Happy Birthday, Piyush

Today, June 10th, is Governor Jindal of Luisiana’s 37th birthday. We’re squeaking in just before the witching hour, but I just noticed it on The Page and wanted to acknowledge the Youngest Governor’s Ever’s special day.

Louisiana’s leader spends part of his 37th birthday on Fox News, promoting McCain’s economic plan and the Bayou State’s turnaround. Seeks to bat away VP questions, but declines to give a “Shermanesque” response like Strickland, saying it would be “presumptuous” to reject a job he hasn’t been offered. link

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We’ve discussed Bobby Jindal at length on this blog, and I know each mutineer has wildly varying yet equally complicated thoughts on the man. For now, I’d like to highlight the issue of his name:

Jindal was born in Baton Rouge, the first child of Indian immigrants. Bobby is a self-ascribed nickname. Jindal says he adopted it when he was 4 years old and a fan of the puckish youngest boy on “The Brady Bunch” TV show. His legal name remains Piyush, but even his family, he said, calls him Bobby. link

The above quote is from a great article in The Times Picayune, “Name game can have racial tinge”. Right now, much is made of the right-wing attack machine’s use of Barack Obama’s middle name, Hussein, to alienate those blue-collar, hard-working Americans from this dark-skinned “other”. But what of the fact that Dems are using Bobby’s Indian name in referring to him? Is it equally innocuous/vile? I can’t say I support the Governor, so would it be disparaging of me to use his birth name? Who knows what truly lies within the heart of a man…but can we, who share some background with him, speculate? I’ve just got questions right now, and hope to try to answer them in another post, some other time. But until then, please check out the article and let us know what you think.

62 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Piyush

  1. Jindal could have anglized his original first name to “Pius” like the Pope Pius, since he is also a Catholic.

  2. In reference to my last post, I think Pius is actually a Latin or Greek name or origins that are not necessarily English. So I should not say “Anglicized” (which is spelled incorrectly – oops).

  3. I grew up in Baton Rouge in the 80′s. There was a very small, tight knit Indian community back in then. We all knew him as Bobby. If the goal is to become the next Maureen Dowd, NY Times columnist who uses ‘Bushies’ ‘Rummy’ and Wolfie (Paul Wolfowitz) quite commonly in her editorials, then I’m sure there is a place for using ‘Piyush’ or a version of it somewhere too.

    Democrats use of his real name in public just points to their lack of originality, stealing from the Republican Playbook. Although it just may work…

  4. But what of the fact that Dems are using Bobby’s Indian name in referring to him? Is it equally innocuous/vile?

    Yes.

  5. 54 · dark and unbalanced said

    i think baby mama wins hands down. even better than terrorist fist jab.

    nah, too obvious. that’s for amateurs. a good southern strategy uses passive aggression so your opponent’s cornered and can’t complain. in fact, you want him to complain, so he looks like a whiner. win/win situation. like; “i take him on the basis of what he says…there’s nothing to base that on…as far as i know.” beautiful.

  6. Sad to see anyone celebrating Jindal’s rise. The mere pride in wanting to see an Indian be in the VP spot should not blind us to his true nature.

    Of course, an a complete Democrat and strong leftist myself, I always have to do a reality check when I see an Indian so totally right-wing as him (not that I’m naive, my political experience with Indians does not jibe with someone like him.)

    See http://www.seeinggreen.net for my blog entry on Jindal’s devilish personality (if it’s ok to post links.)

  7. it’s racist to not call someone by their name in order to draw attention to their South Asian ethnicity (or to highlight the fact that he says he’s performed an exorcism), but I think in this case it’s not quite as bad as to not call someone by their name in order to call them Muslim, mainly because of the places of the two in American race right now.

    But it’s more relevant, I think, is that it’s not really worth going to a u.s. politican’s birthday if it’s even in question whether they would allow rape victims to have abortions.

  8. I think we should call people by their real names. Barack Obama didn’t change his name to further his political career. He didn’t drop the middle name Hussein after 9/11, to save himself political grief. Bobby Jindal has been shifting his image to appear more mainstream and acceptable. The only problem is, he belongs to the party that shuns ‘others’. I don’t care if you name yourself after a Brady Bunch kid, or change your religion, Governor. You don’t look like a “real American” to the GOP. they are all about the “real America”. Weren’t you here to witness the LAST election?

  9. 9 · don’t messiah said

    but what of the fact that Dems are using Bobby’s Indian name in referring to him? Is it equally innocuous/vile?
    it undoubtedly is since it is born out of the same exclusionary motives.

    What’s wrong with calling someone by their given name? Unlike the GOP, Dems are not using his name to call him a Muslim or a Terrorist. Piyush is his real first name. He never legally changed it.