Saturday, September 17, 2005

Lousiana Politics

The state of Louisiana has always produced interesting politicians. From the infamous demogogue governor and later U.S senator Huey Long, to the recently incarcerated former governor Edwin Edwards. However, what is most interesting about Louisiana to me, is its resistance to the Republican Party, which now dominates politics in most southern states. Although Louisiana is not necessarily a haven of liberalism, it is a state that cherishes its differences that lie in its French heritage, it's history of corruption, and its "honky tonk" atmosphere that's exhibited at Mardi Graz celebrations all over the state.

Many would not have thought it possible for a state to come so close to electing the former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan to be governor and in the same year elect a liberal democrat to be president. However, the citizens of Louisiana did beat the klansman, by sending corrupt democratic governor Edwin Edwards to the state mansion with the slogan "VOTE THE CROOK", and then awarding Governor Bill Clinton of Arkansas for his charisma by electing him over the unappealing George Bush. Four years later, Bill Clinton proved to be more popular in Louisiana than in Connecticut or California, when he picked up 52% of the popular vote.

On Capitol Hill Louisiana has only recently begun to have significant G.O.P representation. It sent its first Republican to the U.S senate since Reconstruction last November. Before that, the senate seats had been occupied by centrist Democrats John Breaux and Mary Landrieu as well as a moderately conservative Democrat, Bennett Johnston. Traditionally, Louisiana Democrats have been populist in nature, meaning socially conservative but economically liberal.

Nevertheless, five of the seven U.S congressmen from the Pelican State are now republicans, one of which was previously a Democrat and switched in the 2004 election. The representative, Rodney Alexander was said by James Carville to be the "dumbest Democrat in D.C and now probably the smartest Republican"( More on Alexander's antics) However, 2/3 of the state legislature remains Democratic.

At, The Head Heeb, this blogger likens the election of Edwin Edwards to the Israeli Likud Party.

What will happen as a result of Hurricane Katrina?


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