Adding Things Up, Or Why Rick Ward For Congress Is A Terrible Idea

I caught a pretty sizable amount of flak a month or so ago when the picture we ran with our article on state sen. Rick Ward’s party switch from D to R was that of a baby rhino.

I was told that I don’t understand Ward’s situation, and that his 33 score this year by the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry was an anomaly that comes from the fact he has to represent a really difficult senate district. That I can’t expect to get a rock-ribbed conservative voting record out of somebody who represents that district, and that Ward would be a far more conservative congressman than he is a state senator.

Bullfeathers, is my response to that. Rick Ward voted for the Medicaid expansion this spring, when he damn well knew Bill Cassidy was running for the U.S. Senate, that Cassidy’s seat would open up and that he had designs on it. Nobody wakes up one day and says “Hey, today I’m going to run for Congress.” Ward knew a long time ago he was going to run, and he voted for that piece of socialist utopia anyway.

That’s no conservative I’m familiar with.

Rick Ward also voted for that ridiculous equal pay bill, the one which mandates “equal pay” for women employed by the state – a bill which is going to explode the number of lawsuits and claims filed in the state work force, since there’s no money available to give anybody a raise to come in compliance with it and as such we’ll inevitably have a guys-vs-gals fight as a result.

Trial lawyers will love that bill. Rick Ward is a trial lawyer. How ’bout that?

Rick Ward also voted no on term limits for school board members, as though keeping the petty tyrants and grasping incompetents who populate those boards while trading sweetheart contracts for campaign war chest superiority constitutes good policy.

But I’m told those things aren’t all that important, because when he gets to Capitol Hill, Ward is going to vote with the party leadership all the time, and since he’s a young guy (Ward is 31) he’s got a great chance to move up over time and get a ton of seniority.

As though that impresses me. First of all, I’m not a particular fan of the GOP leadership in the House. I want somebody who will vote to get rid of John Boehner, and replace his George Meade with a Ulysses Grant. Second, the two other Republicans who are in the race or will be soon are also young; Ryan Heck is 35 and Paul Dietzel is 27. Neither one of them had to switch parties to run for Congress.

And third, I’m for term limits in Congress. So I’m not too fired up about the idea of sending a young guy up there so he can be on Capitol Hill for the next 40 years and become a horse-trading slimebag with rent-seeking corporate lobbyists on speed dial and cut crooked deals with whoever will pass for Steny Hoyer and Charlie Rangel 40 years from now. I like a young guy, but I want one who will be up there for 10-12 years and then come home, either to run for a statewide job or back to the real world.

What I’m also told is that Rick Ward is a good conservative because he votes pro-family and has a 100 from the Louisiana Family Forum.

Hey, I’m all for having a 100 from the Louisiana Family Forum. I agree with the Louisiana Family Forum pretty consistently. If I was in the legislature I imagine I’d have a 100 from the Louisiana Family Forum, or awfully close to it.

But I regard that as unremarkable. Rick Ward isn’t from New Orleans and he’s not from San Francisco.

He’s from Maringouin, for Pete’s sake. How the heck else do you think he’s going to vote on family issues?

It’s not like voting for marriage or against Kermit Gosnell is all that hard to do in the Louisiana legislature. This is kind of like Chris Rock’s R-rated rant about whether you get credit for taking care of your kids. Again, he’s from Maringouin. You think gay marriage and abortion-on-demand play well there?

Not to mention that 12 of the 39 members of the Senate scored 100 with the Family Forum. I’m not minimizing LFF or the importance of their issues; like I said, you ought to have a 100 on their scorecard. But if David Heitmeier can score 100 with the Family Forum it doesn’t make you Louie Gohmert or Jeff Sessions to have a 100.

I’m more interested in that 33 from LABI than I am the 100 from the Family Forum. Because I’m pretty confident that Heck and Dietzel could give me that 100 in Congress without me having to endure the 33 from LABI.

