Bobby Jindal on McCain’s VP Short List May 21, 2008

Bobby Jindal on McCain’s VP Short List

Word on the street is that John McCain is meeting with potential running mates this coming weekend.

Among them: Mitt Romney… Governor Charlie Crist of Florida… and Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.

I’m worried.

Not because I think McCain will have a strong enough ticket to beat Barack Obama. But because of that third option.

Of all the names being mentioned as McCain’s potential running mate, Piyush “Bobby” Jindal, the 36-year-old first-term governor of Louisiana, is not only the youngest and least experienced, but also the only one who is not white. Yet in a year in which Democratic voters have raised few objections to such traditional “obstacles,” Jindal may be especially attractive as Republicans seek a way to offset the “post-racial” and youthful appeal of Senator Barack Obama.

Jindal, who was born in Baton Rouge to a family that had just arrived there from the Punjab area of India, took office in January after serving three years in the House of Representatives. In a race with four candidates, Jindal, who was born a Hindu but converted to Roman Catholicism as a teenager, won 54 percent of the vote after campaigning as a social conservative…

Jindal is young. He’s relatively popular among Republicans. And he’s brown.


The New York TimesWilliam Kristol also thinks Jindal would be a solid Vice-Presidential pick.

I hope that doesn’t happen. For purely selfish reasons.

Do you have any idea how annoying it would be to deal with 293847293 Indian family members and friends talking about how wonderful it is that a desi has a legitimate shot of going to the White House? You can bet that many Indians will overlook his positions and just look at his skin color.

As one Indian website writes:

To see Jindal just a heartbeat away from the US Presidency should gladden our hearts. If he makes it, it will be a jewel in the crown for Indian Americans. His loyalty will be to his country of adoption, but it will be a dream come true for Indian Americans.

Not a dream. *So* not a dream. It’s not a dream to have another Republican in power who’s going to further ruin this country… and have it be the most famous Indian person in America.

While many Indians will be proud, I’d have to argue how he’s bad for our country every step of the way.

(The analogy isn’t quite the same, but I also wouldn’t want to be a black man telling other black people to vote against Barack Obama.)

Why am I not supporting Bobby Jindal as Vice-President?

  • He voted against expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines.
  • He’s completely anti-abortion, even in cases of rape or incest, getting a 100% rating from the National Right to Life Committee.
  • He is completely opposed to gay rights, earning a 0% rating from the Human Rights Campaign.
  • Church-state separation? Forget it. Americans United for Separation of Church and State give him a 0% rating.
  • He thinks “intelligent design as an alternative to evolution may not be out of place in public schools,” so we know his support of real science would be minimal.
  • Rush Limbaugh called him the “next Ronald Reagan.”
  • He once wrote about a friend who was possessed by the devil… meaning he believes someone could actually be possessed by a devil.

A little more on his Intelligent Design position.

In a gubernatorial debate that took place on September 27th of last year, this is what went down:

Baton Rouge Advocate columnist Carl Redman: “What about intelligent design? And the issue really is, it’s not what’s on the books, but if this comes up again. Because this state has wrestled with creationism and spent a lot of time and resources. I was covering the legislature for a couple years when they wrestled with the abortion issue. It could come back at any time. What the governor does is very critical [in those fields?].”

Jindal [nodding]: “Sure, and let’s talk about intelligent design. I’m a biology major. That’s my degree. The reality is there are a lot of things that we don’t understand. There’s no theory in science that could explain how, contrary to the laws of entropy, you could create order out of chaos. There’s no scientific theory that explains how you can create organic life out of inorganic matter. I think we owe it to our children to teach them the best possible modern scientific facts and theories. Teach them what different theories are out there for the things that aren’t answerable by science, that aren’t answered by science. Let them decide for themselves. I don’t think we should be scared to do that. Personally, it certainly makes sense to me that when you look at creation, you would believe in a creator. Let’s not be afraid to teach our kids the very best science.”

According to science advocate Barbara Forrest:

Jindal’s remarks, which clearly signal his support for teaching ID, are a study in incoherence. On one hand, this Rhodes scholar wants “the very best science” taught to children. On the other, his assertion that children should be told “what different theories are out there” in order to explain what science cannot is an admission that ID is not science. His inference of a creator from “looking at creation,” while legitimate as a personal religious belief, is at odds with his statement that “our kids” should be taught “the very best science.” Putting the two together in a public school science class violates not only the standards of responsible science teaching but the U.S. Constitution as well.

It’s easy to say I’m dismissing him for simply being a conservative Republican, but it’s more than that.

Despite his success in Louisiana politics, he’s an embarrassment to many Indian people. He doesn’t share the values so many of the rest of us do.

The culture I grew up in encouraged a strong education — especially in the sciences. He throws solid science out the window.

I was taught to respect all people and to stand up for their rights. As a minority, you hope others will do the same for you. Yet, he routinely advocates anti-gay, anti-woman policies in favor of socially conservative, irresponsible positions.

Of course, these values along with many others aren’t limited to just the Indian culture.

But how did it happen that the most prominent politician among us had to be the anomaly?

[tags]atheist, atheism, Indian-American[/tags]

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  • Kate

    Will you be abandoning your brown-ness if he gets it?

