Legislators need not sacrifice power to satisfy left's agenda
If perhaps state Rep. Dee Richard can manage to swing a third of the Senate to request a special session of the Louisiana Legislature, setting up a needed majority vote in both chambers to have it, or even that doesn’t transpire, the best thing he can do is declare a misinterpreted victory now before sending the Legislature into one of the Pyrrhic variety.
So, Richard and whoever else wishes to join him should claim victory immediately, even if falsely asserting that the House request demonstrates anything but a howl from the left and its populist fellow travelers, and leave it at that. In fact, it would serve the Legislature’s credibility more if signatories surreptitiously worked against the session happening. Otherwise, those who are deluding themselves into thinking it strengthens the body will discover what actually happens very much is the opposite.
In essence, he has announced the task to meeting is a quarter-way there with the assent of 38 House members to the petition. A similar performance by senators by the end of Friday will set up the vote to hold it. Regardless of whether that happens, at the close of Friday if he’s smart Richard will hail the effort as a sign of vigor in and independence of the Legislature, and leave it at that.
Of course, in real life it’s nothing of the sort. Instead, his limited success to date is part of the dying bray of liberalism and populism as significant political forces in the state. The rationale for the session, as previously noted, is to pass laws that would make the Legislature the equivalent of the Transportation Security Administration for Louisiana on budget implementation, with the chambers frisking executive decisions to find any evidence of policies that could right-size state government and/or impede their abilities to feed statewide or constituency-based special interests at taxpayer expense that assist in their reelections, and then to try to eliminate any offensive implementation decisions that threaten their reelections and/or trouble their faiths in big government.
But that plane started leaving the gate as a result of the 2007 state elections and had taken off after the 2011 set, giving the state a governor and legislative majorities willing to question, if not overthrow, the stale notion that state government should do things better done by the private sector and that a primary role of it was to provide jobs directly. This is not to say that some of these legislators don’t have feet of clay when the consequences of this transformation appear in their districts, but that, in the final analysis, the transformation will happen regardless of whether they are on board for every issue.
The math here simply is on the side of the reformers. If securing the dual majorities calling the session, a million dollars of the people’s money goes out the door for nothing more than a gripe session paid for by taxpayers. Nothing of consequence will happen because, if by chance a majority could be secured on any item introduced in the session that in any meaningful way alters the present policy implementation regime, it will be vetoed by Gov. Bobby Jindal. And in each body there are at least a third of its members who are committed enough to reform and/or who understand the parochial must give way to the good of the entire state who will uphold all potential vetoes.
So legislators need to think carefully about how to proceed here, for a session like this instead of enhancing the Legislature as a policy-maker will discredit it. The true believers of the left will have duped useful idiots from the Republican majority into taking the Legislature’s power as an institution and delivering it as a holocaust for the liberal/populist faith, as the state’s people will feel betrayed by legislators that so much money was wasted on an exercise in minority-party propaganda and group therapy session. The Legislature’s left will care little and gladly trade legislative power for feel-good ranting, knowing it has no chance to govern, but more serious legislators on the right will suffer the consequence of further diminishment of that power.
Posted by Jeff Sadow at 10:15