If Rep. Kenny Havard was right perhaps for the wrong reasons by suggesting that the Saints’ state subsidies be done away with as a reaction to the NFL’s national anthem scandal, then his colleague Rep. Ted James managed to trump Havard by being wrong for the wrong reasons.
Louisiana state Rep. Ted James, D-Baton Rouge, spoke out Monday in response to an idea floated by his colleague, Kenny Havard, to cut state resources directed to the New Orleans Saints after Sunday’s pregame protest by players in Charlotte.
Havard said he wants to cut millions in state tax dollars, exemptions and credits allocated to the New Orleans Saints, the NFL and any of those groups’ associated facilities that receive funding.
“Y’all worried about Trump, I’m worried about my colleagues who believe as he believes. I can’t wait to get my hands on this damn bill!!!!! Not surprised we will have the discussion. DAMN, I wish we were in session now,” James said in an Instagram post.
So here is James, whose district is not in New Orleans and who can’t say that the Saints have any positive economic impact on his constituents, now defending those constituents’ tax dollars flowing to Tom Benson – the richest man in Louisiana.
Because that’s the effect of his opposition to Havard’s proposal.
Look, you can make the argument if you want that without the state offering a generous incentive package to Benson it’s a matter of time before the Saints move to San Antonio or Salt Lake City or San Diego, and it’s quite likely the Pelicans are destined soon for Seattle or some other larger, richer burg. You could say that if the Louisiana taxpayer doesn’t pay Benson his bribe money there will be no more pro ball in the state.
That may not be the argument it was previously cracked up to be amid the current public relations disaster, for a couple of reasons: one, a lot fewer people will care whether the Saints stay in New Orleans than did a week ago. And two, increasingly that argument is a bluff, because none of the potential markets the Saints could move to have facilities better than the Superdome and in most cases, the public-sector sports facility bubble has burst. The numbers are in and frankly, the billion-dollar sports stadium simply doesn’t bring the economic impact to justify the expense – especially when the roads are insufficient, drainage infrastructure is lacking, public schools stink (which admittedly isn’t a funding issue, in Louisiana or anywhere else) and taxes are too high as it is. If the Saints want to try their hand at free agency they might well be disappointed in what’s on offer elsewhere after the fan support they’ve – largely undeservedly, given the history of lackluster performance on the field – received through the years.
Or you could make the argument that right or wrong the tax incentive package the Saints receive is based on an economic development strategy the state has embarked on, and changing an economic development strategy based on 10 guys sitting down at a national anthem and a dumb press release put out by Benson’s organization is a little on the rash side – and that Havard was being an attention whore in proposing it.
Those aren’t Ted James’ arguments, though.
Ted James is arguing against Havard’s proposal to claw back Louisiana taxpayers’ incentives and subsidies to Tom Benson because Ted James likes watching Saints players disrespect the national anthem. Ted James is all about trashing the police, which is what got all this Colin Kaepernick stuff started in the first place, and now that it’s turned into opposition to Donald Trump he’s on board with it even more.
The vast majority of the American people pissed off about these NFL “protests” don’t care what Trump said; they take the position articulated, ironically enough by Drew Brees, that you stand for the national anthem regardless of what political BS you might have rolling around in your head. But apparently Ted James doesn’t go for anything like that position.
So he wants to pay Tom Benson for his players to give a middle finger to the American flag. That’s what Ted James said today.
As far as we know Ted James isn’t in any trouble as relates to his 2019 election chances. His district, as best we can tell, contains a majority of people who will vote for someone who says the stupid things Ted James says because he says them, not in spite of those statements. After all, Ted James tossed an internet meme up on his Facebook that compared Trayvon Martin and Emmitt Till, which should have disqualified him from ever being a political figure of note in Louisiana ever again – but it didn’t negatively affect him in the least.
But Ted James doesn’t get to pretend that he’s an honest broker, or a rational man people should look to for answers, anymore. He’s shown he’s every bit the demagogue and attention whore he accuses Havard of – and while he might decry Havard’s faux patriotism, we now know James has nothing whatsoever to offer in that regard.