  • Sam

    In terms of values, I think many brown people (FOBS) are initially conservative, especially on my end of the tunnel. As for education, I think a lot of South Asians, whether Muslims or Hindus are rather conservatives in their attitudes towards families and tradition, hence relate on these issues with conservatives, when marketed to in this manner. Their children either follow in their footsteps if they are conformists, but I find that those who end up in the sciences, business or economics are left leaning — however engineers can go either way. In terms of supporting education, yes it’s true that they push their children academically but that’s not necessarily because they believe in science or the ideals of the renaissance or free inquiry, but rather because it’s a part of the competitive culture. I think ultimately the problem is that conservativeness goes hand in hand with a number of characteristics that makes people ethnocentric and bigoted and two groups of conservatives necessarily hate each other unless they can find common ground to unite. I don’t think that South Asians have any common ground with American (Christian) conservatives as seen by the incident of the Hindu prayer in Senate. Unfortunately, many South Asian conservatives simply are not capable of processing their information and end up voting and supporting the same people that would take away their rights and civil liberties.

  • The most obnoxious frame ever: “Do you like him because he’s Indian or do you dislike him because he’s not true to his Indian heritage?”

  • Trouble

    He was not BORN a Hindu.

  • cl

    Well, he first botches Carnot’s principle, and second, theories can’t explain what science cannot. Science studies behavior, causality. Since we have no observable data for anything that exists pre-Planck time, assessing whether the cause of the universe was natural or divine is simply outside the jurisdiction of science. Trying to chase God down via science is kind of arrogant if you ask me, and believers who do so are amazing. Presupposing an omnipotent God, who are we to think we could prove existence through unaided reason like the ontological arguments claim? ID is more accurately philosophy, in some cases religion…sorry to get carried away; it was a thought-provoking post!

  • mikespeir

    Actually, if he had remained a Hindu I might have found him more appealing; not because I have any more love for Hinduism than Roman Catholicism, but because I think it wouldn’t hurt us to mix it up a bit.

    Of course, the list of his beliefs is troubling. Now, for all I know he may have converted because he was sincerely persuaded in that direction. I have to wonder, though. I wonder whether, rather than Hinduism or Catholicism, his real religion isn’t Opportunism.

  • Robin

    But how did it happen that the most prominent politician among us had to be the anomaly?

    Two words: Stephin Fetchit.

    Google it.

  • J Myers

    Entropy? Really?? So he’s stupid and evil; amazing that Bush never hired him for something.

  • Robin … that’s just obnoxious. The comment smacks of projection on your part. Google it.

    So … exactly when can we get a non-socialist atheist candidate … of any color?

  • Darryl

    Republicans learn from their mistakes and adapt. Just wait and see: next time around they’ll have a female running mate. They know that the future is brown, and they’re got to co-opt the color if they can. That is what Jindal is about. Whatever it takes to win–that’s the Republican way. Call me a fundamentalist, but I hate these bastards.

  • Robin


    Do you really think that if this guy was still a Hindu, or had voted pro-gay or pro-stem cell research, that he’d actually be being considered for the Vice Presidential slot on the ticket?

    He’s nothing but a tool to shore up support amongst those “social conservatives” who are uncomfortable with McCain’s more middle-of-the-road voting record.

    Let’s face it, should the guy actually become President, the whack-job right would be less concerned about his skin color, considering he walks in lock-step with them.

    The McCain campaign wants someone without an original thought in his head to make the far-right happy, and if he happens to be non-white, that just deflects the notion that the conservatives are bigots.

    Or am I being too cynical here?

  • Karen

    He’s nothing but a tool to shore up support amongst those “social conservatives” who are uncomfortable with McCain’s more middle-of-the-road voting record.

    If he’s looking to shore up his conservative bloc, which I agree he probably is, he will not go for this young, unknown, brown-skinned guy who looks like a “furriner.” The same people who spread rumors that Barack is a Muslim will decide that Jindal is a Hindu, or a Buddhist, or a Muslim as well.

    He’d be much better off picking Brownback if he wants to appeal to conservatives and Christians.

    I really doubt he’ll pick this guy who has very little track record and almost no national profile outside of political junkies like myself and his fellow Indian-Americans. It’s interesting that he’s apparently on the short list, but I can’t see it happening.

  • Robin: Yes, he is a bible-thumper … which is why the bible thumper wing of the R’s support him. Color is becoming increasingly irrelevant, even for Republicans.

    I would like to see more politicians of Barry Goldwater’s calibre, and less of Huckaclown’s … the R’s will have to take another few election year beatings until they can figure out that God-botherers and/or Socialism-lite won’t ever win elections.

    The Dems, were, until recently, the party of Jim Crow. Your “step-and-fetchit” reference ain’t improving that old perception any … when D’s throw Oreos at Republicans of color, and make racist references like that ( here I thought only the Neo-Nazis believed in the concept of “race traitor”? ), it says way more about them then it does about Republicans.

  • BMcP

    Rush Limbaugh called him the “next Ronald Reagan.”

    I liked Ronald Reagen, why is simply calling him that a negative, especially since it was meant as a compliment?

  • bmmg39

    “The McCain campaign wants someone without an original thought in his head to make the far-right happy, and if he happens to be non-white, that just deflects the notion that the conservatives are bigots.”

    Which is it? Is he an “anomaly,” or does he “not have an original thought in his head”? Can’t have it both ways. And are you one of those who believes that one must share your views in order to be thinking for himself or herself?

    By the way, there are plenty of us who support full rights for gays and lesbians, while still opposing the killing of any human being for the purposes of medical research. You don’t need to believe in a higher power to hold these views, either.

  • Jindal used to be a good guy. Then he went to Washington for a few years and came back a first-class panderer. You should have heard the guy during the gubernatorial campaign. Doesn’t matter what you want to hear, he’ll tell you.

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