Search This Blog


Blanco: confused, overshadowed, and vulnerable

With two years to go until the 2007 elections, encouraged by her lack of performance in the wake of the Katrina and Rita hurricane disasters, state Democrats are starting to draw long knives to use on the political career of Gov. Kathleen Blanco.

A month-and-a-half later, Blanco continues to look uncertain and in over her head dealing with the aftermath. At a press conference with Sen. David Vitter, the timing of her appearance at which implies she was an unanticipated, perhaps not eagerly desired, guest, she argued that Pres. George W. Bush could authorize use of funds to allow local governments to fund continuing operations.

Vitter noted that his information concluded any such authorization would have to be statutory in nature, a matter for Congress to deal with. Later, Blanco staffers continued to insist the president had the authority, but this insistence only serves to make Blanco look as unaware of what she needs to do as she did in the immediate aftermath of Katrina.

Blanco appeared to refer to her Sep. 23 request to the president to allow federal government full funding of local government employees with this remark. She bases her request on a regulation tied to the statute concerning federal government paying for rebuilding of local assets using local government employees, not paying for continuing operations. A regulation can be changed through the executive branch, perhaps even by something as simple as a presidential executive order, but if the statute defines the kind of activity allowable which is unrelated to the request then the statute must be changed.

Also notably at the conference, Louisiana’s Treasurer John Kennedy received more of a headliner status than did Blanco. Perhaps more than Blanco he has appeared at the forefront of the state’s response to reconstruction efforts, dispensing a slew of good advice (which his staff will be happy to inform readers about at Treasury’s blog). It makes one wonder where this Kennedy was last year during his ill-fated campaign for Vitter’s job when, in an effort to differentiate himself from conservative Vitter and moderately liberal former Rep. Chris John, he ran hard left to populism, an ideology he now counsels against in reference to acquisition of and uses of reconstruction funding.

Democrat Kennedy’s increased exposure amidst the disparaging evaluations of Democrat Blanco’s performance (punctuated by Vitter himself?) fuels speculation that he could be a serious rival to her in the 2007 governor’s contest. That he or somebody else could provide her a serious challenge from Democrats receives confirmation from the criticism she has received from legislative Democrats, black and white.

In short, Blanco continues to look confused, overshadowed by a potential rival, and therefore vulnerable in 2007.

No comments: