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LA winners & losers, who ran & did not, in 2012 contests

As usual, election results produce their share of winners and losers, and Louisiana politicians have no special immunity to this. Thus, from the latest quadrennial elections, we find:

WINNER: Gov. Bobby Jindal. While a Pres. Barack Obama reelection will continue to create governance headaches for him and all governors, on a career level that Rep. Paul Ryan (safely reelected to his seat) did not win the vice presidency and Republicans will not be the party of the White House leaves him with more options and more upwards potential. Should Jindal fancy the presidency any such quest would have been out the window for the next eight years, and even then Ryan would have become the favorite to carry the party banner in eight years. Now, they are more on terms with each other and Jindal has more control over timing of attempted moves.

For a politician ambitious to the highest level, a cabinet position does no real good and perhaps even harm, so a Republican presidency offering him such a position conveyed no real benefit. Without that kind of job, his only real option to keep the momentum going would have been to run for the Senate in 2014. Even as those chances now are enhanced as a result of the election, he could skip that step and go directly to running for the presidency at the end of his term in 2015.


LA 2012 elections produce winners, winners-in-waiting

Although the election calendar claims we’re going to have some contests in Louisiana on Dec. 8, in reality all statewide contests substantively will have been settled over a month earlier. Yet this outcome wasn’t the most interesting one in state politics from this election.

Somewhat surprisingly, the Public Service Commission District 2 contest did end without further voting with former state executive branch official Scott Angelle winning a majority. Considered the favorite with his fundraising ability as evidence, he proved strong enough not to need a runoff. This demonstration begins a solid electoral base for him to build on should his ambitions grow for more prestigious offices in the future.

By contrast, in the contest to fill the open Supreme Court District 5, the demographics suggested that Democrat 1st Circuit Court of Appeals Judge John Michael Guidry would face any of several Republicans in a runoff where the Republican would win and to some degree every Republican was competitive. The thinking was that whoever wound up second would have become so narrowly, but instead another Republican from that court, Court of Appeals Judge Jeff Hughes surprisingly created some separation from the others to claim that spot while all but one of them ended up with roughly the same number of votes.

LA ready to punish Obama for politicized disaster slight

The problem with the Macondo oil well blowout was it happened at the wrong time. Lesson: with a big government liberal in the White House, in a conservative state you better hope if a disaster comes it’s close to the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in years divisible by four.

Shortly after Hurricane Sandy pushed ashore New Jersey, Pres. Barack Obama, among other things, authorized the waiving of the Merchant Marine (Jones) Act of 1920, which allows foreign-flagged vessels to transport between U.S. ports directly. Upon request in an emergency situation, the law designed to bolster the U.S. marine industry and its unions in this instance gave way to concerns of shipping in fuel to the stricken area. Former Pres. George W. Bush had done likewise when Katrina plowed into Louisiana in 2005 to facilitate rescue and relief.

But in 2010, despite at least one known request to do so, Obama refused to allow waiving of the law when BP’s well in the Gulf of Mexico blew out, where in this instance the floating sheen advanced on the coastline and skimming vessels badly were needed to try to ameliorate the potential devastating effects. Officially, the Obama Administration feigned ignorance of the know request and asserted the law did not apply. Unofficially, this would serve to steer more resources into the hands of unions and placate environmentalist interests, as a broader strategy of turning down any foreign assistance.


Ousted legislators resort to ill-informed, illogical rants

There are three certainties in life – death, taxes, and sore losers among Louisiana legislators who want to blame others for problems of their own making. The fallout over House Speaker Chuck Kleckley’s booting a pair of House Appropriations Committee members over a contract to have insurance administration currently done by the state performed by a third party administrator reminds us of that.

Seven House Republicans last week, in a special joint meeting of Appropriations and the Senate Finance Committee ruled to have the power to approve of the contract, voted for moving the matter to a vote which well may have lead to its defeat on the House side. Their Senate colleagues refused to bring up the matter that would have led to a vote, prompting withdrawal of the contract as is presumably to be reintroduced in modified form in the near future. With six of them having put together demonstrably conservative/reform records over the past five years, their votes came more as succumbing to constituent and public relations pressures than as any signaling of repudiation of their political beliefs.

Of those seven, four held spots appointed through election by members from their 2000-10 U.S. House districts, meaning leverage against them could come only from their other committee assignments made by Kleckley. One, state Rep. Jim Morris, already had been stripped of a position he coveted on another committee, so there wasn’t a whole lot of inducement to be directed against him. Another, state Rep. Brett Geymann, has no other committee assignments since he declared himself in reclusion earlier this year (and is a pal of Kleckley’s so is allowed presently to have just the one House assignment). A third, state Rep. Rogers Pope, has been an inconsistent supporter of Kleckley’s agenda so punishment by removing him from another committee would not produce much leverage. The fourth, state Rep. John Schroder, has been perhaps the most consistent conservative voice in the Legislature in the past five years, and got a pass as a result.