It was suggested by a member of the media that I am prejudiced in my writing just because I want a different governor for Louisiana. Though I am sure that comment was intended as a veiled insult let me freely admit my guilt. I freely admit that being last place in nearly every metric is not my idea of good leadership. I freely admit that this governor is probably no worse than many in the past, devoid of vision and full of ambition. I freely admit that I do not believe that this governor offers anything but a continuation of the status quo that has served us so badly.
I freely admit that we can and should do better. Yes, I want a new governor, but I am an unpaid opinion writer not a professional journalist; I have prejudices that derive from years of public service and I acknowledge them and share my views widely.
Now let me take this opportunity to offer a challenge to my media critic and his journalist peers. The next few months offer a providential test of the public accountability for you, our media. If accomplished, this opportunity takes the form of deep inquiry and unbiased reporting on serious issues that all the candidates for governor must address. Many of these are issues are of national scope, but they have direct impact upon Louisiana, its citizens, and its fiscal health. These issues are so important that governors all over America are making known their positions on them. These leaders are stepping up because, as the stewards of their states, they owe it to their people to demonstrate their leadership on national policies that impact their states and people.
My challenge to our media; report where our governor and his challengers stand on the following issues, how they see them impacting our people, and what they would do as governor in the face of them:
Philosophy – the national Democratic Party is in the throes of internecine warfare between the forces of traditional liberalism and the forces that would turn America into a socialist state. We know that Governor Edwards is a liberal, that’s clear from his actions. But it is incumbent upon our governor to make it clear if his philosophy aligns with the socialist bent of his Party or if he stands against the cultural upheaval that this substantial subset of Democrats so badly craves. It is equally important to know where the Republican candidates stand on basic social and economic philosophy. These responses are important because the people need to know under what political philosophy they will be governed and what policies they can expect to flow from them.
Immigration – even though the numbers of illegal aliens in Louisiana are not as high yet as they are in Texas, they are growing and eventually the numbers in Louisiana will be impactful. We know that our state has an overpopulation of low-income people and that illegal aliens to a great extent occupy the same income strata as they do. The result is that if there is no control on numbers, the newcomers will drive down wages and opportunities for Louisiana’s existing citizens (they probably have already). Further, if not controlled, this wave of immigrants will have a major impact on our state’s fiscal health through unabated growing demand for free healthcare, free education, higher criminal justice costs, and all nature of other social programs for which they will pay little in the way of taxes. The Republican candidates stand for legal, controlled immigration but we need to know where the governor stands. Does he support the citizens of Louisiana or does he support an influx of competition to our own people?
Deteriorating cities – as has been highlighted recently, due to failing economic conditions many great and small American cities are falling into disrepair and are becoming riddled by crime. Several Louisiana cities are experiencing similar patterns, including failing infrastructure and claiming some of the highest murder rates in the nation. All these cities all share one thing in common, they follow liberal Democratic policies that leave their economies riddled as businesses and jobs flee. What vision does our governor have to reverse the trend in our population centers, a trend that if left unaddressed will ultimately result in our cities becoming southern versions of Baltimore or Detroit? Just as important where do the Republican candidates stand on this issue?
Healthcare – we know that the governor unilaterally accepted President Obama’s version of Medicaid Expansion, an insurance program, not a healthcare program. We also know that his execution of Medicaid Expansion has been filled with wasteful practices, fraud, and has grown government by billions of dollars, much financed directly by Louisiana taxpayers. But now every major Democratic candidate for president except one has abandoned Obamacare and all have endorsed a socialized healthcare program called Medicare for All. This program would force tens of thousands of Louisiana citizens to be forced off their private health insurance. We need to know if our governor supports nationalized healthcare like Medicare for All as proposed by Democratic Party leaders or alternatively, does he stop at Medicaid Expansion insurance and support free market healthcare. Equally we need to know where the Republicans stand on healthcare in all its forms.
There are many other issues, more generally in-state by nature, that Louisiana voters should also have answers to. Why does the governor support trial lawyers against tort reform while Louisianans pay the second highest insurance rates in the nation? Why did the governor support union efforts to try to undo important education reforms? Why did the governor threaten to throw old people from nursing homes in order to force a $1.2 billion tax increase (remember the famous Fiscal Cliff that wasn’t?) only for us to find out that we didn’t need anything close to that sum and we are now actually generating surpluses? After four years of no vision to achieve prosperity, does the governor now have one for the state. What would the other candidates do to improve prosperity?
So, to my journalist friend, here’s your chance. Prove to us, the citizens of Louisiana that so desperately need unbiased information, that you and your peers are the standard by which unbiased truth and strong journalistic practice should be measured by. Probe, fact find, get the answers. Don’t let the governor or his challengers weave and bob to avoid telling us who they are and what the stand for.
Yes, I am absolutely prejudiced, but you are not supposed to be.