Opinion: Happy belated birthday, Bobby Jindal


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Sepia Mutiny reports that yesterday was Louisiana Governor and vice presidential refuse-to-refusenik Bobby Jindal’s birthday. Here’s a little something from Dust-Upper Megan McArdle:

I like Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. He’s strong in the South (and speaks with a good-old-boy accent), but he’d also be the Republicans’ first non-white vice presidential candidate. He’s a great speaker, and he’s widely recognized in the party as a brilliant up-and-comer who people want to know. Like Sebelius, he’s known in his state for reaching across the aisle to get important things done, such as his anti-corruption initiatives. He’s also staunchly -- some might say insanely -- pro-life.


(For the record, I’d be among those ‘some.’)

Jindal seemed a longshot for the veep slot at first -- he’s barely of age, and he initially pledged to continue the governor term he won only months ago. But a shot of youth (and the skinny, wide-eyed kind at that) might help McCain quite a bit -- not to mention all those characteristics McArdle mentions, and Jindal’s do-gooding in a place that epitomizes all that went wrong in the Bush administration.

Like the Sepia bloggers, I’d be more curious about how questions of his identity would play out on a national stage. He’s the son of Indian immigrants who claims to have decided to go by Bobby instead of Piyush at age 4. And he converted to Catholicism as a youth (younger youth?). Sepia wonders if Democrats would be just as likely as Republicans to make bones about funny names and un-Americanness, but it seems that would be a difficult tack for the Democrats to take given their candidate and the flak he’s suffered. The only point where I’d imagine this might come into play is Jindal’s support as a congressman for the Indian nuclear deal (many Americans, including those on the editorial board, opposed the pact).

At least it would be sort of amusing to see an Indian American debated on such a grand scale not for his funny name or funny religion, but rather, for his extreme practices in his chosen faith.

*Photo courtesy Associated Press.