Friday, October 27, 2006

Louisiana Crooks -- er, Politicians

I grew up in Louisiana, and its politics have always driven me nuts. I was in high school during the Edwin Edwards (Governor) years, and I remember hearing constantly that "Yes, he's a crook, but he's our crook." That never made sense to me. In my four-color, comic-book world, if a guy was dirty he was dirty. You didn't shrug and put your arm around him, you wrapped him in spider webs and dragged his sorry butt to jail.

Since then Louisiana's come a long way. There have been a number of sober, honest, hard-working realists in the governor's office and things have gotten better. My family's been involved on the local level there as well, running for judgeships in Alexandria and helping out on the school board in Zachary, for example. I'm a Texan now, but I'm proud of the work they and others in Louisiana have done helping to clean up politics in that state.

Unfortunately, you still get jokers like Representative William Jefferson (D-LA). This is the guy accused in an FBI affidavit of (allegedly) accepting $100,000 in bribes from an FBI informant. All but $10,000 of it was recovered a few days later. He denies all wrongdoing, of course, but if he expects us to believe that he probably spent the other ten g's on crack, because that dog won't hunt.

He was stripped of his House positions by the Democratic leadership, but that didn't make him resign.

He was not endorsed by the Louisiana Democratic Party, but that didn't keep him from running.

And he's being fingered by the FBI, but that's not keeping people from voting for him:

"All of them are doing basically the same thing - but he just got caught," Herman Hill, 53, said about Jefferson. Wearing a "Don't Mess With Jeff" campaign pin, Hill grinned when asked to explain his views on politicians: "They're stealing. They say they want to help people, but they're helping themselves."

I read stuff like that, and I want to smack Herman Hill, 53, in the head with a side of beef. Hey Herman, if you know the guy's a crook, don't vote for him!

I don't know what's worse, people like Jefferson who steal and then lie about it, or people like Herman Hill who get stolen from, then grin and hold their wallet out again, saying "Hey you missed the fifty in the side pocket!" Corruption isn't something you root out and then are done with, unfortunately. You have to be constantly vigilant. Shrugging your shoulders and saying "But they all do it!" isn't an excuse, and it's not an option. Louisiana deserves better than this dirtbag and the idiots who vote for him.


Anonymous said...

I thought when we moved to Texas, we'd miss all the carnival antics of Louisiana politics. I was wrong. Here in Texas, just like in every other state, precinct and voting bloc, there are crooks, honest people, low-down politics and dishonesty. But the people have to finally come to grips that by winking and turning a deaf ear to dirty politics, they are enslaving themselves and then, and only then, can change come. I think my brother, Johnny, will know this history better then I do, but in the middle ages, there was quite a bit of corruption in the Catholic Church. The bishops and cardinals looked around to find a group that was living the life closest to purity, and the only group they found were the monks who took vows of poverty and chastity, preserved the books of wisdom and practiced charity to the poor and homeless. That's where the modern methodology of priesthood began. Now, I could be really wrong on this, but I think I'm in the ballpark. Can it ever be fixed? I don't know. But I have a wonderfully honest, straight-shooting and decent man as my brother-in-law who is also a judge in Louisiana. Let's just say, I think that's step one on that yellow brick road. John gives me hope for Louisiana. -- Denise

Jeff Hebert said...

Oh yes, definitely, like I said I think the efforts of John, Joey, Johnny, and others like them over the last 20 years have made a really big difference in Louisiana. My point was just that it frustrates me when people like that Hill guy cooperate in their own downfall, it makes the work of good people who want to make the state better all the more difficult.

And I remember thinking the same thing when I moved to Texas, the same year it was Ann Richards vs. Clayton Williams. Talk about a circus! Texas certainly isn't pure as the driven snow by any stretch when it comes to politics. I remember the "Death Penalty Fry-Off" during that year's Republican primary. One candidate after another was running ads bragging about how many people they'd electrocuted while in office ... it reminded me of those "How many bowls of YOUR cereal would it take to equal ONE bowl of ..." ads. Disgusting.