Will the “nuclear option”
force Democrat Gov. John
Bel Edwards to do the right thing?
Last week, Edwards
vetoed from the regular session SB 418 by Republican
Sen. Kirk Talbot,
which would align Louisiana’s tort laws closely with those of other states that
have far lower vehicle insurance premium rates. With the special session afoot,
leadership could have attempted a veto override, and probably would have succeeded,
having to avail itself of some strongarm tactics to do so.
media attempt from the old left to understand the new right leadership in
the Louisiana Legislature failed. Let me be of some assistance.
The Baton Rouge Advocate recently ran a piece
displaying equal parts of wonderment and pique at how easily the Republican-led
chambers, with the House of Representatives under Speaker Clay Schexnayder
and Senate behind Pres. Page Cortez, have
worked together to put liberal Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards on
the defensive and advance a decidedly conservative agenda. But, like an alien
looking at a snow globe of a pastoral scene to divine how life on Earth really goes
on, writer Tyler Bridges can’t quite figure it out the reality of the
To understand why not, a review from where
Louisiana’s political culture and communication have developed is in order. Keep
in mind that the state’s populist past, with its reform character stemming from
the post-Reconstruction era then half a century later metastasizing into a centralizing
and redistributionist Longism, allied with its longstanding reliance on
personalism by which to judge its rulers, for about a century conditioned the
public to accept at the state level bigger and more intrusive government than state
voters tolerated from the national government starting after World War II. In
other words, Louisianans less frequently translated their issue preferences
into voting behavior, enthralled as they were with candidate personalities and
captive to a distinct political culture.
As surely as springtime and Louisianans diving into
crawfish go together, so does trendiness and teenagers. Which poses a challenge
to state educators who shouldn’t let a hatred of American ideals inculcate
within their students
Primarily the threat will menace young athletic
participants. With renewed talk among professional athletes about protesting
during the national anthem prior to contests, no doubt some high schoolers will
wish to copy them, not realizing the ignorance they emanate or the cancerous
attitude they court. Along the way, they’ll hear a lot of half-baked, if not
patently dishonest, arguments trying to sanitize the idea of flag protests at
Understand that the American flag represents symbolically
government based upon a discrete set of principles establishing the American
political order, attempting to achieve maximal liberty yet ensuring a necessary
amount of equality: (1) acceptance of the principle of majority rule, (2) free
exchange of opinion and information, (3) availability of realistic choices and
actions for self-governance, (4) freedom to act upon one's belief, including
the right to persuade others, (5) belief that government exists to serve human
beings, not the reverse, (6) acceptance of government by law, not by man
(better known as rule by law), (7) protection of the political rights of
minority interests, and (8) equality before the law and in the opportunity to
participate in its making.
Louisiana’s Republican-led Legislature continues to
clip the wings of Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards by
reducing, at least for the time being, perhaps his strongest informal power.
That concerns a governor’s ability to control
capital outlay funding. While over half of the cash portion is locked in to
various transportation and coastal restoration spending plans, the rest and any
bonded items policy-makers eventually decide which of and when these commence
towards completion. This year, that would mean approaching $1 billion in cash items
and three times that in others underwritten by bonds.
Historically, governors have two means of leverage
using projects. First, the item has to make it into an appropriation bill
(mostly in HB
2, the designated capital outlay bill, but others can sneak in through instruments
like HB 1,
the designated general appropriations bill). The governor has a line item veto
power over these, which the Legislature can override if in session.
Traditionally, the final products arrived too late in the session for such
votes to occur, which would require a special veto override session that never
has panned out since a majority of legislators are loathe to reconvene more
than 40 days after the regular session, or at all, except under extreme circumstances.
This made such vetoes unimpeachable and governors could use this to entice
votes for or against legislation by holding a line item veto threat over projects
for legislators’ districts.