One might think that having spent his collegiate years at West Point and then several more as a commissioned Army officer would toughen you up. Then again, persons who lack self-introspection in military service can become too comfortable with barking out orders met by absolute obedience, so if others question and even criticize your dictates, arrogant lashing out at them occurs.
Edwards’ tendencies on this account compound because he knows a majority of Louisiana’s center-right electorate disagrees with him on a majority of issues, so his visceral reactions to criticism of his policy serve as attempts to deflect from the complaints’ merits that hit home. No critique from elected officials escapes him and he will respond with disdain and vitriol.
Two cases in point have emerged last week. Republican State Rep. Alan Seabaugh, in a Facebook post, called out Edwards for submitting a budget – for which Seabaugh didn’t vote – that did not fully fund Shreveport’s charity hospital partner and the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students, citing these as broken campaign promises. He also wrote nobody could trust what Edwards says.
Apparently, even as Louisiana runs this deficit, the hypersensitive Edwards spends taxpayer dollars on staffers monitoring social media and assisting in responses, for he then fired back in an opinion column in Seabaugh’s hometown Shreveport Times. In it, he said Seabaugh “spread bitter, partisan attacks on me” and “lie[d] about my actions and my intentions,” claimed he had been “open and honest” about identifying solutions to the state’s budget crisis and in funding critical programs, and accused Seabaugh of not identifying budget cuts or supporting raising additional revenue to cause the complained programmatic shortfalls.
Note that Edwards skipped addressing the assertions about campaign statements and instead constructed a defense of his own actions about hospital and TOPS funding – as if he anticipated a rebuttal opinion piece by Seabaugh, duly forthcoming, who in it accused Edwards of deliberately underfunding these areas as opposed to making other choices to “blackmail” legislators into tax increases (and Seabaugh did vote for some in the first special session). But nowhere did Edwards justify his own actions in choosing such high value targets instead of much lesser programs, preferring to attack Seabaugh’s motive as a means to distract readers from that point.
Then Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced he would add Louisiana to his list of road show states, where he appears in places with taxes going up and stumps for business to come to his state that has lowered taxes dozens of times during his terms and has no state income tax. Besides that Florida’s economy outperforms Louisiana’s, his statements hold obvious truth: businesses prefer fewer taxes rather than more, making Florida’s policies in this regard more attractive than those pursued by Edwards as governor and during the last year of former Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal’s term.
Naturally, this enraged Edwards, who put out a statement telling Scott he should look up Louisianans allegedly “paying the price” for Jindal’s presumably similar policies that reputedly resulted in the deficit. With this, revealing logic comes into play. When Edwards declares Scott’s message of tax-cutting to spur growth as similar to Jindal’s policies that he asserts failed, as he currently promotes tax increases as beneficial to the state in essence Edwards argues against tax reductions as a method of economic growth and in favor of bigger government as the preferred mechanism. Does he truly think the Louisiana public agrees with his belief that the state can tax itself to prosperity?
Also note the inferential leap that Edwards tries to sell – that economic policies equate to Louisiana’s budgetary health, so that insufficient taxation caused an economy that produced deficits. But this view completely ignores the spending size of the equation. In fact, in both job and economic growth, Louisiana outpaced the country during Jindal’s fiscal year 2009-16 terms, but state spending increased 12.6 percent compared to an inflationary increase of 10 percent. Government overspending, not lack of revenue, has caused the current shortage.
The public should not let Edwards fool it. When elected officials opposing his ideological agenda, even using obscure media, assail him with arguments he knows defeats it in the eyes of Louisiana’s majority, that he responds to all and by sidestepping the essential points of these, launching distracting personal attacks in the process, demonstrates he recognizes his policies’ weakness – something he gives away with every squeal.