Jeff Sadow was spot on in his post this morning about how House Speaker Clay Schexnayder, whose performance over the past year and change has been perfectly reflective of the method in which he assumed power, can’t keep on like he has been. This size legislative majority on the part of the Republican Party is unprecedented in Louisiana history, at least since Reconstruction, and there is no guarantee it will sustain itself.
Particularly if nothing of value is accomplished in this legislative term.
And so far, there is a grant total of one item of note which could be called an accomplishment. That was the rather mild tort reform bill it took two legislative sessions to pass last year.
Other than that, you have some very easy wins available which simply mimic what’s been done in other states. Any Republican leader with half a brain or a quarter of a spine would have insured their passage simply as a matter of giving his voters and those of the members of his delegation a deliverable and a signal that they’re in touch with the folks who elected them.
Making a statement that you’re not for giving puberty blockers to kids, for example. If you aren’t horrified by, for example, the Hollywood leftist child abusers who are engaged in boutique gender experiments with their kids, then maybe that case in Texas where the crazy ex-wife is trying to turn their 7-year-old son into a girl over the father’s objections might make you believe this is something that ought to pass. All around the country Republican legislatures are stepping in to impose sanity on the wacko cultural Marxists out there who want to turn transgender kids into a wide phenomenon.
When you understand that post-op transsexuals have an attempted suicide rate of more than two in five, you realize this isn’t just a right-wing talking point or a virtue-signal to the churchy crowd – it’s a humanitarian effort aimed at saving the lives of vulnerable people who could end up mutilated or dead as a result of a cultural fad. The fact that Planned Parenthood is now getting into the business of dealing sex-change drugs means the time to put a stop to this is now; otherwise, in a few years you’ll be fighting a behemoth who’s profiteering from destroying vulnerable kids’ lives and catching hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars to do it.
Schexnayder isn’t at fault for the fact a bill that would stop that barbarism didn’t go anywhere in the Senate, but he is at fault for the death of a related bill in the House Education committee yesterday.
I did a podcast at The Speakeasy after this happened, but that committee shot down HB 542 by Rep. Beryl Amedee, which would protect girls’ sports from the incursions of biological males, on a 6-5 vote. Of the six votes to kill the bill, two of them were – amazingly enough – women. Stephanie Hilferty, who we can’t stop talking about lately even though we’d really like to, and Barbara Freiberg both voted to kill the bill. Freiberg, who used to be on the Baton Rouge Metro Council and was horrible then, and before that was on the East Baton Rouge School Board, said she voted the bill down because the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s regulations already serve to keep the boys out of girls’ sports.
Which is a lousy argument. It’s only a matter of time before some mixed-up brat who can’t cut it on the boys’ team decides he feels like a woman, and finds the ACLU or some other left-wing “public interest” law firm or some other publicity-hound trial lawyer to sue the LHSAA over whether he can block shots on the girls’ hoops team. And if the LHSAA’s regulations aren’t backed by state law, what’s going to happen is some terrible judge, likely in East Baton Rouge or Orleans Parish, will find for the plaintiff.
Or worse than that, they’ll start a cancel-mob campaign targeted at the LHSAA and pressure them to change the regulations.
The point of putting this in state law is to make the LHSAA a harder target. And the more state legislatures act to protect girls’ sports, the more quickly the destructive transgender fad begins to fade away as the Left starts to realize it’s no hill to die on.
Hilferty and Freiberg aren’t smart enough to understand any of this, or else they’re not on board with a core piece of GOP policy. Either way, they’re liabilities.
A House Speaker who doesn’t suck recognizes this and acts accordingly. That means not having Hilferty on House Education if it’s going to get bills like HB 564, which was the committee chairman Ray Garofalo’s critical race theory bill, and HB 542. Or stocking that committee with enough conservatives that bills like those could get out.
Or at the very least calling Hilferty and Freiberg in advance and telling them that those bills have to get to the floor, so if they can’t vote yes on them they need to take a walk.
Schexnayder did even worse than that. He allowed Garofalo to be so embattled following the stupid controversy over HB 564’s hearing, which we talked about here at the site repeatedly last week, that the chairman took the day off yesterday so as not to generate a media circus. Garofalo is back in the saddle today and it looks like the public outcry over his potential removal saved him, but the damage is done.
House Education is likely to get a nearly identical girls’ sports bill coming over from the Senate, as SB 156 by Beth Mizell is due for a vote on the Senate floor today. So there is another bite at the apple here. If somehow Mizell’s bill can’t get out of that committee, this stuff won’t look like an accident any longer.
At the end of the day, the answer isn’t that Clay Schexnayder is some closet leftist who has all these people fooled. That isn’t it. Clay Schexnayder isn’t performing the way he is because he’s trying to turn us into California.
We’re getting this nightmare because he sucks at his job. He had to get Democrats to vote for him because the House GOP delegation, which knew him best for having worked with him, recognized that he sucks and wanted somebody else.
That’s why this whole Babylonian Captivity that we’re mired in happened. The Legislative Black Caucus has an effective veto on core Republican policy items in the Louisiana House of Representatives, which has 68 Republican members out of 105, because Clay Schexnayder isn’t smart enough to recognize that all he really has to do in order to solidify his position as Speaker is simply to govern as a Republican.
We’ve talked to lots of conservatives in the House. Every one of them has told us that they regard it as a major pain in the ass to even consider deposing a House Speaker, and that it’s even harder to find somebody to replace Schexnayder with. He’s the Speaker because nobody else could get to 53 votes, plain and simple. What they want, and what they would happily support, is a Clay Schexnayder who was willing to govern as a Republican House Speaker – meaning, he helps Republican members pass bills reflecting core Republican agenda items. This year around the country, a lot of those are cultural items like the transgender things and critical race theory in the schools. But election reform, protecting domestic energy where it’s possible, standing against federal regulatory overreach and so on are also on the table.
And none of that is moving in the House. He has his allies killing those bills when he himself isn’t pressuring the authors to squash them.
Sooner or later this is going to generate enough irritation among Republican voters in the state that Schexnayder’s members will start giving him ultimatums rather than vice versa. They’re going to start getting calls from constituents pissed off that the House isn’t accomplishing anything other than spending $36 billion in federal swag and contributing to inflation which will kill off what little economy Louisiana has left – which, by the way, Schexnayder’s leadership team is doing nothing to aid. They’re play-acting at tax reform, but within the realm of “revenue neutrality” which means rearranging the Titanic’s deck chairs.
Last year watching Schexnayder fight his members who wanted to circulate a petition to reopen the state, something the experiences in Texas, Mississippi and Florida have shown was the correct COVID policy, we applied the term Failure Theater to describe his leadership. Well, his failure is less and less theatrical as time goes by. And at some point it becomes not just Schexnayder’s failure but that of the House members who are collaborating in it.
At some point something has to be done. A Republican House needs a Republican Speaker. Our neighbors don’t seem to have a problem getting one.