Defending Bobby Jindal

May 6th, 2011

Although Stephanie Grace '87, a political columnist in New Orleans, certainly has a unique vantage point from which to observe Bobby Jindal '92, I do believe her excoriation of his "manifesto" is a bit over the top ("Bobby Jindal's Pitch," Arts & Culture, January/February). As a mid-1960s graduate who attended Brown on a full ROTC scholarship and received a commission in the U.S. Marine Corps, I am disheartened that many find it inconceivable that anyone could have emerged from College Hill with anything other than ultra-progressive dogma.

Grace seems convinced that the Louisiana governor has his sights firmly set on more lofty political ambitions and has written Leadership and Crisis purely and simply to pander to his party's faithful. There is the quite apparent implication that his rhetoric is driven by the desire for personal advancement rather than emanating from his fundamental convictions. She delights in pointing to his "disastrous 2009 speech" in response to President Obama, for which he has become "the butt of late -night jokes." In his book Governor Jindal candidly acknowledges his poor presentation, but I wonder if anyone listened to what he actually said?

I found Leadership and Crisis an interesting read, and while I hardly agree with all his ideas, I found a number of them intriguing for one basic reason: Bobby Jindal lives in the real world. He is truly "walking the walk" by making a difference in a very difficult state that is replete with extraordinary problems. As a chief executive, he has had to deal directly with environmental catastrophes, energy crises, cataclysmic natural disasters, failing economic conditions, and critical health care issues. I believe his résumé would compare quite favorably to those of our past several presidents.

As a Brown graduate I am delighted that the University played a role in the development of this energetic and effective, if conservative, public servant. Jindal may be that unique individual who can synthesize his exposure to the University's lofty halls of liberalism to produce a brand of public service that is rarely seen on Main St., U.S.A. I, for one, am heartened that Brown is still capable from time to time of turning out brilliant, real-world achievers into our broad-based society.

Robert J. DeLuca '66
Friendswood, Tex.


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May/June 2011