Is the Louisiana Democratic Party race-baiting by consistently using Congressman Bobby Jindal's given name of Piyush? That's what Dan Turner of the Shreveport Times says:
One of the lingering issues is whether enough Louisiana voters attach any relevance to Jindal's Indian heritage. The state Democratic Party has played the race card for months, regularly referring to Jindal by his given first name, "Piyush" in press releases.
"People voted their biggest hates and fears first," Stonecipher said. "If it comes down to Bobby and a moderate or conservative white candidate, the vote goes to the Democrat. If it's Bobby and someone clearly left-of-center, the vote goes to Bobby."
The point was noted by Chris Fillizza of the Washington Post (via IALIPAC) in an interesting piece examining the lessons Jindal's latest campaign - he's running again for governor - would hold for another politician of color: Barack Obama.
If you look at the Louisiana Democratic Party's website, you'll see that it does refer to him as Piyush "Bobby" Jindal, as if "Bobby" were a nickname. Quotes from a few press releases...
- "Piyush 'Bobby' Jindal keeps saying he won’t play the political blame game in his run for governor. But then, being forthright about his intentions isn’t in Jindal’s playbook." (Nov. 21 release)
- "It seems Piyush 'Bobby' Jindal is loosening his grip on those Bush coattails by not coming out in favor of the president’s plan to increase deployment in Iraq." (Jan. 12, 2007 release)
- "Piyush (Bobby) Jindal has finally admitted to a partial divine revelation that he wants to be governor. This revelation has told him to seek out his most valued supporters, ask of them large amounts of money while he continues to pray for an answer to his most burning question – Should I be Governor?" (Nov. 16 release)
If you read Bobby Jindal's biography, on his website, he doesn't mention the name 'Piyush' once. As Chris Fillizza writes...
Every campaign is different, and what happened to Jindal or Gantt isn't necessarily predictive of what Obama will face in the coming months. But the Piyush/Bobby issue is indicative of the way that race and ethnicity can be subtly -- or not so subtly -- injected into politics.