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23.9.11

Candidate behavior suggests coming LA lt. gov. change

Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne cannot feel too inspired about his chances to retain his post, given the direction his campaign rhetoric has headed. At the same time, his opponent Plaquemines Parish Pres. Billy Nungesser has adopted a strategy more indicative of an incumbent than challenger – a status possibly earned given information in the most recent campaign finance reports.

While Dardenne’s past campaigns focused on outlining his qualifications and ideas for (as boring and inconsequential as they are) the jobs for which he ran, increasingly the tone of this one has evolved into criticism of Nungesser and his endorsers. The latest came when, informed by the media about the campaign reporting figures due yesterday showing Nungesser had loaned his campaign a half-million dollars, bringing his total self-loan to $1 million, Dardenne termed that as “an attempt to buy the office,” and proclaimed, as he has never lent himself money for statewide runs, that “my support has always been from people across the state who believe in what I stand for,” through their donations.


But, interestingly, if that is the metric by which Dardenne measures the worth of a candidacy, Nungesser trumps him. In the latest reporting period, Dardenne raised $266,575, while Nungesser in that period topped him by over six figures with $383,155.

22.9.11

Newspaper shows illiteracy on understanding tax cut effects

Recall from yesterday’s post I noted how public policy debate got elevated by the excellent argumentation of two, of all people, politicians? Well, what goes up comes down on this issue courtesy of some economic illiteracy left unchallenged by the media.

The Shreveport Times decided to comment on Rep. John Fleming’s media remarks that soaking the rich to pay for bloated government constituted class warfare. It argued that tax increases on the wealthy should not be dismissed out of hand regardless of whether it constituted class warfare, and presented, but did not challenge, an assertion from the political left that it was “class warfare against the working class and poor when the [George W.] Bush administration pushed the lower [tax] rates through a decade ago.”

Leaving aside the fact that under that definition Pres. Barack Obama also has engaged in “class warfare against the working class and poor” when he succeeded in getting a Congress with a majority of Democrats in it to extend the lower rates, this conceptualization has no basis in fact.

21.9.11

LA politicians successfully take on politically correct forces


In this era of dumbed-down education, especially in the areas of history and economics (signified by politicians shorn of teleprompters claiming the country has 58 states or that men have landed on Mars), public policy debate really hits the jackpot when not just one but two politicians take on political correctness and dispel the prevailing kultursmog belched forth born of faith in the peculiar dogmatism of modern times.

Rep. John Fleming got his chance when asked about his status as one of the higher income earning Members of Congress. Besides a salary of $174,000, some Members have other sources of income, and while Fleming is a medical doctor he also own a slew of franchises giving him a gross income in the millions of dollars. He pointed out that after expenses what he really took home was perhaps a tenth of all that, which came to an estimated $600,000 annually.

Of course, to many on the political left this kind of net income automatically makes him evil, because in their warped mythology one can get that kind of wealth only through some kind of exploitation in a system rigged in the favor of a few, and the only way he can come close to paying for his crime is to give a substantial portion of it to government for redistribution purposes. Lost in all of this is that Fleming was not to the manor born and through sheer effort built all of this from scratch after his discharge from the military.

20.9.11

Case hijacked to fight Confederate flag placement

Joining the sesquicentennial of the beginning of combat in the Civil War was a suit that could result in the removal of the (Third) Confederate (Battle) flag from its perch near the Caddo Parish Courthouse. Even a recent Louisiana Supreme Court ruling concerning its presence will not resolve the debate over that for some.

The flag complements a commemorative marker placed in 1903 lauding the land on which the courthouse sits as the last location of the capital of the Confederacy. It got planted there in 1951 after all of the small plot, near a corner of the property, was transferred by the parish to the local United Daughters of the Confederacy chapter. Thus, as past protesters of it have discovered, they cannot use political pressure on parish government to have it removed as it flies on private property.

This latest effort comes related to an appeal of a capital case.

19.9.11

Denial, self-deception displayed at LA Democrat meeting

An outstanding example of the blind leading the blind came through comments made at the meeting of Louisiana Democrats’ State Central Committee meeting, and explains why the party will continue to lose power in the state.

American parties being catchall institutions, some involved place little emphasis on ideology. But for those activists for whom ideology is important, it’s hard not to grab each, shake him into consciousness, rap them on the forehead with knuckles while saying, “Knock, knock, anybody home? It’s the ideology!” to explain why the party is in decline. If pressed for elucidation, tell the befuddled liberal that intellectual exercise combined with review of fact and history show the invalidity of liberalism as describing how the world really works. Rational thinking and observation show the tenets of conservatism show better understanding of the human condition, and thereby comport to reality.

However, the problem for those partisans who still maintain faith in liberalism is denial if not self-deception, if not about their own creed then concerning the principles of conservatism. 

18.9.11

Dardenne response renews his credibility questions

What haunts Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and tells us something about his candidacy and the place of ideas in his governing style is not so much present endorsements for his office, but those endorsers from his initial run.

Last year, Dardenne went after the office upon the resignation of its former holder. In the general election that serves as a primary election under Louisiana’s blanket primary law, he made the runoff against liberal Democrat Caroline Fayard, defeating in the process previous office candidate entertainer and Republican Sammy Kershaw. With only a 28-24 percentage lead over her, and with Kershaw getting 19 percent, no great groundswell of support existed for Dardenne.

Then, his main problem was his moderate conservative Senate voting record (about 58 according to the Louisiana Legislature Log’s ideology/reform voting index for 2004-06, right in line with the Senate GOP average of the time) was distrusted by conservatives.