HITHER AND YON: So Far, JBE Is Above Water

Morning Consult came out this morning with a series of polls on gubernatorial approval ratings around the country, and it seems to be that what voters dislike most about their governors is a flirtation with running for president.

Which is good news for John Bel Edwards, since that won’t ever be in the cards for him.

To be fair, the two least popular governors in the country weren’t presidential candidates this year, though Sam Brownback (71 percent disapproval, 23 percent approval) did run briefly back in 2000 back when he represented Kansas in the Senate. Connecticut’s Dan Malloy (underwater at 26-70) has never been and will never be a presidential candidate.

But next is Chris Christie (29-68). Michigan’s Rick Snyder (33-61), who somehow has had the scandal of the Flint water supply dumped at his doorstep to his political ruin, is fourth, and in eighth place is Scott Walker (43-53).

Edwards checks in around the middle of the pack with a 46-39 number. Not great, but not terrible. And something interesting about Edwards’ numbers is that back in May, Morning Consult found his approval-disapproval to be 45-33 – so approvals are about the same but disapprovals have risen six points in three months, and that’s amid what were some pretty good opportunities for him to look in command. He had the Alton Sterling thing and he had the floods in South Louisiana, and there weren’t any major Kathleen Blanco or Jay Nixon-style gaffes on Edwards’ part to disgust the public with either episode.

You’d think his approval rating would have gone up significantly under those circumstances, but it didn’t.

And now he’s got a lot more in the way of challenges. His Wildlife and Fisheries secretary is going to begin to be a drag on his popularity. His tax increases will begin to poison the state’s already fragile economy. The governmental effort at recovery from the South Louisiana flooding can only hurt him, and should evidence of corruption and waste of the federal dollars flowing to Louisiana be uncovered that will fall on his head. His recurring battles with Jeff Landry over the state’s various legal issues, including the major one with his possibly-illegal contract with Taylor Townsend to set up a private legal team supplanting the Attorney General’s office, can only hurt him.

At this point 46-39 isn’t a terrible ratio for a Democrat governor in a reliably Republican state. Whether it can last very long is an interesting question.

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Charles Boustany is out with a release today touting an endorsement from the Regular Democratic Organization of New Orleans. Those of our readers familiar with Louisiana history know that the Old Regulars have been around forever – how relevant they are in today’s politics is worth asking, but it’s interesting to see a Republican getting their endorsement nonetheless.

Dr. Charles Boustany was endorsed by the Regular Democratic Organization (RDO), a conservative New Orleans-based political organization founded in 1874. According to the organization, it is the “oldest continuing civic and political organization in the United States of America.”

Boustany said: “Our campaign is building momentum as this race kicks into high gear. The Regular Democratic Organization picks conservative candidates who win. They understand we need a U.S. Senator who can go to the United States Senate to fight for us, not just whine about our problems. I’m humbled and grateful for this critical organization’s support.”

Paul Voltier III, President of the Regular Democratic Organization, said: “After evaluating all candidates for the United States Senate, Dr. Charles Boustany is the clear choice to represent our state. Dr. Boustany has an impressive record of achievement both as a heart surgeon and as a U.S. Congressman. We are confident he will bring that same results-oriented leadership to the U.S. Senate to fight for Louisiana.”

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When the news began leaking out about his marital troubles, one would have thought John Delgado’s campaign for mayor-president in Baton Rouge would have begun fading away – but that hasn’t happened. Instead, Delgado is out with this…

The video points to a mini-site which offers dirt about Bodi White, the state senator who appears to be the most likely Republican to make the runoff – among which is that White was in favor of the St. George incorporation and voted for a legislative pay raise, and accuses him of stopping the construction of the Comite River Diversion Canal project through a bill he wrote in 2010.

The upshot of that last bit is that White’s bill prevented state dollars from being spent on forced expropriation of land – eminent domain, in other words – for wetlands mitigation associated with building the diversion canal. As dirt goes, this isn’t all that bad; we’re not talking about White passing a bill that expropriates land along the planned path of the diversion canal in order to actually build it – instead, what it says is the state can’t spend any money to force landowners to sell property that would revert to swampland so as to mitigate the environmental impact of the canal.

Which probably does have the effect of slowing down the construction of the canal, but let’s be honest here – does that really make White such a terrible guy? The culprit in not having that canal built is the stupid federal government that requires “wetlands mitigation” in order to build a body of water. You can’t disqualify White as a mayoral candidate for acting to protect property owners from having their land taken by the government for no tangible benefit other than to create a new breeding ground for mosquitoes.

It’s hard to think a guy who can be credibly accused of breaking up his marriage by fooling around with barmaids at watering holes he owns can win a war of negative ads based on this – particularly when he’s significantly short-stacked against White’s war chest. Something tells us what’s coming is not going to be to Delgado’s liking.

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There are now over 300,000 people in the state who have signed up for Medicaid expansion. That’s 300,000 new people dependent on the government for health care. The Edwards administration counts this as a victory.

But Edwards’ budget assumes 375,000 people will sign up for Medicaid. Which means he’s behind schedule, despite this ad which is running ad nauseam on TV…

Anybody who fits the qualifications for the Medicaid expansion and believes “quality” healthcare is on offer by signing up probably ought to look at what Edwards’ Shelter At Home program does for flood victims in getting their houses livable again. That’s what “quality” is by Louisiana governmental standards.

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Hey, guess what? Troy Hebert has his best news yet – namely, that he’s not being investigated by the FBI anymore.

Apparently the feds have decided they don’t have enough evidence to get the U.S. Attorney to prosecute Hebert on allegations that he solicited blowjobs from a bar owner in New Orleans in order to assist her with holding on to her liquor license.

Which is a big deal for Hebert. It doesn’t particularly make him a viable Senate candidate, but it might keep him out of prison.

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And now, a Today’s Last Thing – which involves LSU Football and Uber.

On the surface, avoiding the nightmare of parking around Tiger Stadium on one of those magical seven Saturdays in the fall would sound like a great idea, and with Uber available in Baton Rouge you’d think it would be a perfect fit to take an Uber to the game. And that’s actually fairly doable. It costs a little more than normal, but it’s a pretty convenient way to get to campus.

The problem is what happens after the game. Traffic is always worse coming out than going in. And the time of an Uber driver in such peak circumstances gets very valuable very quickly.

Which one coed found out when she insisted on taking a two-mile Uber trip to one of the Tigerland bars on Saturday after the LSU-Mississippi State game instead of walking…

Naturally, the reaction to this is to trash the Uber driver for running up such a huge fare. But what’s he going to do? The route he took is more or less what he’d have to take amid the contraflow the police set up around LSU. And the fare is what it is because the driver would probably have been able to take a half-dozen riders in the time it would take to fight traffic to deposit this one 1.6 miles away amid postgame traffic.

The problem isn’t Uber. The problem is LSU gameday traffic is unbearable, and the way it’s laid out makes it impossible to get from parts of Baton Rouge that might even be nearby after a game.

Everybody complains that people are leaving in the third quarter. Well, it’s either that or you don’t get home until 1:00 in the morning. Lots of people just can’t stay out that late. And it’s not like you can use Uber to fix it, as our damsel in distress proved on Saturday.

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