Politics & Policy

Washington Post: Bobby Jindal Not Indian Enough

(Andrew Harrer/Getty)

Bobby Jindal is running for president of the United States with a résumé that includes governor of Louisiana, two-term congressman, secretary of Louisiana’s health department, alumnus of the Bush Administration, and Rhodes Scholar. He’s also second-generation Indian American. You can guess what the Washington Post chose to focus on the week he launched his presidential campaign.

The Post’s thesis: “Jindal’s status as a conservative of color helped propel his meteoric rise in the Republican Party,” but “many see him as a man who has spent a lifetime distancing himself from his Indian roots.”

Jindal’s sins are grave: He’s a Catholic convert from Hinduism, as a young child he chose to be called “Bobby” after the youngest of the Brady Bunch, growing up he “ate food that would be familiar to other families in south Louisiana,” and — as his political clout has grown — he has expanded his donor base from a core group of Indian Americans to the wider conservative movement.

The report seems to imply there’s something nefarious — or at least exceptional — in the fact that Jindal “began wearing cowboy boots more often,” acquired a hunting license, and sent out a Christmas card with his family “decked out in camouflage.” What odd behavior from the governor of Louisiana!

In the Left’s view, Rachel Dolezal can “identify as black” and Bruce Jenner can identify as “Caitlyn,” but it’s somehow perplexing that an American politician runs as an “American” rather than explicitly as an “Indian American.”

That said, this seems to be more of a problem for Republican candidates.

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Mark Halperin grills Ted Cruz on the all-important public-policy question of which Cuban dishes, exactly, are his favorite. Halperin even asked the senator from Texas to welcome Bernie Sanders into the presidential field “en Español.”

#related#But Barack Hussein Obama becomes “Barry,” and nobody says a word.

Bobby Jindal forcefully rejected the entire premise of the paper’s profile.

“I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for my parent’s background,” Jindal told the Post. “My parents put a strong emphasis on education, hard work, an unshakable faith. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your last name is. You can be anything in America.”

That sure sounds like a statement that all Indian-Americans — and all Americans — can be proud of.

— Mark Antonio Wright is an intern at National Review.

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