Name Games In Louisiana

by John Hawkins | May 29, 2007 10:18 am

Democrats always complain when Republicans happen to mention the middle name of presidential candidate, B. Hussein Obama, but apparently they don’t have a problem with playing the same sort of name games with Bobby Jindal[1] in Louisiana,

“Mention the name “Bobby” in Louisiana political circles these days and most everyone will assume you are talking about Bobby Jindal, the popular second-term congressman now running at the top of the polls for governor.

But some Democrats would like to remind voters that Bobby Jindal has another name: Piyush.

In news releases, interviews and small talk, they frequently refer to Jindal by his Indian, given first name. Last week, “Piyush” popped out of the mouth of former Sen. John Breaux, D-La., who briefly considered running for governor.

…Jindal brushes it off as a “silly schoolyard tactic.” Others, however, say it is a blatantly racist appeal that seeks to score political points by stoking biases many had hoped were on the wane in the Deep South.

… On a more subliminal level, former Vice President George H.W. Bush in 1987 famously called Republican presidential rival Pete du Pont by his given name, Pierre, creating an elite, French-sounding sobriquet. In 1969, Democrats in Virginia reminded voters that the Republican A. Linwood Holton’s name was Abner. And just as Democrats labeled President Richard Nixon “Tricky Dick,” a generation later Republicans came up with “Slick Willy” for President Bill Clinton.

Currently, conservative commentators like to remind voters that the middle name of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., is Hussein.

They defend it by saying Hussein is part of the candidate’s legal name. But Democrats and civil rights groups have been quick to criticize it as a racist attempt to leave the impression that there is something mysterious, foreign and possibly dangerous in the background of the freshman senator.”

Now, me? I don’t think it’s racist to point out the middle name of a candidate. I don’t think it’s racist when it’s done with Obama, when it’s done with Jindal, or when Democrats did it with George “Felix” Allen.

But, Democrats? If they do think it’s racist, then they should be sharply critical of their fellow party members in Louisiana for their bigoted behavior.

PS: If that’s the best they’ve got, I look forward to seeing Bobby Jindal, who is very popular in Louisiana, in the Governor’s mansion after the next election in that state.

  1. Bobby Jindal:

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