The Baton Rouge Advocate is not some unknown political force. Editorially, it leans far to the left. However, it is an outfit that claims to present journalism to its readers.
Journalism is the recording of what happened, when it happened, where it happened, etc. It is entirely rooted in the truth, and not fiction. Now, while these establishments do from time to time present editorial opinion, generally these are based in some sort of truth.
However, in an editorial published online on Saturday, The Advocate departs from the truth completely, instead regurgitating what can only be the victim fantasy of John Bel Edwards, the single-biggest loser of the recently completed legislative session.
Titled “Our Views: New leadership may be needed in Louisiana’s House after legislature failure“, the paper clearly took its direction from the governor’s mansion in writing this anti-conservative screed. Let’s start with the opening line.
In the 2017 Legislature, passing the budget bills for the fiscal year beginning July 1 was supposed to be the easy part.
Clearly, the folks on the editorial board of The Advocate have no recollection of history. Passing budget bills in Louisiana has been a problem for many years. It has never been easy, Democrats, Republicans, or conservatives in power. Why on earth would it be easy this year?
The threat of the “fiscal cliff” seemed to move almost nobody in the right direction. Not only was tax reform postponed; with a strong cadre of conservatives controlling the state House, implacably opposed to Gov. John Bel Edwards, getting the basics done was also too much to ask.
The editorial board clearly has no poker face, because this paragraph is the tell. This is exactly the type of victim mentality that has driven Edwards to be the utter failure he has been since he took office. It is the conservatives who are the problem, not Edwards/Democrats/moderate Republicans. We’ll get to more on that in just a moment. For now, let’s continue with this delusional editorial.
Instead, with House Speaker Taylor Barras, R-New Iberia, throwing in with the most conservative members of the caucus, the budget was blocked amid confusion and recriminations. Edwards had issued a call for a special session, starting immediately, but he thought it a precaution; instead, it now must be invoked and may extend the Legislature until June 19.
Here’s the crux of the argument, which is so incredibly dishonest that you may have thought you read it wrong.
On May 4th, as reported BY THE ADVOCATE ITSELF, the House passed a budget plan. Then, on June 1st, leaving just five days left to negotiate something to send to the governor’s office, the Senate passed what The Advocate called a “drastically different” budget plan.
So, what happened there? Why did it take an extra month for the Senate, led by (so-called) Republican John Alario, to pass something that would then have to be negotiated in a conference committee?
Well, I supposed it doesn’t matter if (so-called Republican) and the the rest of the largely Edwards-controlled Senate sits on their thumbs for an extra month, but in the end, they sent a conference report to the House to be passed. The problem? Two of the three conference members from the House hadn’t seen it. Those two would be Taylor Barras and Cam Henry.
Instead of re-hashing what went down there, let me just quote McKay:
We’re told there was no effort made by the Senate to actually confer with Barras and Henry on the budget; instead, they got Pat Smith, the North Baton Rouge Democrat who was the third House-appointed conferee, to sign on to the “conference report” – copies of which were distributed on the House floor bearing a quite readable “UNOFFICIAL” mark on the front cover – and then gave it to Leger to attempt to force through the House at the last minute.
That failed, obviously, as it was a complete insult to the budget process and to the House’s integrity as a legislative body. The House has shown it won’t be bullied by such tactics.
The series of events that unfolding in the closing days and hours of the legislative session is nothing short of shameful… though it is entirely expected of Louisiana politics. It was an attempt to circumvent the actual legislative process, and more than likely strategized by the Edwards administation (perhaps the reason the Senate waited a month to pass their version of the budget).
The result of all this is that more taxpayer money has to be spent to continue to allow Edwards to play the victim of the Big Bad Conservatives. But, that is no concern of Edwards or The Advocate. If we just listen uncritically to these two, then perhaps we will see as they do that conservatives are always the problem.
But, alas, we have more sense than that, and I would suspect many in the state of Louisiana do, too. This editorial… which is little more than a glorified press release from the Edwards administration… is not going to convince near the number of people needed to make any sort of difference in the legislature.
Instead, we’re just looking at a Louisiana media organization shouting inside its own bubble, pleased at the sound of its own voice. The rest of us see deluded fools ignoring history and living in a Democratic fantasy world.