Friday, March 23, 2007


Interestingly, the following, from The Daily Advertiser, came to me from James Quinn, Executive Director of the LAGOP. Given the article isn’t complimentary of either of the state’s major political parties, it strikes me that, perhaps, the LAGOP leadership may be coming into some semblance of maturity.

Breaux should not run for governor

“In announcing she would not seek re-election, Gov. Kathleen Blanco said: "There is nothing more important to Louisiana's future than a strong recovery, free from politics."

We agree.

For that reason, we believe it is in the state's best interest that former U.S. Sen. John Breaux not run for governor at this time.

His emergence as a potential candidate already has distracted state political leaders from concentrating on our recovery.

The Democratic Party leadership has long been pre-occupied with gracefully pressuring Blanco to withdraw and strategically pressuring Breaux to jump in.

The state Republican party leadership has spent recent weeks plotting to derail a Breaux candidacy. The television advertisements questioning Breaux's residency and eligibility might be the first to sling mud at someone who hasn't declared for office.

Imagine how heated, nasty and distracting the fight will get if Breaux runs.

Leaders of the state's two major parties lack the self-discipline to focus on recovery if Breaux runs against the already-declared U.S. Rep. Bobby Jindal. They will focus on personal attacks, not public needs.

Asking Breaux to not run is a significant request, but he proved during his tenure as a U.S. senator that he could set aside partisan politics for the good of the state and the nation. His legacy is his ability to build bridges and help rival sides reach consensus. His reward for that talent has been his post-political career as a Washington lobbyist.

So, we appeal to Breaux to reflect on what is good for Louisiana - on what Louisiana needs right now. It doesn't need a fight. It doesn't need partisanship. It doesn't need political activists plotting dirty tricks, calling opponents names, avoiding true debate on issues and distracting the voters.

As The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune said in an editorial Wednesday, the state needs "coastal restoration; the creation of sustainable, well-paying jobs; top-quality public schools; an efficient and responsive health-care system."

We welcome debate on those issues, as well as how to spend, invest, save and refund to taxpayers the state's surplus revenues. That question should not be resolved by a lame-duck governor and a legislative session filled with politicians jockeying for their own re-election or figuring how to dodge a term limit by moving from House to Senate.

We fear that if Breaux runs for governor, despite his qualifications, we will never hear those debates. Instead, the campaign will be hijacked by political power brokers and dumped into our courts in a fight over what the word "citizen" means. We will waste months that could be better spent devising strategies to help our state recover.

We salute Kathleen Blanco for putting recovery ahead of politics. We ask Breaux to do the same because the leaders of our major political parties don't have the discipline to do so in an election year.”

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