But that’s not why I’m ripping Rick Ward.

This is. John Maginnis’ weekly insider report had this nugget in it…

Whether or not Sen. Rick Ward, R-Maringouin, is elected next year in the 6th District, former Sen. Rob Marionneaux is ready to reclaim his old seat. “I will definitely be back in the race,” said Marionneaux. “If Ward doesn’t win,” he continued, “I’m not sure, now that he’s changed parties, I’m not sure how a Republican fares in the 17th Senate District,” which Marionneaux helped to draw in 2011. Marionneaux said his reading of the constitution on term limits does not require that he sit out a full term.

I’m told this is actually BS. I’m told Marionneaux gets into that state senate race only if Ward wins, and that this is part of the same kind of friendly inside deal that Neil Riser and Rodney Alexander made. That Ward gets Marionneaux’s help to deliver Democrat votes on the West Bank and in return he gives either tacit support or at least stays out of the way as Marionneaux, who was one of the more bombastic old-school Democrats in the Legislature until he was mercifully termed out, makes his triumphant return to the art of inside dealing and graft he’s been so famous for.

But if you’re a Republican and a conservative, it makes zero difference if Ward and Marionneaux got together to put the fix in. Either way, a vote for Ward is a vote for Marionneaux. Because Ward might be able to keep Marionneaux out of the state senate, but nobody else in that district could expect to.

That ought to put this to bed. As time goes by, it’s going to become pretty obvious that Paul Dietzel and Ryan Heck are honest-to-goodness true full-spectrum conservatives, and both of them would go to D.C. with an eye toward rejecting the George Meade/John Boehner timid style that prevails up there. Whether you’re going to get that from Rick Ward, who two months ago was a Democrat voting to expand Medicaid, push a Lily Ledbetter Junior bill in the state legislature and oppose term limits for school board hacks, is a pretty dubious proposition. But when you throw Rob Marionneaux into the mix, well…

Fuhgeddabouddit.

ORTEGO? PLEASE, NO: While we’re on the subject of Democrat turncoats, believe it or not Stephen Ortego is apparently making the rounds and inquiring about being the next Democrat who joins the Grand Old Party.

Ortego has been gallivanting around with some of the state’s larger Republican donors and making the case for what a great Republican he’d be. He was a member of the College Republicans at Tulane, dontcha know, and that was only eight years ago or so.

This is a guy who voted against school choice fairly consistently. Against pension reform. Against teacher tenure reform. In fact, Ortego’s lifetime LABI rating is a 49, and that includes a 78 percent score this year.

Meaning that his rookie year last year was such a disaster that even a 78 couldn’t bring him above 50.

And it wasn’t just the lousy voting record that indicates whether this guy would be someone the state GOP would want to embrace. Remember this?

And then there’s this, which is Ortego parroting the Charity Hospital line, attacking Gov. Jindal’s leases of those money pits and having almost no idea what he’s talking about…

Ortego beat Don Menard, who was yet another Democrat turncoat, in 2011 for his seat in the state house. It was a 55-45 race despite Menard running one of the worst campaigns you can ever imagine, and for the last two years he’s been a complete joke in the legislature.

And now we’re going to be asked to embrace this guy…why? Ortego can be beaten in 2015 with a decent Republican challenger. We don’t need him in the party to hold that seat, we don’t need that seat for a House majority and having him would dilute the brand.

You can’t stop somebody from changing their party registration. What you can do is choose not to reward them for switching. Meaning that if Ortego wants to put an R behind his name, the state GOP should still recruit a candidate to run against him and the House GOP leadership shouldn’t all of a sudden give him good committee assignments to replace the crappy assignments he has now.

And you definitely don’t have to shower him with bouquets because he’s a Republican. There was a time when that was remarkable, but that time has passed. What it’s time for now is quality control within the party.

Stay a Democrat, Ortego. They like you over there. And they’re so desperate they’ll forgive you for shopping yourself to the GOP.

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