“A leader without followers is simply a man taking a walk.”
– John Boehner
Today we embark on what seems to be a never ending series of special sessions called by a governor who has proven incapable of getting the acquiescence of the legislature to his plans. But despite the media’s effort to paint the situation as a reticent legislature taking a stand against a governor simply because he is a Democrat, the truth is that this is exactly as a representative republican form of government is supposed to function.
The governor, like any leader, can be successful only as long as he has the full faith and backing of those he leads. Therein lies the fundamental issue driving the divide between the executive branch and the legislative branch of our state government. Legislators by design are very close to the people and more than anything else reflect the beliefs and hopes of the people. They are by their very nature the voice of the people.
Now without a doubt our state must be led in a new direction and the people get that. But the current governor only offers to double down on the old ways of government, ways that have left us last in almost everything. To add insult to injury, his main legislative efforts have been pushing to pay for all of this by ever increasing taxes. Poll after poll have demonstrated that the people are desperate to find a way out of the gutter, but perhaps more importantly, they do not want to pay any more taxes. These fundamental desires of the public are the reason the governor keeps failing in the legislature. He doesn’t (or doesn’t want to) understand the people and therefore he is unable to translate his plans into acceptance by the very people he needs to influence. Legislators sense what the polls make clear and they vote accordingly. In other words the governor is a leader without significant followers and this is reflected in the actions of the legislature.
So yes we will enter another special session. And yes the media will play it up as a struggle between D’s and R’s, but in fact it is not at all. It will be a struggle between a governor who desperately wants to find resources to fulfill his desires against the people, represented by the legislature, who have had enough of failed policies and high taxes.
Because the governor has not been able to create a cadre of followers this session will probably end as all the others have. The legislature, reflecting the people’s demands, will insist upon control in the growth of government and correspondingly a control of taxes. The governor, if he follows form, will end up demeaning the legislature because it refuses to follow him in abandoning the will of the people. In the meantime we are wasting valuable time and our people are losing great opportunities as our nation is prospering all around us even as we are fighting the final battles against the failed “Louisiana Way” so favored by the governor.
Fundamental rule of successful leadership; be sure that you have the people convinced of the wisdom of your ways before you start! If not your whole endeavor is doomed to failure.