I hope everyone enjoyed their recent Memorial Day weekend. Many Louisianans were vacationing over the long holiday or enjoying a cookout with family and friends. Many stores held sales advertising for us to have a “Happy Memorial Day.” All well and good, but what about the real purpose of this special day?
Qualification for this fall’s gubernatorial election is less than five months away. So far, there are only two races at the statewide level that are competitive. The governor’s race always draws a crowd, with Governor Edwards being challenged so far by two major and well-funded opponents. The other major contest pits the incumbent insurance commissioner in the run for his political life against well-funded newcomer Tim Temple. Incumbents in the other statewide offices have no opposition so far.
What must a candidate running for public office do to get noticed? Does it make a difference whether the candidate is new to the political scene versus someone who has tire marks of experience? Has the Internet changed this process and if so, how? What role does polling have for those who are new to the campaign trail, compared to someone who has a track history of electioneering? Are polls necessary in all races?
Has technology replaced the need for shaking hands, kissing babies, making country fairs, often described as "retail politics"? How should campaign officials and candidates optimize the “retail politics” experiences? What are some of the issues all politicians should consider when considering whether to employ a pollster and when determining whom to hire? What is the political climate--has it changed over the past year and if so, what should candidates with upcoming races do to position themselves in their next election run?
There seems to be a wealth of fabricators at the state capitol in Baton Rouge. Gov. Edwards is accusing U.S. Senator John Kennedy of making "untruthful comments" on the early release of state prisoners. Kennedy has countered back calling out the Governor for “bending the truth.” Two state senators physically squared off against each other in a local bar. And both Democrat and Republican legislators have accused each other of “hiding the truth” as to just whose at fault over the state’s perilous financial condition.
What’s a governor to do? What’s a Louisiana governor to do?
Which was somewhat the issue discussed yesterday. That’s when long-time State elected official and political observer Jim Brown and equally long-time political writer Tom Aswell (publisher of LouisianaVoice) and I got together online to talk about the current budget mess up in Baton Rouge. That mess might also be known as the “second special Louisiana Legislative fiscal session of 2018”. If the mess is not cleaned sufficiently over the next seven days, there is talk about a third crack at getting it right.
The Governor in question, of course is Democrat John Bel Edwards. He has started his third year in office and is trying to get his agenda and budget plans through the Republican-dominated legislature. His approach is a blend of taxes and spending cuts.
Another spring, another special session.
Is it the sixth since Governor John Bel Edwards took over from Bobby Jindal? Like Sally Bowes sang in Cabaret, "maybe this time"?
As the Louisiana regular session comes to an abrupt close this week, the special session focused upon a gaping $650 million hole, begins Tuesday. After two successive shoo shoos fiscal sessions meant to make up the difference in what the state spent this year and what it has money to spend next year, it is hard to be very confident that a solution will come at hand.
There is a disturbing article in a recent issue of Atlantic Magazine by a prominent physician at the University of Pennsylvania. Ezekiel J. Emanuel is an oncologist, a bioethicist, and a vice provost of the University, and is the author or editor of 10 books, including Reinventing American Health Care. So he is a bright guy who knows a lot about health. His premise is that no one, in this day and age, should aspire to live longer than 75 years of age.
As we know, Louisiana is, has been, and probably will be in a fiscal mess, year after year, until and unless we identify and then fix the problem.
For the past ten years, and at times prior to the start of the Bobby Jindal administraton, the budget has been unbalanced until the magic, smoke and mirrors took over to create a false balanced budget, financed often with one-time money.
We have teachers leaving their classes, protesting low pay and inadequate financial support for schools; Kids are taking off from class in droves, making sure their once muted voices are being heard on matters such as gun-control and weapons in schools. Once again, the state budget is a total mess and the voters are up in arms.