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Landrieu, others need to have deeds match symbolism

Part of the dysfunctionality of Louisiana politics is so often lip service gets paid to policy desired considerable, while these same elected officials fail to address or take responsibility for conditions that prevent the desirable outcomes from occurring. Such as example looms as various state politicians make their ways to The Netherlands for tomorrow’s seminars on how that country handles flood protection.

While Sen. Mary Landrieu, one of the organizers of the effort, correctly noted that “[i]t's all about the technology, the will and the right priorities,” either unintentionally out of a lack of wisdom or intentionally to deflect from her own culpability, Landrieu failed to clarify that she and others, in the past, have failed on the accounts of will and priorities. Prior to the hurricane disasters, Landrieu put politics ahead of protection in her lobbying that served to siphon money from more valuable flood-control efforts to lesser, even peripheral projects. Prior to and since the disasters, Landrieu has done little to promote reform of systems that would better produce the “right policies,” both at the federal level and state level.

Proper political will could solve for problems at both level of governments. Members of Congress can refuse to try to influence which projects get funded on the basis of perceived interests and sources of future votes, something which Landrieu could champion in both word and practice. Landrieu also could have joined the chorus of state voices that clamored for meaningful reform of levee governance, who, along with other important voices that stayed on the sidelines such as Gov. Kathleen Blanco, could have prevented its thwarting by other, pettier interests in the state’s lower legislative chamber in the past special session.

Unless Landrieu – and others with similar records as she who have not visibly tried to take political credit for this move like she has – takes responsibility publicly for her past inadequacies in this area of policy and genuinely seeks to change the political climate (such as deciding priorities in funding on the basis of principle and in throwing her weight behind levee governance reform) to prevent the problem from resurfacing, this exercise merely becomes show-and-tell and an empty publicity stunt. All the best plans and technology in the world will go to waste unless politics as usual gets removed from flood control policy.

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