-waving whenever any Indian-American accomplishes anything as trivial as winning a regional spelling bee or as grand as winning the gubernatorial seat in a historically corrupt and racist state.

    I am proud of my Indian roots and the unique cultural community Indian-Americans have in the USA; but I am an Indian-American. Mr. Jindal has dedicated his life so far to public service to his country of birth and home – the United States. 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). I recognize this criticism as an example of transplanting the communal conflict (see Dr. Lal @ UCLA for more about the communal conflict within India) into the Indian-American political

    Other immigrant groups have been successful in changing American foreign policy toward their home-country by wielding concentrated voting power in critical areas (i.e. Cuban-Americans, Jewish-Americans). But usually the policies adopted re: Cuba/Israel are not for the benefit of the general American public and quite often are detrimental to American interests. 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. If Mr. Jindal was president and his administration declined to grant Mr. Modi permission to enter the USA would he be a sell-out? If that makes me a sell-out, then go ahead label me a sell-out. I hope not. But if that makes me a sell-out…then go ahead and label me a sell-out with my boy Bobby J.

  40. There are a lot of typos in my last post…Sorry. But:

    *into the Indian-American political arena.

  41. 48 · NikhilRam said

    I think the point I was making and I feel MD (3:03 PM) was reinforcing is that Desi-critics of Bobby Jindal who label Mr. Jindal a “sell-out” simply because his political platform is not consistent with the critics’ liberal/anti-discrimination views. Additionally, to claim that Mr. Jindal has turned his back on the Desi-community because his cultural and religious views reflect the community he was born and raised in is absurd. Why are we questioning the Catholic conversion of an Indian-American who was raised in a heavily Catholic community in Louisiana? The only thing I expect of Mr. Jindal is that he fulfills his obligations to the citizens of Louisiana as the governor of Louisiana. Whatever, Mr. Jindal wants to involve himself in outside of that public duty, family, the Republican party, or to the Desi community – they are his prerogative to make. I don’t feel that Mr. Jindal is a sell-out if he chooses not to be culturally or politically involved in the Desi-community. 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 am personally sick and tired of this inherent reluctance of Indian-Americans to see ourselves as AMERICANS first. Mr. Jindal is no less of an Indian-AMERICAN now than if he had remained a Hindu. The reason I read SM is because I like to feel that there are Indians who are suspicious of this phenomenon within our community. Our community needs to stop this superficial, chest-thumping and Indian (Hindu) flag-waving whenever any Indian-American accomplishes anything as trivial as winning a regional spelling bee or as grand as winning the gubernatorial seat in a historically corrupt and racist state. I am proud of my Indian roots and the unique cultural community Indian-Americans have in the USA; but I am an Indian-American. Mr. Jindal has dedicated his life so far to public service to his country of birth and home – the United States. 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). I recognize this criticism as an example of transplanting the communal conflict (see Dr. Lal @ UCLA for more about the communal conflict within India) into the Indian-American political Other immigrant groups have been successful in changing American foreign policy toward their home-country by wielding concentrated voting power in critical areas (i.e. Cuban-Americans, Jewish-Americans). But usually the policies adopted re: Cuba/Israel are not for the benefit of the general American public and quite often are detrimental to American interests. 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. If Mr. Jindal was president and his administration declined to grant Mr. Modi permission to enter the USA would he be a sell-out? If that makes me a sell-out, then go ahead label me a sell-out. I hope not. But if that makes me a sell-out…then go ahead and label me a sell-out with my boy Bobby J.

    Most groups act the same way. Black guys (like Larry Elder or Michael Steele)are given crap by African American who call them sell outs since they are Republicans. I know a bunch of Hispanics, and they tell me that if their kind acts white, those people are looked down upon. It’s just a typical thing. My dad hates the fact that Jindal converted even though we’re not Hindu (Jain). I’m a little more open, and don’t care that he converted.