Is state Treasurer John Kennedy taking a page from the playbook of his pal, Sen. David Vitter, by being a hypocrite and willing to say anything to win another election? As the race is tightening up and Kennedy’s lead shrinks, Kennedy seems to be reacting to the pressure as Vitter did last year. The Advocate reports that Kennedy “won’t back off asking about allegations that his opponent in the U.S. Senate race was allegedly involved with prostitutes.”
Kennedy is referring to a new book, Murder on the Bayou by Ethan Brown, which contains anonymous accusations about his opponent, U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, being involved with prostitutes in Jennings. None in the media have confirmed any such stories.
Boustany told The Advocate, “The allegations made about me by tabloid writer Ethan Brown and spread by the Kennedy campaign are wholly and completely false.” Brown says he stands by his book.
That’s right, Kennedy has a history of hypocrisy. He was a liberal Dem and endorsed Sen. Mary Landrieu before he became a “conservative Republican” and lost a race against Landrieu—and then endorsed Vitter for governor, who lost. And you wonder why people have such a low opinion of politicians?
The Advocate reported, “Regardless, Kennedy said, the accusations go to Boustany’s character and in a campaign for the U.S. Senate such questions are reasonable. ‘He’s saying I can’t talk about the issue that goes directly to his character? Of course I can talk about the issue, everybody is talking about this issue,’ Kennedy said.”
But everybody was also talking about Vitter’s character and his admitted past involvement with a prostitute during the governor’s race in 2015—everyone, of course, except Kennedy, who endorsed Vitter for governor and became his “lead surrogate” according to LaPolitics’ Jeremy Alford. Did Kennedy ignore the “character issue” with Vitter? Seemed like it—and Vitter had admitted his guilt of a “serious sin.” Kennedy is a lawyer, and he knows that Boustany and his wife have denied the allegations—and in America, one is innocent until proven guilty. That is, of course, unless you are running for office and an opponent sees an opportunity.
But in 2015, Kennedy endorsed Vitter over Jay Dardenne and Scott Angelle, saying, “I’ve always known David to be a bold leader who will take on the tough issues and not back down. … That’s exactly who David is and why I’m strongly supporting him to be our next governor.” Character isn’t an issue in leadership? Big mistake for Kennedy. Vitter was the only candidate who lacked “the character” to win the governor’s office for Republicans and conservatives. Now, all of a sudden, Kennedy wants to make “character” the issue.
Vitter didn’t admit his guilt until 2007. I wonder how “Democrat Kennedy” would have used this information had he known it when he ran against Republican Vitter for the Senate in 2004? That’s right, Kennedy has a history of hypocrisy. He was a liberal Dem and endorsed Sen. Mary Landrieu before he became a “conservative Republican” and lost a race against Landrieu—and then endorsed Vitter for governor, who lost. And you wonder why people have such a low opinion of politicians?
Kennedy ran a biographical ad for treasurer last year pushing an “outsider” image with voters. He said, “I’m not part of the club.” Fact is, though he keeps it a secret from the voters, he and Vitter are on the board of directors of the club and have lifetime memberships. Both may speak slowly, but both are extremely intelligent—and often play the voters for “dumb.”
We all know politics has become vicious and nasty, and families and children are affected. It is very sad. Boustany’s wife, Bridget, said of her husband and his innocence, “He’s a good man, a loving husband, and an incredible father to our two children.”
This recent episode in the Senate campaign reveals two things. First, Kennedy is a hypocrite and acting like a typical, ol’ time political insider, like Vitter, willing to do or say whatever he needs to in order to win. And secondly, his actions in 2015 and 2016—and before—reveal more about his character than anyone else’s.
BEEN THERE BEFORE
The Daily Report headline read, “Experts warn Louisiana could have a $1.1 billion shortfall at end of fiscal year 2018 without tax reform.”
The article said reform has proven difficult for states “due to anti-tax sentiment, lack of political consensus and the attraction of sticking with the status quo.” Joseph Crosby, a tax policy expert, said it might be difficult here because of our Democratic governor and a Republican-controlled Legislature.
But I remember a time with a Democratic governor, Buddy Roemer, and a Democratic Legislature. Having dealt with a $1 billion deficit when the total budget was just $8 billion—and not $26 billion as it is today—Roemer proposed a constitutional amendment for “fiscal reform” to move away from sales taxes (which are regressive and especially impact the poor and minorities).
Ironically, the opposition behind the scenes was led by former Gov. Edwin Edwards and his sidekick, then-state Sen. William Jefferson. And they beat fiscal reform. There was nothing stopping all the Democrats from tax reform (which would have benefited the poor). This could have been good for their people, but it was bad for their politics. So Edwards and Jefferson stopped Roemer and tax reform—and Edwards went on to become governor after a runoff with David Duke. (What a dark day in Louisiana’s history.)
Did you know all three—Edwards, Duke and Jefferson—ended up in federal prison (and Jefferson is still there)? But millions of Louisianans—and many Democratic politicians—followed the lead of these crooks. That was 25 years ago, and how things might have been different. Voters and these three “deplorable politicians” made our bed, and we are all having to lie in it.
So, as we talk about tax reform, let’s remember recent history—we’ve been there before. Louisiana voters, including many minorities that would have benefited, once had the chance to reform the tax code and they rejected it. They were ill-advised and wrongly trusted their leaders. It was a constitutional amendment back then, not statutory to be changed by the Legislature. And the Democrats were in charge, and certain corrupt Dems torpedoed the reform.
Did you forget that history? Now you know the rest of the story and who is to blame for that missed opportunity for permanent tax reform. How different things might have turned out today with just 5% more of the vote. We reap what we sow—and so do our children.
After a six-month search for a new CEO, Capital Area Transit System Board Chairman Jim Brandt said, “We had 173 applicants. We went all over the country and the transit sector was very tuned in to this position. We cast our net wide and far and had a good chance to look at what’s out there.”
And would you be amazed to learn the search committee’s top choice for the new CEO was already sitting in their offices all along. What are the odds of that?
Brandt and the CATS board have chosen interim CEO William Deville to run the agency.
CATS has a weak brand in Baton Rouge due to broken promises to taxpayers, missed deadlines, poor service to riders and actions by certain past board members. This process and hire does nothing to change its brand.
In a statement about Deville’s selection, Brandt said the board is “excited about what the future brings for our riders and our staff.”
Well, I’m not excited and I hope the future is not more of the same.