Tuesday, 26 June 2012 13:05

Pinsonat: Georges gambles with governor run, Louisiana fiscal conservatives failed

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pinsonat2The summer is usually the slow season for Louisiana politics, unless, of course, there are statewide elections.  Still, even during the dog-days, you can always find a subject or two to discuss as their is always an election around the corner. 

So, Bayoubuzz has turned to political pollster and analyst, Bernie Pinsonat, to take the political temperatures of the voters in this sweltering state.  Here is the latest in the series, ""Bernie Burns". 


Last week, John Georges issued a new poll that shows that as of today, he would be in striking distance of David Vitter for the governor’s race to succeed Bobby Jindal.  The poll also gave Governor Jindal a 53 percent favorable rating.  Were you surprised by any of the findings?  If so, which?  If not, why not? 

Since the survey was paid for by John Georges, the results were not surprising. John Georges describes himself as a person with lots and lots of money and gives lots to charity. Georges also mentions he served on the Board of Regents. Having lots of money has not proved to be the winning formula in previous attempts to win political office for John Georges. Most candidates with lots of money downplay their wealth. Georges makes no mention of his gambling interest. WHY? No survey shows a candidate for governor with an interest in gambling ever being elected.

 In the 2007 governor’s race John Georges announced he was transferring his interests in the gambling industry.  After he lost, he is still holding gambling interests and it appears today, he is still involved in gambling.  The Governor of Louisiana is the ultimate authority when it comes to regulating gambling.  Voters want a total separation when it comes to a governor and gambling. Seriously doubt other candidates will not remind voters of John Georges gambling interest. Anyone who has been paying attention to the legislature is now aware that John Bell Edwards is the loyal opposition spokesman for the democrats  It is also no secret that John Bell Edwards is using this platform to increase his name recognition for a campaign for governor. Democrat John Bell Edwards will not be touting his wealth – Edwards will slam republicans twelve and twenty four for not improving the economic opportunity for the vast number of lower income and poor voters who will easily get him into the runoff for governor in 2015. I am not sure a trial lawyer is going to be elected governor, but John Bell Edwards is articulate and well versed in discussing issues that hit home with the majority of low income voters. He certainly makes David Vitter take a hard look at running for governor. The most right and left candidates usually make the runoff in a crowded field. John Kennedy is going to be a candidate for governor and is trying to position himself as the most conservative candidate. If David Vitter does not run, John Kennedy’s outlook certainly improves. Jay Dardenne is a good candidate and his outlook depends upon how many strong candidates actually run. I never say Jay Dardenne cannot win and I have always been right! Senator Gerald Long was on the wrong side during the Legacy Legislation that eventually passed in the recent session. South Louisiana is pro oil and gas; also has two thirds of the voting population. Land owners have zero power compared to oil and gas small business interest. Plenty of time for lots of potential candidates for governor to come and go as most will have bigger egos than voter support and or money!  

During the past legislative session, the fiscal conservatives in  the House bucked Governor Jindal once again but ultimately caved in and as a result, the Governor and legislature agreed upon a budget.   Do you  believe the use of one-time money will really hurt the legislators since the legislative pay raise seemed only to damage two legislators, former House Speaker Jim Tucker when he ran for Secretary of State and former legislator John Labruzzo, who lost his seat when his district merged with a fellow Republican.  What other observations might you have regarding the fiscal conservatives fighting the governor on the budget, but, losing?

The so called fiscal hawks eventually lost their battle to stop this practice because there was no public outrage against using one-time-money to balance the state budget. This has been happening for the last four years and has yet to cause a political problem for anyone. The reason the public does not seem to care is simple – nothing bad is affecting their lives because of state government. Deep cuts to state services are much more damaging to most legislators’ electability than not making deep cuts to the budget. Governor Bobby Jindal is aware of this fact and will continue to use one time money to avoid severe cuts to state services. All is not lost for the fiscal hawks – they are getting positive recognition for their efforts. With eight months to find areas of the budget to cut; look for this group to become better organized and more vocal on the need to reduce spending. This approach will be much more popular with republican voters than raising revenue. 

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