We’re not even going to bother with linking the endorsement of John Bel Edwards that appeared at The New Orleans Advocate’s website over the weekend, because very little said in that endorsement is worth discussing. We’ve known for quite some time that The Advocate is wholly owned by the Edwards campaign, and they’ve dutifully repeated that campaign’s lies and misrepresentation’s of the governor’s atrocious record.
For The Advocate to do anything other than continue peddling the Edwards narrative that he “inherited a $2 billion deficit” and “led Louisiana out of a recession” would be major news in itself.
That The Advocate is on board with Edwards’ re-election was proven not by its endorsement but by its willful choice not to publish anything touching the Washington Times’ bombshell story about Edwards’ “family tradition” of slavery and segregation, thus participating in the governor’s attempt to hide that history from the public while he touts four generations of Edwardses serving as sheriff of Tangipahoa Parish. A reputable newspaper would have covered the fallout from the Washington Times story; The Advocate didn’t, which prompted a national journalist of our acquaintance to express shock at the overt bias and lack of professionalism shown by the Louisiana legacy media.
Perhaps it wasn’t Edwards homerism but instead a sensitivity to embarrassing past overt racism on the part of The Advocate’s publisher John Georges which explains the papering-over of the Edwards “family tradition.” Georges, after all, was president of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity at Tulane in the late 1970’s, during which the fraternity was rife with its members appearing in blackface and engaging in order racist acts – and he might have been photographed in blackface himself. Had The Advocate participated in informing the public about Edwards’ history and the troubling questions it raises considering his having used his family as a prop for his campaign commercials, something it would clearly have done were Edwards a Republican, perhaps the blowback onto Georges’ own history would have been a bit too embarrassing for the paper to take on.
Which is unfortunate, particularly given that when Edwards was asked a question about reparations for slavery in a campaign forum in September, he gave the mealy-mouthed answer that he hadn’t “studied” or “considered” the question. That should have resulted in one of the Advocate’s social justice warrior columnists, like for example Stephanie Grace, hammering away at Edwards for his insensitivity to a large portion of the Louisiana electorate which “still suffers from the effects of slavery,” or some such typical leftist narrative, and then when Edwards’ history became known later in the week it would have been at journalistic par for the paper to note the irony and rhetorical box Edwards was in on the reparations question because he, as the direct descendant of one of Louisiana’s largest slaveholding – not to mention slave-trading – families would have clearly been near the front of the line in owing those reparations should they ever come to pass.
And perhaps someone in the legacy media, though this might well be over the head of any of The Advocate’s writers, could have engaged the thorny question of what John Bel Edwards’ family history means to the American Left with its never-ending obsession with slavery reparations – because there is no logical universe in which a political party or movement might continue scraping at the wound of slavery by demanding a “discussion” of reparations while at the same time it carries an Edwards at the top of the ballot in an American statewide election. If you’re serious about reparations you have to abandon John Bel Edwards, and vice versa.
But the fact no one at the Advocate is willing to engage that question is no surprise. Other than Dan Fagan that paper lacks a political writer with the intellectual heft to take it on, and so what we get is its pabulum endorsement of the only governor incapable of growing jobs in the Trump economy.
Except – except – the memo apparently didn’t get out to the paper’s outdoors writer Joe Macaluso. Macaluso wrote a scathing piece detailing Edwards’ colossal mismanagement of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries over the past four years, a topic in which we have dabbled here at The Hayride, particularly during the unmitigated mess of Charlie Melancon’s tenure running the department at the beginning of Edwards’ term. A taste of Macaluso’s takedown of Edwards’ LDWF debacle…
For sportsmen, the past four years of the current administration began with hope and promise before turning into a war of wills and words. While the battles have lessened to some degree during the past 30 months, there continues to be apprehension, a nagging what’s-coming-next question.
It started with the appointment of Charlie Melancon to head the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. It turned out to be a slap in the face to the folks who enjoy outdoor opportunities in our state.
After near year-long run of firings, intimidating pressure by what only could be called newly hired “henchmen” — Melancon called a sitting congressman a “liar” during a Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting — and lawsuits resulting from those staff firings, Melancon was replaced. (He said he was forced out.)
Melancon didn’t leave without firing a parting shot. In his last days at the LDWF, he released yet another attack on the eight years Robert Barham held the agency’s top job. Claims of gross mismanagement and misappropriation of funds were attempts to continually diminish the gains LDWF Fisheries made in battles for recreational fishermen’s rights in the Gulf of Mexico.
Those gains began long ago during Mike Foster’s eight years as governor, continued through Kathleen Blanco’s hurricane-filled years and eight more years of Bobby Jindal. During those years the groundwork for the state’s highly acclaimed LA Creel system was laid, then built while building relationships with coastal fishermen that were destroyed in this current administration’s first 12 months.
During those months, there was a philosophical change in state fisheries management, a move to turn away from the gains made by recreational fishermen on the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, and what appeared to be a failed attempt to discredit LA Creel, the country’s first, and successful, near real-time fishery data-collection system.
And then Macaluso zeroed in on the truly sinister force which drove the otherwise-inexplicable mismanagement of the department…
It wasn’t until a couple of months after Melancon left when it became clear what had happened during the first year of the current governor’s administration.
It was apparent the Environmental Defense Fund was the new elephant in the room. Under Barham, the LDWF’s representatives on the Gulf Council battled EDF’s continued moves to further hinder the recreational sector’s part in what was a war over the Gulf of Mexico’s population of reef fish, notably red snapper.
With a new, and apparently favorable, administration, EDF found an open door in Louisiana, and had the people to do it, to attempt to counteract what had been the LDWF’s objections to moves like requiring recreational fishermen to have daily tags to catch red snapper among other albeit slow gains on the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council made during the previous 20 years.
Despite attempts made by Jack Montoucet, Melancon’s appointed replacement, to smooth the waters, there continued to be problems.
One of EDF’s moves into Louisiana and into the recreational offshore sector was an often pushed, and oft-failed, requirement mandating electronic reporting after any and all red snapper trips. It was a direct slap in the face to LA Creel, which was making progress towards becoming the first federally approved state data-collection system in the country.
Then there was, in May 2017, the time certain members of the LDWF staff misled representatives of the Louisiana Charterboat Association, the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission and recreational fishing organizations about how the state would operate the upcoming red snapper season.
Both the fishing and charterboat groups left the meeting believing the LDWF would advocate the use of LA Creel to manage Louisiana’s red snapper only to learn the next day, from a LDWF announcement, it would use a plan to use part of Louisiana’s quota to create an EDF-backed lottery system. It was a plan to allow what appeared to be hand-picked fishermen to catch red snapper while other fishermen would be left out.
The whole thing is well worth a read, because it outlines precisely the kind of leadership Edwards has provided throughout Louisiana’s state agencies and bureaucracies, and the resulting effects on Louisiana’s citizens. LDWF, after all, has one of the easiest jobs – it manages one of America’s most abundant and popular fisheries and hunting grounds. And to fail as completely as it has despite sizable resources is bad enough – but to fail because the governor turns out to be in bed with far-Left environmentalist nut groups is something that, as Macaluso states late in the article, is worth mention and review.
But The Advocate’s political writers don’t mention or review it, just like they don’t mention or review much of anything that didn’t originate with Edwards’ camp.
The paper had better hope Edwards wins re-election per their endorsement, because if either Ralph Abraham or Eddie Rispone meets Edwards in a runoff and manages to knock him off in November, Louisiana’s new governor would – as a citizen of the state much more so than as a politician – be more than justified to treat the paper (its Outdoors section perhaps excepted) with the utmost disdain and derision.