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Landrieu remaking political self to challenge Blanco?

Since when does Louisiana’s lieutenant governor, whose main purview is over tourism, culture, and recreation, get involved in a debate over flood protection, levee boards, and relations between different levels and parts of state government? When your name is Landrieu and you’re casting a covetous eye on the governor’s office.

It is entirely possible that a political revolution is brewing in Louisiana, the shortcomings of the current liberal/populist regime from state to local governments having been exposed by the hurricane disasters, and resentment to which has been fueled by the statements and actions of those invested in that failed ideology who continue to demonstrate that they are stuck on stupid. And Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu seems to have discerned this and is trying to catch this wave.

Of course, the irony of it all is that Landrieu himself has occupied one of the top spots in the stuck-on-stupid crowd, a scion of Louisiana’s last great plantation family. But response to the disasters has opened new avenues by which he can try to divorce himself from his past and try to remake himself politically similarly to the ongoing attempt by his older sister’s compatriot Sen. Hillary Clinton.

So when levee boards (as well as other local and the state governments) keep pointing fingers at everybody except where they should, at themselves, for inadequate flood protection, right after, either through commission or omission, a special session bill that would have improved matters gets scuttled, Landrieu abandons his stuck-on-stupid brethren here to argue for consolidation of levee district functions.

If Landrieu appears serious in a quest to unseat the beleaguered Gov. Kathleen Blanco, we can look for him increasingly to stake out different preferences from her on matters of making government work “better” (although he will not abandon his love of big government that he shares with her). And, for the family’s sake, this scenario seems more and more likely as the post-disaster political environment has seriously endangered Sen. Mary Landrieu’s reelection chances the year after the governor’s race. At this point, having a Landrieu in the Governor’s Mansion, able to use the power of the office to assist her statewide, may be the only thing that could save her from defeat.

Naturally, her brother faces the same daunting electoral odds, especially if Blanco does not desist in running for reelection. Still, in his current low-profile job he has a greater opportunity to warp his image away from his past, and may think that he can put one over on the state’s voters. After all, since so many others have done so in Louisiana, history suggests that he does have a reasonable chance at success.

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