Political consultant James Carville says restoring the eroding Louisiana coastline not only will “save an entire culture” but could also create a profitable new export. “This is the most important issue we face in this state,” says Carville, who gave the keynote address this afternoon at the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana’s annual conference, which also featured a closing address by Gov. Bobby Jindal, who largely spoke about issues in the new legislative session.
Carville points to the Dutch, who “have made billions” by exporting the expertise they’ve gained since committing to rebuilding their eroding coastline, beginning in the 1980s. He says LSU will play a crucial role if Louisiana is to do the same, and adds cutting his alma mater’s budget is not being fiscally responsible and equates to “eating our seed corn.” “The future infrastructure of this state is dependent on what happens to our Baton Rouge campus,” he says. “If we’re going to have the experts to build our coast, it starts here.”
In an animated address peppered with political jokes, Carville touched on issues ranging from the 2012 presidential election to foreign policy and economic recovery. He says President Barack Obama has a “slightly better than 50/50” chance of being re-elected, but only because the Republican field of candidates is “awful.” Carville says the United States needs to focus on domestic problems and find a way to get out of the wars and conflicts it is involved in around the globe. To emerge from the recession, Carville says, the U.S. has to “move from a nation that buys things to a nation that makes things.” —Steve Sanoski