BATISTE: John Bel Edwards’ Record On Historic Monuments Shows He’s No Moderate

If John Bel Edwards manages re-election a week from Saturday Louisiana may be considered a purple state, but if it’s purple in the face that’s only representative of the state choking on John Bel Edwards as Governor. Nearly all elected federal and state officials are Republicans, the state House and Senate have Republican majorities, yet the Governor is a Democrat. Thus, purple.

If Louisiana’s officials elected by the voters are Republican, it would make sense for Democrat John Bel Edwards to work across the aisle for the betterment of Louisiana, but he hasn’t shown any effort to lead a bipartisan coalition. And when it came to one of the most controversial issues in Louisiana, Bel Edwards blew opportunities to put people over politics when he hid during the monument saga.

The loser Mitch Landrieu, mayor of New Orleans until May 7, 2018, tried to steamroll his removalist propaganda over the people of New Orleans for two years when he hit a snag on the state level. Thomas Carmody proposed House Bill 71 in the spring of 2017 to protect military memorials from the iconoclastic Marxist efforts led by doofuses like Mitch. HB71, also known as the Louisiana Military Memorial Conservation Act, would protect plaques, statues, streets, parks, places, and yes, monuments to wars and military veterans from being removed or renamed. A similar measure was attempted in 2016 and it stalled out, dying in committee. Two other bills were also proposed that would have impacted Landrieu’s grossly unpopular effort.

In 2017, HB71 surprised Landrieu’s administration, per a source on his staff, when the bill survived its committee and headed to the full House of Representatives. When the day came for the House vote, the Black Caucus threw a fit and stormed out. HB71 passed. Now the military memorial bill crossed over to the other side of the capitol. It would be voted on in Senate committee, then if passed, go before the full Senate.

As Senate President, the big snake of the Louisiana legislative swamp John Alario steered HB 71 into the Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee run by New Orleans democrats, a de facto death chamber run by Mitch Landrieu’s cronies. HB 71 would have appropriately fit in the Education Committee which lists as one of its responsibilities “Preservation of historic landmarks and objects.” No one expected HB71 to survive the Karen Carter Peterson death chamber.

At the time of the 2017 legislative session, legitimate polls showed vast monument preservation support statewide. A poll released by The Advocate and WWL-TV in October 2015 showed 68% of Louisianians opposed removing the Confederate monuments in New Orleans. LSU’s April 2016 poll showed 73% of Louisianians opposed removing the Confederate memorials.

John Bel Edwards had an opportunity to win favor from the people and cast off partisan politics. He could have reached out to Alario and other Democrats. As a West Point alumnus and military man, he had extra credentials on the topic. Three of the targeted monuments were to U.S. veterans who graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, same as Governor Edwards. Robert E. Lee and Louisiana native P. G. T. Beauregard both served as Superintendents of West Point.

As a candidate, Bel Edwards’ story changed. The Advocate wrote in an August 2015 editorial, “State Sen. John Bel Edwards, the lone Democrat in the governor’s race, said the issue should be left to New Orleans residents.” Then in October 2015 The Advocate reported, “Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards said the decision should be left to the mayor, City Council and other officials in New Orleans.” Bel Edwards’ October comments shifted to letting the government decide—not the people.

Bel Edwards avoided the topic for nearly two years, tucking tail is a sure sign of someone who should not be in a leadership role. The monument controversy was not limited to New Orleans, it popped up all around the state of Louisiana, other notable controversies were in Lafayette, Lake Charles, Alexandria, Shreveport, and Minden.

Bel Edwards remained silent until his weekly radio show in April 2017 when a caller pressed him on the issue. Yes, Fake News couldn’t or wouldn’t get an answer out of the Governor of Louisiana on an extremely controversial issue, a caller got an answer out of him.

“This is an issue for New Orleans, and I don’t know that the state ought to be weighing in on the internal management of the city of New Orleans,” Edwards said in April 2017. ”We’re going to see what view the Legislature takes towards the bills,” he said. “I do want to have that conversation with the authors.”

Mizell, author of the Senate bill aimed at preservation, confirmed Governor Bel Edwards never spoke with her about SB198.

With the Battle of Liberty Place monument and the Jefferson Davis monument stolen in the dark, a reporter finally asked Edwards about the issue after the Black Caucus threw its temper tantrum.

“I understand passion runs high, and while it is certainly a part of our history, can we say it’s the best part?” (Edwards) said, when asked his personal opinion about the removal of Confederate monuments in New Orleans.

Bel Edwards still refused to make a stand, in any direction, which equated to supporting removal. Not only did he not answer the question, Fake News was OK with the Governor not answering.

Bel Edwards campaigns on his military background—emphasizing his West Point pedigree. But when the West Point Alumnus Governor had the opportunity to save three fellow West Point graduates from posthumous dishonorable discharges, he avoided the topic. His silence on HB71—and ultimately the politically correct clean sweep—spoke volumes to his character.

Now compare Bel Edwards’ refusal to stand with 68% or 73% of Louisiana to his position on abortion. According to the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute, 23% of Louisiana residents oppose abortion in all cases per its poll released in August 2019.

The PRRI poll states, “Louisiana has the lowest level of support in the region, with just 34% who say abortion should be legal in most or all cases and 60% who say it should be illegal in most or all cases.”

On the issue, Bel Edwards explained to the media that his anti-abortion position, “was me being true to myself and true to what I told the people of Louisiana I was.” The Advocated wrote, not directly quoting JBE, that Bel Edwards “is not concerned about losing Democratic support” for his abortion stance. That statement is likely true because everyone knows Democrat voters are mindless pawns, it’s why the Edwards family owned slaves, fought for the Confederacy, and supported white supremacist legislation and the Left still supports him.

Bel Edwards stands by his convictions. He believes abortion should be illegal and historic monuments should be removed. People over politics, unless the politics are his own personal beliefs, and then he ignores the people.

The monument issue showed Bel Edwards’ trifecta of failure. First, he ransacked his military brethren. Second, he buried his head in the sand instead of attempting to work with lawmakers. Third, he ignored the overwhelming majority of Louisiana.

Not only did Bel Edwards fumble an opportunity to win points with his critics, his silence exposed him as the shamed military man with zero interest in working with both sides of the political aisle, Democrat and Republican. John Bel Edwards could have brought together a blue dog coalition and shown conservatives he was capable of putting partisanship aside to protect Louisiana’s shared history from the self-serving motives of Mitch Landrieu. Instead, he played the role of political pawn.

No matter where you stand on monuments or murdering babies, John Bel Edwards has given the finger to 73% and 77% of Louisiana on those issues. He’s a loose cannon, and not in a good way. Take a look at the last four years in Louisiana, especially the last three as we struggled while Donald Trump made the rest of America great again. In John Bel Edwards’ Louisiana jobs go down, historic monuments come down, and taxes go up.

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