In the runoff, Jindal was savaged by negative ads from the campaign of Democrat Kathleen Babineaux Blanco. The ads showed a darkened Jindal and called him a heartless bean-counter.
Instead of hitting back, Jindal took the high road. He refused to dignify what he believed were false smears with a full response. Going into the runoff, the race was tied. Jindal would wind up losing to the lesser Blanco by four points. He lost conservative northern Louisiana communities he should have won. That was the last time, Jindal resolved, that he would be blindsided by negative attacks.
Bobby would be back. A few weeks later, he announced for Congress, a race he easily won. It was in his first year that he and the state faced the defining event that would lead to the reckoning Louisiana faces now.
Where the hapless Blanco dithered and federal officials sat on their hands during Hurricane Katrina, Bobby Jindal was one who led. RedState's Ben Domenech tells the story of one helicopter pilot raring to save people from the deluge. They thought to ask for authorization to do the job of the Coast Guard. They called FEMA, the Department of Transportation, the military. No one could give them a straight answer.
So Jindal told the pilot, "Go in."
"You got me authorization?" replied the pilot.
"Yeah, I'm giving you your authorization right now," said the first-term Congressman.
In a country that's seen the Republican brand sag because of corruption and managerial incompetence, one state stands alone in returning to its Republican roots: Louisiana. That's because they've lived corruption and big government incompetence -- on steroids. And the party that failed Louisiana when lives were at stake were the Democrats. The people who felt the wrath of Katrina most directly blamed local Democrats, and not the distant Republican administration in Washington.
Louisiana has a chance -- a moment -- to reform a culture of corruption and cut its bloated government. While the rest of the South boomed, Louisiana was left behind, mired in a culture of dependence and corrupt, rent-seeking politicians. The one who's set to undo that tragic legacy that culminated in Katrina is Bobby Jindal, the anti-Huey Long.
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