The headline burst upon me like a New Year’s Eve fireworks display. Prominent Republicans were lining up to support the governor’s re-election efforts. At least, that’s what The Baton Rouge Advocate’s Mark Ballard alleged in a piece Saturday.
Could it be true? As far as I knew among Republicans there was a virtually universal understanding that only by changing our governor could there be any hope to change the state’s miserable outcomes.
This headline was at best misleading; at worst disingenuous. Headlines after all are supposed to inspire interest in the following story and the tool that they utilize is hyperbole. The actual report was almost laughable in relation to the headline. In fact between the lines the writer was very clear that the so-called prominent Republicans were not lining up to support the governor because they thought that he was right for our state.
A careful reading illuminated the truth. Perhaps they were Republicans, at least according to their voter registration, but the unspoken linkage to their support was that they all had had personal or pecuniary benefits conferred upon them by the governor in his first term. Indeed the “support” reported read more like a voluntary, or even more sinister, an involuntary payback of the governor’s largesse.
Among the supporters were engineers who have major contracts with the state, business people who had received high placed appointments from the governor, and others whose family members are beneficiary of jobs bestowed by the governor. In general the list, actually remarkable by its diminutive size, was nothing more than the usual type of people who have fed at the trough of government for all time.
It dawned on me that this article was nothing more than a press release for the John Bel Edwards re-election campaign that a newspaper had reported as if it were a groundbreaking discovery. After all, what newspaper would waste time reporting on who was supporting a sitting governor when the opposition field wasn’t even in place? So to me it is clear that this story was planted by the governor’s re-election folks and picked up by a media more than willing to give credibility to the notion that Republicans were deserting their own beliefs in droves.
Let me help the media a bit. You can expect that many more registered Republicans to line up behind the governor. You will find wealthy trial lawyers who are protected by the governor, and I may add a great number of legislators, even at a terrible expense to the citizens. You can expect wealthy nursing home operators, who would prevent the elderly from the opportunity to remain in their own homes so that they can reap mega-millions from the state. You can expect Hollywood movie moguls who have sucked over a billion dollars from our state, money that could have gone a long way to finance our higher education system.
The list of trough feeders is long, the governor has a lot of money and high profile positions to hand out. After all, Governor Edwards presides over a state whose budget has exploded by billions since he took over. It is a state in which political favors are the currency of mediocrity.
But there is a much more significant, though subtle, political issue raised by this re-election press release. The real issue omitted in the article is what is the definition of the Louisiana voter. The newspaper clearly accepts that anyone who registers with an “R” is a Republican and in theory I suppose that that is correct. But come election day it is only citizens who vote Republican that matter. In Louisiana the majority of those voters will vote Republican despite their registration simply because they know that Republican ideals and leaders offer far more to them in the form of limited government, lower taxes, and the bright prospect of prosperity.
They will vote Republican because they know that the stale ideas of big government and high taxes coupled with a leadership that offers nothing except more of the same failed government that has kept them down for generations. They know that only if we have leadership that adopts a pro-growth strategy instead of a government dependency strategy do we have any chance of becoming a prosperous people. They will vote Republican because of the underlying corruption of the few making incredible profit from a state that can ill afford it. Lost millions that a well prioritized government could use to the benefit of the people, instead of benefit of the few.
No, the purported “Republicans” who are supporting the governor are not the same as the people who control his fate with their vote. The difference is that the governor’s erstwhile Republican supporters have sold out for their own special interests. The people of Louisiana don’t have that luxury, they have to depend on truly good government for their very future and the future of their families.
Despite their registration the masses of the people who will vote will do so not because of some actual personal benefit; they will vote Republican because they depend upon government to build a state in which they can have an expectation that through their hard work they will be able to raise their families AND prosper.
Endorsement based upon personal gain will never stand up to true good government, pro-growth ideals. That is the news story worth writing about.