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James Brody November 21st, 2010 04:00 PM

American Bobby Jindal: A Review
Bobby Jindal’s (2010) Leadership and Crisis. Washington, D.C.: Regnery. About $20 with discounts.

“It’s not America’s government that has made America great. It’s Americans. It’s the people who are, at their core, are so incredibly uncommon.” p. 125

“The son of Indian immigrants, a Christian convert from Hinduism, and a Rhodes Scholar, Jindal presided over Louisiana’s healthcare system at 24, headed the University of Louisiana system at 27, became a U.S. Congressman at 33, and was elected governor of Louisiana at 36.”

He’s now written a book that shows him to have smarts, humility, good humor, and no secrets.

Jindal’s father was the fifth of nine children in a poor village in northern India. Dad walked six miles each way to school, was the only one in the family to go beyond the 6th grade, and earned a degree in civil engineering. His mother, parented by middle class Indians, has advanced degrees in physics. They came to this country for their children’s future. Mom, however, lost her career when maundering Jimmy Carter ended our construction of nuclear plants. Dad found his first job in Louisiana by going through the Yellow Pages and asking strangers if they were hiring.

His wife Supriya, advisor, and beautiful best friend, has given him three children. (The third he delivered in their bathroom.) She has a degree in chemical engineering and consults and pursues science education for young people instead of baking cookies.

A third of us have a religious sense, a third do not, and a middle third often does whatever the neighbors do. Jindal not only has a religious sense, he trains it, reads persistently, and advocates for Christianity in spite of his academic excellence. Yes, smart people can believe in God.
Jindal practices “management by walking around.” He enjoys systems analysis but talks with local people who kindle him and when he faces a problem, he usually solves it with local talents.

Katrina, for example, flooded eighty percent of New Orleans, Congressman Jindal came home from Washington and gave the state’s Coast Guard and National Guard permission to do what they do well. FEMA was useless.
Sheriff Harry Lee took over many operations: “This is Sheriff Harry Lee. You can come and arrest me. And Congressman Jindal’s here – You can come and arrest him, too.” There were also some big helpers: Texas governor Rick Perry sent him six C130s to ferry people from Louisiana to hospitals in Texas; Ford Motors gave him a fleet of trucks, gassed, and keys in the ignition. Budweiser sent water and ice and Jindal parlayed these gestures into comparable donations from other companies. He also gave local leaders “authorization” to do the necessary things. Again, local people solved local problems as signs appeared everywhere, “If you need something, come here.”

His tactics on the Gulf oil spill were similar. Local people solved local problems while Obama dithered over what people might say and BP execs thought about their vacation plans. Federal flunkies wanted forms completed and Washington committees to meet; Jindal wanted the oil blocked, sucked up, and dispersed. After all, people needed to fish, birds needed to nest, motel and restaurants needed tourists. Bobby seemed to carry every living thing safe in his pocket.

Jindal writes well and with humor. Example: Louisiana is usually known to be under water or under indictment and he swore to be the most boring governor in that state’s history. His wife remarked that he would have no problem with the boring part! Or their children were always “his” children when they needed a diaper change! (They are also “his” children when someone wants to abort them.)

He seems most at home solving problems in healthcare, education, and conflicts between his state and Washington’s needy, greedy cancers. He regularly says no to a bureaucrat - president or czar - and tells secrets about lobbyists, Congress, federal committees, and federal forms. He will also politely and with humor, ignore or end run them. Jindal can do for our nation what he has done for his state.

A clear book by an honest man….

Also at

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