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Adley switch paints stripes on horse, calls it zebra

You can’t paint stripes on a horse and call it a zebra. State Rep. Billy Montgomery found that out when he changed parties prior to this year’s elections, then was defeated by a genuine conservative and Republican when he tried to extend his legislative life into the Senate. Now his ideological and Bossier Parish fellow traveler state Sen. Robert Adley has done the same.

New Republican Adley claims he chose now to switch, almost two months after his reelection, because of his enthusiasm for the agenda of the Republican incoming Gov. Bobby Jindal. One wonders whether he spent too much time campaigning against a lightweight Republican challenger to be aware that Jindal’s agenda hardly has changed since he last ran for governor in 2003, so why didn’t this happen before the election?

Instead, it’s almost comical the reasons he stated for the switch now, describing himself as a conservative reformer, saying "I'm excited we have a new governor with the same philosophy, and I want to be as effective as possible in dealing with him." Of course, his record in the Senate just from the past year violates truth-in-labeling.

Jindal repeatedly has said ethics reform is his top priority; Adley was one of the two senators most responsible for killing meaningful reform in the 2007 session. Jindal also has stated he would like to see the reduction, if not outright elimination, of income taxes; Adley in Senate committee hearings has publicly disparaged the idea and help ram through only the most miniscule tax relief despite an enormous budget surplus. Give Adley some credit for a skill most people can’t perform (although politicians often can), talking out of both sides of his mouth.

The real reason why Adley switched likely is he realizes his power and privilege in the Senate is endangered under a Jindal Administration. Currently vice chairman of the Senate’s Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee, his past contrary stance to Jindal’s agenda leaves him less likely to retain that position under the anticipated election of Sen. Joel Chaisson to the Senate’s Presidency, especially as Chaisson, supported by Jindal, wishes to increase Republican representation on key committees and to give leadership positions to more Republicans. For example, this committee ended the session with Democrats holding an 8-3 advantage in a chamber where there were fewer than two to one Democrats over Republicans, and both leaders of it Democrats.

The proof will be in the pudding, if Adley does vote a much more conservative line starting next year. Still, this switch, like Montgomery’s, seems more of convenience than from actual belief, if Adley’s past actions compared to current rhetoric apply.

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