October 15, 2003


A new face rises in bayou politics: Jindal could be Louisiana's first non-white governor since Reconstruction. (Kris Axtman, 10/15/03, CS Monitor)

He's been called a wunderkind, a whiz kid, and a political neophyte. And if he wins the runoff election on Nov. 15, 32-year-old Bobby Jindal will become the country's first Indian-American governor.

But when he topped a field of 18 candidates in the Louisiana race earlier this month, his father had one question: "Why didn't you win the election outright?" [...]

Sitting on donated furniture at his campaign headquarters last week, he says in bursts of rapid-fire response that his conversion from Hinduism to Catholicism when he was 18 is the basis for most of his social perspective. He refers to his church's teachings and the pope's writings freely.

"I think my faith is an important part of how I approach life - how I raise my daughter, how I approach my job," he says. "I don't think you can separate your faith from who you are."

Jindal's parents emigrated from India to Baton Rouge in 1971 so his mother could study nuclear physics at LSU. Their first child, Piyush Jindal, was born six months later. At age 4, Piyush informed his family he wanted to be known as "Bobby."

He says it was his father, a civil engineer, who encouraged him and his younger brother to take advantage of the opportunities they had and, in turn, give back to the community.

"He was always pushing us to be better, always pushing us to work harder. He was the kind of father who, when we brought home a 90 percent, he wanted to know about the other 10 percent," says Jindal.

Hard to see any ceiling to his career.

Liberal bigotry, Louisiana politics, and the New York Slimes (Michelle Malkin, 10/15/03, Jewish World Review)

On Oct. 12, Times editorial writer Adam Cohen penned a hit piece masquerading as a profile of Bobby Jindal, the remarkable Republican gubernatorial candidate in Louisiana. Cohen began by noting that while Jindal's primary night victory celebration last weekend was attended by a diverse mix of whites and Indian-Americans, "there was scarcely a black reveler" there.

How many "black revelers" were in attendance at Democratic rival Kathleen Blanco's election night gathering, Cohen did not see fit to print.

Cohen sneered at Jindal's "almost freakishly impressive resume." At 32, the GOP Rhodes Scholar has already turned around Louisiana's bankrupt Medicaid program as Secretary of the state's Department of Health and Hospitals; raised graduation rates, retention, and private donations as president of the University of Louisiana system; and served as a senior health policy adviser in the Bush Administration.

If a young, minority Democrat candidate possessed such a striking record, Cohen almost assuredly would have described it as "extraordinary" or "prodigious." But since the resume belongs to a conservative who happens to be pro-life, pro-school choice, pro-gun rights, and pro-free market, "freakish" is what came to Cohen's narrow mind.

None of Jindal's policy accomplishments matter more to Cohen, however, than this: He is "the dark-skinned son of immigrants from India."

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 15, 2003 9:22 AM

Dad pushed, but dad & mom also gave in on his name and religion.

Posted by: Sandy P. at October 15, 2003 10:10 AM

Ms. Malkin never fails to provoke fury with her incisive columns.

Posted by: Paul Cella at October 15, 2003 11:42 AM

Y'all: Don't expect him to win. The place is a swamp, and, as that's not literally true, popular fiction to the side, I mean that metaphorically. Edwards won there with so many DOJ probes going against him it would make anyone else's head spin. David Duke was a (legit?) GOP candidate. Landrieu was only the latest big-money Dem to take advantage of the incredible corruption and political machine in place there.

I like Jindal. Lots. I'm rooting for him like you wouldn't believe. And he's right: Too many best-and-brightest people leave Louisiana because there's no future there. Something should be done about that, by heaven. And based on the normal voting patters of Redneck and Cajun countries, respectively, he should be a shoo-in, no matter what those loons in New Orleans think.

But he's toast. Bank on it.

Posted by: Chris at October 15, 2003 6:17 PM

And, as my wife never reads these comments: Ms. Malkin provokes a lot more than that, with her looks. How come conservative women are hotties?

Posted by: Chris at October 15, 2003 6:18 PM

The Cohen NYTimes Article that Malkin deconstructs was extremly wierd. See if you can make any sense out of this:

"If Mr. Jindal wins, it may mean not that race no longer matters in Louisiana, but simply that — in a change from the days of Martha Lum — Asian-Americans now fall on the white side of the racial divide.

But he will be a hollow symbol if he ends the white lock on the governor's mansion despite overwhelming opposition from the state's blacks. If the Republican Party really wants to be inclusive, in Louisiana and nationally, it needs to start finding nonwhite candidates that nonwhites want to vote for."

As I said above. the left is now unhinged.

P.S. Last winter Cohen wrote a piece blasting affirmative action opponents for ignoring the damage done to inner city children by decrepid urban schools. His Exhibit A was a high school in Detroit. The only problem was that he igneored the hundred million dollar replacement building that was going up across the street.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at October 16, 2003 1:02 AM

Are there term limits in Louisiana? Three terms as Gov. and he will be ready for the big job. All would be Karl Roves should join up now before the train leaves the station.

Posted by: Vea Victis at October 16, 2003 3:00 AM