No, Stephanie Grace, JBE Doesn’t Have A Good Story To Tell

If you’re not yet convinced The Advocate is the worst newspaper in the South, here’s yet another point in that argument – Stephanie Grace’s mindless shilling for John Bel Edwards.

Today, Grace’s propaganda offensive takes the form of apologizing for Edwards’ failure to top 50 percent in Saturday’s primary, as he fell 3.5 points short of that mark which put the Democrat’s re-election chances in serious jeopardy.

Her take: Edwards’ campaign narrative is Really Good You Guys…

The good news is that Edwards has an appealing story to tell. He’s overseen a return to financial stability after having inherited a debilitating shortfall from Bobby Jindal. He’s spearheaded a major criminal justice reform drive. He’s expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, which has provided health insurance to about 467,000 Louisianans — most of them lower-income people who work — and kept rural hospitals in business. While he’s a Democrat in a Republican state, he has diligently distanced himself from the national party. And he’s noted that his successful initiatives have been bipartisan; they’ve had to be, since both houses of the Legislature are majority GOP.

She then laments that Edwards already told that story in the primary and the voters, or at least more than half of them, didn’t buy it.

Well, of course they didn’t. That story is bullshit. And Grace knows it’s bullshit. Not that propounding bullshit isn’t what she does every time she writes a column.

But just in case anyone is tempted to believe any ingredients of this weak sauce, let’s go through them.

No, Edwards has not overseen a return to financial stability from the ruin that Bobby Jindal left him. Edwards was the chair of the the Democrat delegation in the Louisiana House of Representatives and was therefore involved in the state’s budget negotiations while Jindal was in office, and Edwards voted for six of Jindal’s eight budgets. He had a hand in the situation he inherited from Jindal, which colors the entire narrative of this supposed deficit Louisiana faced when he took office.

And by the way, we don’t have budget deficits in Louisiana. The state constitution forbids them. There’s what money the state has coming in, and that’s what the state can spend. Period. Were budget cuts necessary to fund state government? They would have been, yes. But they weren’t because John Bel Edwards buffaloed the legislature into massive tax increases which he used to dramatically GROW Louisiana’s budget. And he also put the state on the hook for huge future budget increases which are not sustainable even despite the fact Louisiana has run sizable surpluses due to overtaxation of its citizens.

But most importantly in this discussion let’s remember that whatever “financial stability” Edwards and Grace might pleasure themselves to take credit for came at the cost of a vibrant private-sector economy in Louisiana. In Jindal’s final year in office Louisiana sunk into a recession because the price of oil nosedived, which played a big part in the state’s tax revenues taking a tumble but also wiped out the local economies in Shreveport, Houma and Lafayette. That wasn’t something public policy could fix. But that recession should have led to a recovery when the price of oil returned. It didn’t. Why didn’t it? Because Edwards ushered in more than a billion dollars’ worth of taxes on business – sales taxes, inventory taxes, taxes on business utilities, taxes on MM&E, you name it. He wiped out the forecasting value of the state’s ITEP program in bringing in new economic development projects, which collapsed the construction industry (Louisiana has lost more than 12,000 construction jobs since Edwards took office), by letting local-yokel school boards, sheriffs and parish councils have a vote in whether to extend it.

And now John Bel Edwards is the only governor in America who can’t grow jobs in the Trump boom economy. He’s overseen the net loss of more than 68,000 people through outmigration (a number likely to climb to 100,000 when the Census Bureau puts out their latest numbers). Louisiana is the worst-performing state economy in America since he took office. Given that, who cares whether the state budget has a surplus?

Edwards’ criminal justice reforms have led to at least six murders and a massive string of other crimes – burglaries in particular – because his Department of Corrections is an abject mess and is not capable of properly vetting which prison inmates to let out of jail. It isn’t the bipartisan reform package that was passed, though Louisiana’s reforms are inferior to those undertaken in Texas and South Carolina thanks to insistences he made during the debate of the criminal justice reforms, but rather its implementation which has been problematic. What he’s taking credit for is a good idea he’s done a poor job with. This is part of Grace’s “good story” she says Edwards can tell. And it all comes courtesy of the fact Edwards’ entire impetus in passing criminal justice reform was to drive a number – he wanted to let out enough inmates so Louisiana would no longer have the nation’s highest incarceration rate. Forget about whether Louisiana would also lose its place as having the highest murder rate in America; he didn’t care about that.

Expanding Medicaid was a decision that will cost Louisiana a compounding $100 million per year more, every year into the future. Edwards made that worse by signing up well more than 100,000 people who did not qualify for government health insurance, including some 1,600 people with six-figure incomes. That decision set on fire hundreds of millions of dollars wasted on welfare for people who did’t need it, which taxes the parts of the health care industry in the state serving the poor beyond their capabilities and puts upward pressure on the cost of private health insurance. After the election more than 80,000 people Edwards signed up for his Medicaid expansion will be kicked off the rolls because they weren’t eligible to begin with, and that’s after 50,000 have already been bounced. Does that sound like a well-run program to you, or does it sound like a hyperexpensive boondoggle by an incompetent clown of a governor wasting your money in an effort to buy votes?

As for politically distancing himself from the idiocy of the national Democrat party, how does that help the people of Louisiana? He’s governing exactly like the worst of the Hard Left – taxing the productive classes out of the state while slathering his voting base with free stuff, embracing every backward special interest willing to toss him a campaign check and refusing to act against the worst of the cultural Marxists among us. Let’s not forget that Edwards called Donald Trump a lunch-counter segregationist, attempted to give, essentially, affirmative action to transgenders through state contracting, put a Planned Parenthood board member in charge of the state health department and as a result has unlicensed doctors performing abortions in Louisiana, abjectly refused to carry out judicially sanctioned executions based on a flimsy excuse and lots of other things Grace and her newspaper have done their best to hide and obfuscate.

No, that’s not a good story to tell. It’s a lousy story, regardless of how vigorous Grace and her fellow scribes at The Advocate and some of Louisiana’s other legacy media organs are in trying to burnish it. Louisiana’s voters might not be the most sophisticated in the world but they smelled the odor of bullshit coming out of Edwards’ camp well enough on Saturday to deliver a minority vote for Edwards. And if Eddie Rispone does a capable job of calling bullshit on John Bel Edwards he’ll replace the nation’s worst governor in less than five weeks’ time.

Stephanie Grace’s replacement, sadly, isn’t likely coming as quickly.

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