SEVEN LESSONS FROM AN ELECTION-NIGHT DUMPSTER FIRE: Lesson Seven

JOHN BEL EDWARDS ISN’T QUALIFIED TO CHANGE HISTORY, AND HE WON’T.

Asked by the Wall Street Journal in January 2009 for 200 words on the impending presidency of Barack Obama, Rush Limbaugh said he only needed four.

“I hope he fails,” was Limbaugh’s famous quote.

Limbaugh generated a firestorm of outrage for his statement, perceived as it was as unpatriotic and uncharitable, and to repeat it in this post in regard to John Bel Edwards, as we now do, will likely create the same.

But Limbaugh proved correct, because in Obama what he saw was a true leftist radical who would, if successful in office, degrade America’s prestige, her military power, her economy and her freedoms. And because he saw that in Obama he could truthfully say he was rooting both against the president and for the country.

And we can say the same of Edwards. He’s without question a left-leaning politician, though more of a garden-variety public sector princeling than a red-diaper socialist radical like Obama, and if he’s successful in office Edwards would restore Louisiana to the graft, malaise, outmigration and bloated public sector the state has spent 20 years, off and on, attempting to climb out of since the last Edwards left the governor’s mansion on his way to the federal pen.

But while Limbaugh was restricted to hoping for Obama’s failure, we’re confident that hope isn’t all we have. This isn’t a wish, it’s a fairly informed prediction.

No Democrat has been re-elected as governor of Louisiana since Edwin Edwards amid the oil boom in 1975 – and it’s even worse than that sounds. In the last 40 years we’ve seen a string of Democrat governors turned out of office amid crushing failure – Edwards in 1987 managed just 28 percent of the vote in the primary and dropped out before the runoff to fellow Democrat Buddy Roemer, and four years later Roemer managed just 27 percent (as a Republican; he switched parties in March of 1991) and likewise didn’t make it out of the primary.

When Edwards went back in office in 1992, his term was such a disaster that he announced in 1994 he was retiring from politics (which was a lie, of course; his long respite came at the hands of the federal corrections system). Mike Foster, who was elected in 1995 as a Republican, then became the first re-elected governor of the state in 20 years. When the Democrats got another bite at the apple it was Kathleen Blanco, whose administration promptly collapsed into a heap after Hurricane Katrina exposed the incompetence of Democrat governance; Blanco refused to run for re-election in 2007.

So not only has no Democrat earned re-election as governor in 40 years, no Democrat has taken part in a runoff while seeking re-election in that time.

And all of those Democrats – in fact, not just in the past 40 years but going all the way back to John Parker in 1920, who when he was elected was a businessman never having held elected office  – had better resumes in public office than John Bel Edwards has right now. They were Congressmen, Public Service Commissioners, Lt. Governors, state senators, appellate judges and even the warden of the prison at Angola, but none of them, not in nearly a century, had so low a profile as a simple state representative.

Edwards is the least qualified elected governor in modern Louisiana history. And Louisiana does not have a particularly impressive list of effective governors. Louisiana has, by and large, been governed by a succession of fools, frauds, charlatans, nincompoops and lunatics. Outside of his eight-year military service, John Bel Edwards offers little to make himself stand tall among them.

Will he fail? Of course. Were he even qualified to govern, he would fail. Because Edwards is a Democrat, and a left-leaning Democrat. He might have fooled the public into believing him a conservative by aping the “pro-life, pro-gun” mantra of previous Democrat politicians before exasperated Louisiana voters began turning them out of major offices, but his legislative record and his statements show him to be a vigorous practitioner of the classic blue-state model of governance.

He’s for the old Soviet-style educational model which has produced generations of barely-functional adults from Louisiana’s public schools, so much so that the state’s greatest economic challenge is producing enough workers capable of doing semi-skilled labor in the planned industrial expansion.

He’s for higher taxes and greater public expenditure, with Texas’ growth-friendly tax structure and limited government just next door. We already know, from the experience with the Stelly tax, what an imbalance in tax climate with Texas (not to mention Florida) will produce in terms of outmigration.

We also know that more state employees means more pension obligations, and with Louisiana’s unfunded accrued pension liability sitting at more than $20 billion the state will begin to risk bankruptcy if that problem gets worse. A John Bel Edwards administration will unquestionably reverse the Jindal administration’s direction of fewer employees as it grows government and pays off its constituency groups.

Edwards will do everything he can to favor unions, trial lawyers and environmentalists, meaning the climate for business even regardless of tax policy will squeeze private sector jobs and capital out of the state. Bigger government + smaller economy = crushing taxation + economic inequality + less traffic on the roads unless they’re leading out of state.

That’s the Blue State Model. It’s what you get with a Democrat. It’s what you will get with John Bel Edwards. And it’s the recipe for failure.

John Bel will fail. Unfortunately, the state will fail along with him. In four years, just like as in the case of all the other Democrats over the past four decades, there will be little hope for his re-election. But the next governor, who had better be something stronger than the succession of fools, frauds, charlatans, nincompoops and lunatics who make up our pantheon of first executives, will be saddled with an incredible mess left over from the disastrous experiment to come.



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