The Good, Bad and Ugly in Louisiana Politics, 2017

By Robert Mann

“I never wonder to see men wicked, but I often wonder to see them not ashamed.”  — Jonathan Swift

It was a year that shame forgot. Sure, that might describe most years in Louisiana politics, but events of 2017 seem particularly shameless and worthy of disdain. Maybe it’s the Trump Affect, a malady which afflicts some politicians and causes the sudden disappearance of self-respect and integrity. That meant the possibilities for distinction in unprincipled political behavior were bottomless — and opportunities for valor plentiful.

Here are the 2017 winners of my annual competition: “The Good, Bad and Ugly in Louisiana Politics.”

Most Courage: State Reps. Julie Stokes, R-Kenner, and Barry Ivey, R-Baton Rouge, two members of the House who tried to stave off the state’s looming “fiscal cliff” — when $1 billion in temporary taxes expire next summer — by proposing a series of modest, practical tax reform measures.

Gov. John Bel Edwards and other leaders ignored many sensible recommendations by the Task Force on Structural Changes in Budget and Tax Policy. Meanwhile, Stokes and Ivy waged a valiant-but-unsuccessful fight to instill a modicum of fiscal sanity, something out of vogue in Baton Rouge for a decade.

Most Cowardice: The House GOP Caucus, which resisted all efforts to address fiscal reform, stubbornly and dishonestly insisting that, after many years of deep budget reductions, the state’s budget woes can be solved by cuts alone.

“It’s hard to watch Louisiana fall on its face, which is what I do believe we are seeing at the moment,” Stokes observed last June. “Instead of solving our crisis and finding that opportunity, this Legislature has persisted — through three years and six sessions — to simply prolong the crisis.”

Shameless Ambition: U.S. Rep. Garret Graves, R-Baton Rouge, who sought to burnish his conservative bona fides with a cynical attack on poor working families surviving on meager allotments of food stamps. Graves’ legislation would impose work requirements on those receiving food assistance, although most of them are, in fact, working.

Most Embarrassing Statement: Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, for imploring President Donald Trump to intervene to prevent the removal of Confederate memorials in New Orleans. “I wrote him a letter and I asked him to look out your window, look at the statute of Jackson there at the White House because Andrew Jackson in Jackson Square is next in New Orleans if we don’t do something,” Nungesser said. This was a suggestion too ridiculous and reckless for even Trump.

Continue reading on NOLA.com at this link.

This entry was posted in Donald Trump, John Bel Edwards, Louisiana budget, Louisiana Politics, Politics, poverty and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Good, Bad and Ugly in Louisiana Politics, 2017

  1. Stephen Winham says:

    It’s hard to argue with these “winners”, but there are many contenders. The saddest item on the list is the resignation of Chris Broadwater, one of only a handful of statesmen remaining in our legislature.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. martybankson says:

    Please add:
    Most Dangerous–Jeff Landry. Throws his power and weight around without discretion. Given enough rein, this strong arm could easily push us to the brink of a police state. Thank goodness for a constitution.
    Most Deluded, but Crafty–John Schroder, Covington Representative in the House resigning his seat to run for the Treasurer job left vacant by Kennedy. Always the fiscal hawk, but got tired of the fighting at statehouse. Ran on the platform of protecting the money in the treasury from being looted or wasted.
    Sorry, not his job. That was in the job he just quit. But he was smart enough to predict he would not be facing any appealing opposition.

    Liked by 1 person

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