Dan Gilgoff, who writes the God & Country blog for U.S. News and World Report, says that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is running up against the same “secret Muslim” allegations that dogged Barack Obama.
Gilgoff had posted earlier this week on Jindal’s role as chief responder to President Obama:
I’m surprised that a few comments on my post about Bobby Jindal as the new face of Christian conservatism allege that he’s got ancestral Muslim roots, in addition to the acknowledged Hinduism of his Indian-born parents. Remind you of any other recent rumor campaigns against promising young minority politicians?
What’s surprising is that some of the comments appear to be from pro-Sarah Palin conservatives. They’re a likely preview of what a Jindal primary faceoff with Palin or another Christian conservative might look like, with both vying for conservative Christian support.
I haven’t read any credible profiles of Jindal claiming Muslim roots. I’ve read several pieces that track the extraordinary depth of his early conversion from Hinduism to Catholicism, including his own account of participating in a Christian exorcism.
President Obama waged an intensive, nearly two-year effort to combat the false rumor campaign that he was secretly Muslim. If Jindal is to run for president in 2012—and he insists he won’t—he’ll have to start doing the same thing soon. That might also include debunking false rumors that he’s secretly still Hindu.
Hat tip to redstate.com on the above.
In today’s Washington Post, Howard Kurtz weighs in on the same topic, with a headline that shows his direction: “How bad was Jindal?”
Whatever Jindal had to say—and I’m glad his immigrant father saved enough money to pay for his delivery—he was so oddly paced and awkward that he created an indelible image—and not a flattering one for a rising Republican star.
Following a presidential address to Congress by speaking from an empty room almost guarantees that you’ll fall flat. Tim Kaine was among the Democrats who belly-flopped in the Bush years. But Jindal risks becoming a punchline.
Many conservatives are cringing. Laura Ingraham, on her radio show, said Jindal gestured with only one hand and was “very off-putting … A wonderful human being, I like him very much, but he is a horrible speaker.”