Monday, 09 November 2015 11:09
LABI: Louisiana will pay piper with Edwards victory
Written by 

labiby Stephen Waguespack, President of Louisiana Association of Business and Industry 

The Louisiana people are rightly frustrated and they are looking for hope. They want a new approach to old problems, inspiring leadership to rally around, honesty to admire and integrity to emulate.

 

On November 21, voters head to the polls in hopes of fulfilling this objective, yet many are still unsure of how best to do it. Do they vote on personality or ideology? Do they vote on likeability or capability? Do they vote conservative or liberal? Do they vote at all?

 
While many voters sort through this confusion, they hear a sound in the distance.
 
It grows louder by the day and contains all the right notes and melodies. This sweet music is appealing to the ear, so much so, that many voters may ultimately be unwittingly led out of their conservative comfort zones into unchartered liberal territory. 
 
Similar to the Pied Piper’s famous tune, this music is artfully playing to the voters’ emotions and leaving many in a haze that may not be lifted until it is too late.
 
For the last year, Rep. John Bel Edwards has run for governor against three Republicans. In that time, those three Republicans have taken turns attacking one another in the hopes of convincing an overwhelmingly conservative state like Louisiana that they were the best man for the job. It wasn’t pretty to watch. It left voters frustrated and those men battered and bruised. 

All the while, the lone Democrat in the race watched his competitors eat one another alive as his campaign consultants portrayed their candidate as a moderate.

During that time, his campaign was never challenged and played uninterrupted the music that plays to his most admirable attributes:  his distinguished military education and his close-knit family. This is a tune that plays well to any audience.
 
His campaign consultants have also serenaded us with tales of making government more efficient, opposing tax increases and putting the needs of students first, despite the fact that their candidate’s career voting record directly contradicts all of those priorities. Edwards has consistently opposed efforts to reign in government spending, supported bills to raise taxes and led the attack time and time again on educational choice, school letter grades and other reforms that empower parents and students.
 
His campaign’s song does not reflect the reality of his political agenda nor the policies his potential administration will pursue.
 
If elected governor, Edwards will likely move quickly to select liberal appointees to his governing cabinet and throughout state agencies, boards and commissions. He will bring tremendous pressure on the Legislature to stack committees similarly. 
 
He will likely push for the tax-writing committees to be a launching pad for tax hikes and the budget-writing committees to be the same with spending. Committees that tackle legislation to reform our educational system or legal climate will be filled with those that persistently defend decades of failed policy.
 
Many of the hard fought reforms won over the last 20 years, through both Democrat and Republican administrations, will likely either whither on the vine or be quickly torn out by the roots.
 
The chickens will be put back in every pot and every man will once again be a king, no matter the costs, thanks to a growing government that will try to be all things to all people.
 
If his campaign strategy is successful on November 21, many national liberal commentators and political consultants will quickly point to Louisiana as proof that the president’s policies can win in the South. The upset victory by a conservative in the Kentucky governor race last week has left this group grasping at straws recently to find a talking point that works.
 
An election night victory in Louisiana by Edwards would be like a winning lottery ticket for them. It will be trumpeted by the liberal consultants in Washington, D.C. as proof that the president has coat tails after all.
 
Should Edwards be victorious, they will all claim different reasons why he won. Some will say it was because he ran on Medicaid expansion. Others will say he won because he fought against religious liberty in the Legislature. Some will say he won because it is proof that voters don’t really care about things like supporting President Obama’s nomination, continued funding for Planned Parenthood or tax increases after all. 
 
They will say Louisiana is no longer a conservative state and it is now the new model to use in the effort to turn the rest of the South “blue” again. Hillary Clinton will likely put Louisiana back on the drawing board and call the new governor for tips on how he did it.
 
Louisiana will become the new poster child for liberals around the nation to justify that their agenda actually does work in the South.
 
That is what is about to happen, but the music we hear does not speak to any of that. Instead, the Pied Piper’s music ignores all of that and simply speaks in platitudes and encourages us to march out of town to the promise land. It describes why we should leave our current spot but it definitely doesn’t tell us what is waiting for us once we get there.
 
It is time to ignore the music and lift the haze. Turn down the volume before it’s too late. Unplug the headphones or simply press mute. Do whatever it takes, but do not be deceived into marching to a more liberal place you don’t want to go.
 
Louisiana is a conservative state that is rightly frustrated. We are hungry for conservative solutions to our challenges. We want a leader that is focused on our problems and able to develop the conservative plan to fix them once and for all.
 
John Bel Edwards is a good man, but he is not a conservative. He has not governed as a conservative in the Legislature and he will not do so as governor. His campaign’s music masks the truth about his voting record, as well as the truth about the policies and priorities he would pursue as governor.
 
This has been the plan all along:  watch the Republican candidates go after one another, stay out of their way and play that sweet music. Thus far, the Pied Piper’s plan is working to perfection. 
 
On November 21, one way or another, the music will finally stop. When that moment comes, if the Pied Piper’s song prevails, don’t be surprised when conservatives are left standing without a chair.

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