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Thanksgiving Day, 2011

This column publishes usually every Sunday through Thursday after noon (sometimes even before; maybe even after sundown on busy days) U.S. Central Time except whenever a significant national holiday falls on the Monday through Friday associated with the otherwise-usual publication on the previous day (unless it is Independence Day or Christmas or New Year's when it is the day on which the holiday is observed by the U.S. government). In my opinion, there are six of these: New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Veterans' Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas.

With Thursday, Nov. 24 being Thanksgiving Day, I invite you to explore the link above.


LA Democrats' big spending prevented bigger GOP gains

If Louisiana Republicans are looking for the main reason explaining why they could not grab more legislative seats in the six majority-white House districts that had runoffs this cycle and the eight that allied organizations targeted with some kind of Democrat incumbent running that got resolved in the general election without a GOP win, they only have themselves to blame by letting state Democrat organizations and their officeholders past and present beat them in tactical funding decisions.

The common perception of Louisiana Democrats as a party was it was a joke for being unable to find one serious candidate for statewide executive office this past election cycle. But when it came to the legislative level, its strategy of selecting a handful of seats to protect largely blunted the less precise, more bludgeoning approach Republican leaders expected to prevail.

Given the demographics, in all six runoff contests Republicans should have been favored.


Disingenuous remarks show LA Democrats don't get it

Listening to the legislative leader of Louisiana Democrats reveals all you need to know about the self-inflicted wound the party has perpetrated on itself to place it close to irrelevancy in the state. Besides missing the point and accusing its rival of doing exactly what it did, this silliness also avoids understanding the largest lesson from the recent legislative elections.

Hearing state Rep. John Bel Edwards’ remarks about the election, one would get no sense that the Democrats now trail the Republicans in seats in the House by 58-45 and in the Senate by 24-15 because they are wrong on the issues. No, it’s because influential Republican politicians like Sen. David Vitter campaigned on tactics, designed to tie Democrat candidates to unpopular national policies, of “race baiting and Obama hating” that were rejected by voters past a certain point. Naturally enough, there’s nothing true about this in explaining why some Democrat incumbents were able to hang on to win reelection, as with one exception those who did try for it were defeated.

But the one who lost was not targeted by the GOP, rather defeated by another Democrat in a manner where race as an issue may have made the difference.


Judge Landrieu not on deceptive rhetoric, but his actions

No sooner was the body of 2011 state elections getting buried than Democrat New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu began his 2015 campaign for governor, launching the first iteration of a strategy he hopes will break the Republican stranglehold they now enjoy on the statewide executive offices.

If any lesson in electoral politics has become clear over the past two election cycles in Louisiana, it is that, unless your constituency is in a poor urban area or a backwater, you cannot run and win office as a liberal Democrat for a state office, especially of the statewide executive kind. Landrieu realizes this and so has commenced testing a theme that tries to promote him as a centrist through a kind of misdirection, by offering extreme interpretations of what both major political parties stand for and then positing that he rejects both in favor of consensus and the practical. He launched this in a speech at a New Orleans meeting aptly enough sponsored by the Bipartisan Policy Center.

By doing so, he practices two different kinds of deception.


GOP wins small, education reform big, in 2011 LA elections

If you’re a Republican reformer in Louisiana, the end of this state election cycle ought to elicit from you two cheers.

Reviewing results from the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, it’s conceivable that results for reformers could have gone better, but not that much over what actually did transpire. With a sweep of the runoffs by reform-friendly candidates, including the most aggressive of them all, incumbent Chas Roemer in the Sixth District, over the most retrogressive reform opponent running, the eleven-member board, which includes three gubernatorial appointees, now has an overwhelming reform majority with eight solid votes. Two others can be counted upon to lend a hand from time to time, leaving just one isolated establishmentarian representative after having dispatched three such incumbents and one retired.

In the short run, this means it makes likely the hiring of Recovery School District chief John White as the permanent state superintendent.