Statewide elected officials other than the governor Dardenne works for as Commissioner of Administration, that is.
Our readers will remember that Dardenne used to be Louisiana’s Lt. Governor, and during that time he frequently took issue with Gov. Bobby Jindal’s conduct in the job Dardenne wanted.
And on at least one occasion, there was controversy about Jindal’s budget practices and whether he’d used the budget to punish his critics within state government. Dardenne never quite came out with an accusation he was being punished, but the implication was clearly there.
In the case of state treasurer John Kennedy, it was more than an implication.
Of course, Dardenne and Kennedy were fellow Republicans, though political rivals, with Jindal. The disagreements between them had to run largely under the surface for purposes of political hygiene.
But now there’s a Democrat governor that Dardenne works for. And it’s interesting to see his evolution.
Here was Dardenne amid budget testimony during this year’s special session on March 4, discussing the efficacy of the Legislature making independent appropriations for elected statewide officials like he used to be, in order to keep the Governor from having the power to punish those elected officials for operating at loggerheads to his agenda. Here’s a spoiler: he’s all for it.
And here was Tom Schedler, Dardenne’s former deputy Secretary of State and current holder of that position, on the same question a few days earlier that Dardenne referenced.
And yet when this year’s budget hit the House Appropriations Committee, Dardenne was vitriolic in opposing the idea of giving Attorney General Jeff Landry a separate budget item from the Division of Administration that Dardenne heads.
One wonders why.
Is it that Dardenne lacks respect for Landry, or the office he holds?
Is it that Dardenne believes he, as Commissioner of Administration, is best poised to insure that budgetary independence and not the legislature?
Or is it that Dardenne has been instructed by his boss to lay off the talk about budgetary independence from those who would criticize and/or oppose the Edwards administration?
It has to be something, because a change is unquestionably in the air.