Senator Vitter’s lead is hefty and he has racked a large war chest of campaign cash. But as Bob Mann wrote last week, Louisiana voters have “a long history of punishing frontrunners and promoting also-rans.” So is there another candidate out there; a third party candidate who can swoop in at this late date and make a formable run for the Governor’s Mansion? I’m talking about that John Wayne Dude.
In the days following Hurricane Katrina, the Crescent City was in chaos and on the verge of anarchy with little sense of law and order. I was there daily and saw it first hand. The calming force that entered the city leading the Army's 82nd Airborne division and the 1st Cavalry was a native Louisianan, General Russell Honore.’ He was widely credited as being the “Rudy Giuliani of the Gulf Coast” and bringing restraint and stability to the bedlam that had been taking place.
Since retiring from the Army, the General headed up a national consulting firm for disaster response, and has written several books, including nationally acclaimed “Leadership is the New Normal.” He moved back to his home in Point Coupee Parish, and has become a leading environmental voice in the state.
Gen. Honere’ is telling friends and associates that he is seriously considering a race for governor, and is confident, with his national connections, he can raise the necessary funding. And he won’t be caught without an answer in political debates. During the Katrina recovery, his comments included; “This is a Disaster. This isn't something somebody can control. We ain't stuck on stupid.” And my favorite: “I can't swing a dead cat without hitting a reporter.”
So what political banner will he run under? The Republican field is crowded with three well-funded candidates in Vitter, Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne and PSC member Scott Angle. And Democrats have been rallying around John Bell Edwards. So is there an opening for the General? Yes, as he contemplates running with support from the fastest growing politically designated group in the state-Independent voters who have abandoned both republicans and democrats.
There are some 750,000 independents or “No Party” voters in Louisiana, roughly 25% of all voters registered throughout Louisiana. If a large majority of these voters, who have turned their backs on both major parties, could be galvanized behind a charismatic candidate like Gen Honore’, a run-off spot would be possible. Even if he failed to make the runoff, he would still be in a position to have a major affect on who gets elected by his endorsement.
Actually, if Honore’ can rise the necessary funds, he is not that far behind in getting into the race. LSU’s Public Policy Research Department has just released a poll showing that a majority of voters in both parties are paying little attention to the statewide election that takes place in five months. Fewer than 25% of registered voters are even following news about the election. So there is fertile ground for a new entry to gain momentum.
When Gen. Honore’ first arrived in downtown New Orleans by helicopter, he admonished troops surrounding the Convention Center to: “Put your rifles down. We are here to help these people, not harass them.” Louisiana certainly needs a lot of help right now. And it has been a longtime in the state capitol since leadership was anything but normal.
Will this high profile Louisiana heed the call and jump into the political fray? There is still time to organize and put together a major campaign. When or lose, General Honore’ would bring a whole new dimension to the campaign. And to many voters, that would be politically refreshing.
You can't vote that water out of the city of New Orleans.
General Russell Honore’
Peace and Justice
Jim Brown’s syndicated column appears each week in numerous newspapers throughout the nation and on websites worldwide. You can read all his past columns and see continuing updates at http://www.jimbrownusa.com. You can also hear Jim’s nationally syndicated radio show each Sunday morning from 9 am till 11:00 am, central time, on the Genesis Radio Network, with a live stream at http://www.jimbrownusa.com.