The plan was for Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, a rising Republican star who had been a possible running mate for John McCain, to take a turn in the national spotlight with a televised speech at the party’s convention.
Jindal is in the spotlight, but not in Minnesota. Instead, he’s 1,000 miles down the Mississippi River, directing Louisiana’s battle against Gustav from a storm-whipped command centre in Baton Rouge.
Almost exactly three years after Katrina flooded New Orleans and wrecked his predecessor’s career, Jindal’s response to Gustav may determine his prospects for national prominence. Jindal shrugs off questions about the hurricane’s political consequences. “I don’t think it matters at all,'” Jindal says. “The only thing that matters is making sure our people are safe.”