He’s only three weeks late. But finally, Gov. John Bel Edwards put out a statement suggesting that even Democrats should be removed from politics when they engage in criminal conduct on a serial basis – as in the case of state Sen. Troy Brown, who can’t seem to stop beating the women in his life…
“As governor, I take this issue of domestic violence very seriously. I have demonstrated this by my voting record in the legislature and my continued emphasis on this issue since I took office in January. As a state, we should be speaking with one voice against domestic abuse.
“Given the serious allegations against him, I do not believe that Senator Troy Brown can continue to effectively serve his constituents. I would welcome Sen. Brown’s resignation from the Senate, so that he can focus on any issues he may need to resolve for his sake and his family.”
Maybe Edwards is just getting around to reading the Hayride, since we gave him this advice all the way back on July 19 when we said…
He punches his mistress. He bites his wife. Can we not agree this is somebody who doesn’t need to be an elected state senator?
Brown managed to hold off on turning into Mr. Hyde until after last year’s elections, so short of a recall the voters don’t have much recourse to get rid of him until the fall of 2019.
But this is a matter of political hygiene, is it not? Doesn’t the Louisiana Democrat Party have a responsibility to police its elected officials? Wouldn’t one expect a political party to make moves for a resignation of somebody who clearly has behavioral problems like Brown?
Is there no sense of embarrassment here? It’s not like Brown’s district is going to turn Republican if he goes away. That’s a Democrat district, and if he’s pushed out it’s going to just be another Democrat who represents it.
What about Gov. John Bel Edwards? Is Brown the type of person Edwards wants on his legislative team? Is Brown’s behavior reflective of the character he wants to put on display by his party?
Perhaps none of these people have the power to “make” Brown resign. I understand that. Is it not disappointing that no one has made such a request public?
Shouldn’t Edwards quietly push Brown out and ask for his resignation? Shouldn’t Karen Carter Peterson do the same?
The interesting question, now that Edwards has weighed in on the side of decency and political hygiene, is what Peterson will do. One would imagine she would fall in behind Edwards, but there is an interesting little rivalry between the white Democrat governor and the black Democrat party chair which occasionally prevents consensus on issues like this one.
There shouldn’t be any disagreement that Brown ought to be pushed out – although ultimately, these people can’t get rid of him if he doesn’t want to go. The question is how much leverage is applied to force him out. We’ll see if Edwards means what he said today, or if he’s simply checking boxes and keeping other Democrats’ dirt off his seersucker suit.
UPDATE: There is more to this, because it appears Peterson did gently push Brown to resign – though not with the force and verve you would expect…
Which is a joke. This business of “it’s difficult to effectively serve” is wimp-speak for “your actions show you lack the character needed in the Louisiana legislature, you’re a disgrace to public service and a menace to those around you, and it’s time you stopped being a poop-stain on elected offices all over the state.” And it would be a hell of a lot more effective for her to come out and say so rather than five paragraphs of pabulum from which one can only find a call for resignation by reading penumbras and emanations.
And Peterson’s statement only came after having been prodded to do so by Bob Mann, who said he ought to resign a week ago…
— Robert Mann (@RTMannJr) August 9, 2016
For his part, Brown says he ain’t goin’ nowhere…
“At this moment, my main priority is focusing on myself and continuing with the professional counseling I have been receiving over the past few weeks,” Brown said in a phone interview Tuesday (Aug. 9). “As far as my Senate seat and stepping down, that has not been in my thoughts.”
It gets better…
Brown said he would hope his colleagues would give the courts an opportunity to review his two domestic violence cases before calling on him to resign. His attorney for the two cases is a former legislative colleague, retired New Orleans Sen. Ed Murray.
In the interview, Brown said he has been attending anger management counseling since a few days after his second arrest in July. He said he has demonstrated previously he can handle his Senate duties while dealing with personal issues.
He worked through three legislative sessions last spring, in spite of his arrest for allegedly punching a woman in New Orleans in November, Brown pointed out. Brown pleaded not guilty in the that case, and said he had no recollection of the event because he suffers from short-term memory loss connected to a car accident years ago. His court date is set for September.
The second arrest took place in early July, when Brown was booked with misdemeanor domestic abuse battery after police say he became angry with his wife and bit her on the arm.
“Unfortunately, these two situations got a little bit out of hand more than the norm,” Brown said. “I am asking my colleagues to give me the same due respect that they would want.”
A little bit out of hand more than the norm? What’s the norm? Licking instead of biting? Open-hand slaps instead of punches?
Maybe we should keep Brown around for the comedic value, and tell the womenfolk to carry mace.
“My Senate seat right now is not my main priority. My Senate seat sits in probably the third or fourth tier in my priority list,” said Brown, who is focusing on his wife, children and rehabilitation.
And, for the piece de resistance…
“Everywhere I go in my district, my constituents are more than supportive of me,” Brown said. “This is being promoted and motivated by my Republican colleagues.”
Sure, blame it on the Republicans. After all, that bastion of conservatism and partisan hackery John Alario had the temerity to remove Brown from all his committee assignments after he was arrested for biting his wife – and John Kennedy suggested maybe the Vampire Lestat act wasn’t quite up to snuff for elected officials. Those mean, intolerant Republicans, damn them.
Wonder if Brown thought David Vitter got a bad rap for his personal foibles. After all, he didn’t bite anybody.
For that matter, given the weak condemnation she issued today, one wonders what Peterson thinks of how Vitter was treated last fall.