Search This Blog


Veto session attempt primarily about political futures

It’s been a long time since there’s been a veto session of the Louisiana Legislature, because so seldom do legislators want to challenge the governor. That state Rep. Billy Montgomery has started an effort to do so tells us about his and Gov. Kathleen Blanco’s political futures.

The last governor to have bills vetoed was Buddy Roemer. It was no accident that a year later Roemer found he could not even make the general election runoff for a second term against a pair of future convicts. Only a weak governor would have a veto sprung against her, but it’s not a good sign for Blanco’s future prospects to even have it being actively considered.

No doubt Montgomery sincerely believes in the merit of the bill the veto of which he wants overridden – as well he should, for HB 699 was a bill that never should have been vetoed. Its compelling argument that consumers will benefit from lower cable rates overwhelms the weak facts and twisted logic of the special interests that opposed it, local government and cable television companies. But that may not be even the primary reason Montgomery is kicking up a fuss.

Term-limited in the House, Montgomery has eyes on the Senate District 37 seat, perhaps the most conservative in the state which therefore gives Montgomery a thin record for it. Traditionally one of the more populist, liberal members of the House, this year Montgomery compiled a more reformist, conservative voting record, and HB 699 was a big part of it. Shepherding the bill through wins him some credit, but a final victory or at least the effort to reach it would be even better.

Since Montgomery has so little to hang his hat on in terms of conservative/reformist credentials, the more he can milk HB 699, the better his chances of winning in 2007. Even if Montgomery could rally a majority in both houses to call the session, with just one vote to spare in both the House and Senate and a number of previous bill supporters probably skittish that an affirmative override vote on their part would lead to Blanco avenging herself on their capital outlay requests next spring, the odds for a successful override aren’t good.

Still, Montgomery must figure the publicity can only do him electoral good, and he is doing the right thing. But, to properly understand the motivations here, were Montgomery a genuine conservative/reformer and/or he was not running for that open seat, it’s very doubtful he would have gone to these lengths. It’s nice to have a leopard working for you, but they don’t change their spots overnight.

No comments: