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While the series being run by the New Orleans Times-Picayune and WVUE-TV on state campaign finance is marginally helpful, it often leaves readers with misimpressions and misses the obvious reform that would cure the system’s real ills as well as those imagined by the authors.
Over a period of months these media collected publicly-available campaign finance data from 2009-12, essentially duplicating what the state presents already, but added some value in trying to discover among donors common employers and creating an index that can sorted by candidate and geographical area. It then produced several stories highlighting various aspects of the system, hinting that this is in pursuit of some kind of agenda, reform or otherwise.
But while there are no factual errors in the series, the information often is presented in a way that would leave the reader not properly informed about the issue, or with the wrong idea about it. A perfect illustration of this misleading comes from the very title of the series; “Louisiana Purchased.”
Posted by Jeff Sadow at 13:00
It’s unfortunate when the struggles of a small town get used for questionable polemic purposes, but that’s what happened when a liberal media figure descended upon Lake Providence to try to convince us that we’re responsible for a non-existent problem that our presumed ignorance prevents us from fixing.
In trying to sell its political Hadacol to the country, the American left harps upon the notion of economic “inequality,” that somehow it is the sign of a sick economy and society that permits wide variations in the level of wealth among its people. From a theoretical perspective, that’s sheer nonsense: the left by trying to focus on relative amounts of wealth rather than absolute amounts, the increase of which that then may cause greater disparity, ignores the proper object of policy on which conservatism concentrates, trying to improve everybody’s lot. Rather than redistribute wealth as liberalism mandates, conservatism concerns itself with creation of wealth as it recognizes that poverty comes from practices that inhibit individual initiative and ability to contribute to society as the inhibitors of gaining wealth. After all, as study of social mobility shows, when policy focuses on the conditions to make this possible, indeed a rising tides does lift all boats, even if some get pushed higher than others.
The policy of stoking envy by the left loses when challenged because while there is a subset of people who are fine with living in semi-squalor, hands out and responsibilities and freedom forsworn, the majority wants policies that deliver the opportunity for it to improve its lot. The left traditionally has tried to distract the people from this by claiming the system is rigged, but only a limited portion of the public is psychologically disposed to accept that.
Posted by Jeff Sadow at 11:20
So Rep. Bill Cassidy a quarter-century ago expressed skepticism about the Strategic Defense Initiative and more defense spending in general. That these remarks of the then-Democrat, now leading Republican candidate for the Senate in Louisiana got reported at all underscores a phenomenon about the propensity for Democrats to make themselves into a ring and fire outwards at their political enemies, while Republicans do a 180 and fire at each other.
Since then, Cassidy has become considerably older and wiser, as his lifetime American Conservative Union voting record of nearly 87 attests, higher than the chamber’s GOP member average of around 84. Yet among some conservatives, he still remains suspect with all sorts of convoluted and unconvincing efforts to paint his as the same as the incumbent that he challenges Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu, no doubt rooted on by the Landrieu campaign that hopes this results in discouraging enough of the conservative vote to fail to turn out to vote in Cassidy and/or has his campaign waste resources by feeling it must respond to the baseless charge that he is not conservative enough.
Only this past week another presumed answer for the small cabal calling Cassidy impure, state Rep. Alan Seabaugh, passed on a candidacy and then endorsed Cassidy, while new Louisiana resident Rob Maness picked up the first substantial endorsement from conservatives that Cassidy has not gotten, which gives him a chance to pull in third-party spending of about 10 percent of what Cassidy has on hand. And don’t be surprised if it wasn’t Landrieu opposition research that found the 1988 letter to the editor now being publicized.
Posted by Jeff Sadow at 11:10
After his long stint in statewide elected office, we’ve learned one thing about Treas. John Kennedy: if something is his idea, even if it has warts, he’ll promote it as the greatest thing since sliced bread, but if somebody else comes up with something else based on the same concept with solid evidence to confirm, he’ll criticize it. His comments about privatization of state hospital operations provide an object lesson in this trait.
Kennedy has tried over the last several years to make himself a cottage industry about running state government efficiently and not wastefully. His specialty has been to repeat endlessly some bromides along these lines that, at best, are hit-or-miss in value, in part because some suggestions are too simplistic to work, and others of them already are being done. Typically, such recommendations have little or nothing to do with his actual job title, because he’s always seen that as a springboard to higher office.
This has driven him to a frustrating inconsistency reflected both in terms of general ideology and on specific issues. A decade ago, as the sitting Democrat treasurer he was running as a liberal for the Senate seat eventually won then by Sen. David Vitter. Half a decade ago, he had transfigured into a conservative, having switched his partisan identification prior to his last treasurer reelection, to challenge unsuccessfully for the seat now slipping away from Sen. Mary Landrieu.
Posted by Jeff Sadow at 10:00
The gift that keeps on giving for electoral opponents of Louisiana’s Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu also seems to have an interesting anatomical effect: it’s causing her nose to grow longer and longer as she resorts to distraction and outright lying to prevent being known as an ignoramus or two-faced, perhaps both, to the continued deterioration of her reelection effort.
As the internal contradictions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) become increasing public and part of the public consciousness, its shortcomings have put Landrieu, who provided the crucial vote for its passage, into full defensive mode. Most damaging to her is the provision in it that is stripping apparently as many as 16 million current health insurance policyholders of their coverage, forcing many into far more expensive policies if they can afford them at all. Even though this has been part of the program’s rules for years since its passage, only now has she apparently become concerned enough to want to sponsor legislation that would prevent this.
Naturally, this incident highlights one of these contradictions – the law and its accompanying regulations are designed to force people out policies that don’t meet the new imposed minimums for scope of coverage, making many people to pay for services they don’t want any may not even be able to use or afford or be fined, which serves to decrease the number of those covered. This was chosen by Democrats like Landrieu not to try to extend coverage to as many people as possible, but to force them to pay more for coverage in order to expand money coming into the system to attempt to jigger lower rates for some others; in other words, wealth redistribution. At the same time, over the long run it is hoped to force enough people out of the system so as to raise pressure for installation of a single-payer, universal health care system, in that the payers of fines will want that to become an insurance payment rather than for nothing and those paying high rates can be convinced this is caused not by government regulation, but by evil insurance companies exploiting the faulty free market.
Posted by Jeff Sadow at 12:10