"If I go down as one of the more boring but effective governors, I'll take that as a great compliment. Our people don't want to be amused by our politics anymore. We don't want to be entertained."
--Bobby Jindal at an Oct. 21 news conference, one day after Louisiana voters here made history by electing him, the first Indian-American governor in the nation.
Is it just me, or am I the only one perplexed (and slightly amused) by his comment?
Nothing, and I do mean nothing, about Piyush “Bobby” Jindal is boring. With his name-changing, religion ditching and seemingly race switching, he is far from boring. I could argue that he is entertaining.
I mean I like that he’s vowed to clean up corruption and has embraced his image as a bureaucratic, methodical leader. I admire that he’s only 36 and has already achieved far more than most ever will in a lifetime. Ten lifetimes.
Jindal is setting himself up to be one of our nation’s presidents and I can’t knock him for his tenacity for running for governor twice before he won—outright this time. I can’t say anything bad about his ambition; he’s already served as a congressman and director of health and hospitals for the state. He’s got a young family and seems to have some good ideas about moving the state forward.
But what I can say about Jindal is that his background is storied: converted to Catholicism in college at Brown University. Ditched his given name of Piyush for Bobby (he got that from the Brady Bunch). He is a Republican when most Indian Americans aren’t. It all makes for very interesting conversation. I almost want some type of in-depth look at these things, especially now that he’s the state’s ambassador.
Call me crazy, but maybe Bobby isn’t.
Maybe all that swapping, likening himself to what most politicians are: white and male, is about just that. Maybe he thought he couldn’t win an election, especially in this state, without doing all the things he’s done. Maybe he hasn’t abandoned his culture totally, as some have already suggested, but maybe he was doing what he felt he had to win.
Is that so bad?