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Boasso gamble likely finishes his political career

While the general consensus about state Sen. Walter Boasso’s switch from Republican to Democrat deemed him an “opportunist,” worth noting is that the move also involved considerable political risk for his career as an elective official. Simply, unless he wins the contest, that career is over.

Perhaps because it’s his business background where time means money and inefficiency means bankruptcy, or impatience, or even ego, but, as far as political ambitions go, he simply would not wait for the right opportunity as a Republican. As far as fitting ideology to party, he clearly melds more convincingly and gracefully as a Republican. He says he fiscally conservative (although he was the crucial vote in supporting a Gov. Kathleen Blancosick tax” measure) and pro-life. And he certainly chose an issue that at its basics is more personality-related than ideology-related, disaster relief response, if we believe his claim that was the issue that compelled him to switch back to the Democrats. (Question: had the likes of former senator John Breaux entered the race, would Boasso ever have switched?)

Regardless, had Boasso run for reelection this year, his future in the GOP and electorally would have been bright. It was clear to everybody but him that Rep. Bobby Jindal, the anointed Republican gubernatorial candidate, had the drop on him for party support and in electoral power – vastly greater fundraising ability, a statewide network which Boasso has yet to build, much higher name recognition, and a rock-solid voting and philosophical record more strongly conservative than Boasso’s.

Boasso could have won reelection easily and, if really interested in governor, wait four more years, then run for statewide office. Assuming Jindal continued through two terms, a win in another executive office would have made Boasso one of, if not the favorite, to succeed Jindal. Perhaps Boasso would argue the state needs him now and he couldn’t wait. (Question: just how different are the policy prescriptions of Boasso and Jindal, so different that Jindal could not carry out the things Boasso thinks are necessary?)

But even running for governor would not have been a bad thing, if Boasso was interesting in running for something else later and he had plenty of cash to burn. Even getting trounced by Jindal, or at best forcing Jindal into a runoff, would raise Boasso’s statewide profile in defeat. He would have been positioned perfectly next year for a run at the U.S. Third District seat now held by Rep. Charlie Melancon, or the U.S. Senate seat of Mary Landrieu – both Democrats. Republicans would have bent over backwards to put him up against Melancon, and, if not their top choice to face Landrieu, would have been right up there.

Those possibilities evaporated when Boasso switched back. As an elected official in an office on any consequence, more than one switch the public views as fickleness and/or opportunism, and party activists as somebody they cannot trust with dollars and support. Neither major party ever will accept him again if he loses this race, and he simply cannot compete under his current label against Democrat incumbents Melancon and Landrieu. Whether he even could get his senate seat back in 2011 is highly questionable; only by withdrawing soon from the contest and qualifying in September for his old seat does he have a chance, and even under this scenario Republican bitterness may cause his defeat.

Boasso had a promising political future as a Republican, as there is a certain amount of truth to his assertion that he often departs from politics as usual; for example, he has been one of the few state elected officials to buck vested interests in trying to get Louisiana to address its unfunded accrued liability problem in its retirements funds, and he strongly advocated flood control policy changes while most politicians from his area, openly or otherwise, opposed them. But his driving ambition to get elected governor by the most expedient means possible may have short-circuited any political future of his.


Anonymous said...

Walter Boasso is an ignorant, fat, meathead. He is a pathetic "Yat" that will get what he deserves after this be out of politics. Good riddance.

Anonymous said...

It is very interesting that you use terms such as pathetic and ignorant to describe Boasso, when you, yourself, have resorted to name calling and using political jargon such as the term "meathead."

Who is the ignorant, pathetic one again?? I think you demonstrated your ignorance beautifully.

Oh, and as for the "Yat" comment; St. Bernard is a parish full of neighbors and friends who will lend a hand to a person in need at a seconds notice. I can see why you might be upset because you do not have such a tight-knit community to come home to. Jealousy is a terrible disease, my friend, get well soon!