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Recall petition presents quandary for advocates of change

With a recall for Gov. Kathleen Blanco now officially launched, this presents a double-edged sword, and her ouster may fail to improve the policy situation in Baton Rouge for now and the foreseeable future.

Little doubt exists that Blanco failed as a leader for the catastrophes that struck Louisiana in a one-month period beginning in late August. That and her subsequent actions also signal as suspect her ability to lead the state out of the severe consequences of the hurricane disasters.

But a successful recall would promote Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu into the Governor’s Mansion (which would give him another chance to redecorate). In the aftermath of the disasters, Landrieu has articulated more sensible, and more politically astute, policy preferences than has Blanco it appears in an effort to launch a gubernatorial candidacy in 2007.

While what he has said may make him appear to be a superior governor than Blanco, we cannot forget that Landrieu is as faithful as she a card-carrying member of the good old boy, politics as usual crowd to which Blanco belongs. The flashes that make it appear he is heading away from his (and his family’s) populist background towards the political center likely will prove just that, intermittent, and his true liberal ideology would shine through forcefully if handed the reins of state government.

This could hamper the state in providing the leadership it needs in 2007 when elections come around. If Landrieu assumes the top spot earlier, this could solidify his chances at getting the job for the full term at that time.

So, potential signers of the petition have a choice to make. Landrieu might prove to be a better leader in the short term than Blanco, but the long-term impact of his occupying the capitol’s fourth floor probably will not be any better (in fact, it may boost the flagging fortunes of his sister Sen. Mary Landrieu, herself just as reliably wrong-headed on many issues of the day as her brother and Blanco) than what she can do and could reduce the chances of far superior leadership emerging in 2007.

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