Did Edwards plan the veto override?

   

On February 24th, 1836, writing from a besieged Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, Lieutenant Colonel William B. Travis penned a plea for reinforcements. He wrote, “I shall never surrender or retreat.” It was signed, “Victory or Death.”

Many years hence and one state away, the mindset of our legislature couldn’t be any further from that sentiment. The political gamesmanship and a series of show-votes have frustrated and enraged the astute. Those being the small but attentive influencers who alone mean little but have enough combined power to swing public opinion in a big way. Schexnayder had to do something to win back the hearts (or at least reduce the ire) of those people – and quickly.

So, let me congratulate the legislature for finally beating JBE. At long last, they were able to stick it to him, even if it was to institute imperfect Congressional maps. Never you mind that not a single Congressman vocally supported the new maps. Everyone’s just so happy that “somebody finally did something” to rein in JBE’s nearly unlimited power. The effort has been dubbed a “huge victory for Republicans.”

But was it?

To use a cliché, an imperfect congressional map wasn’t a hill to die on for many of the Constitutional Conservatives. One told me it felt more like completing a chore than a march to victory. Was the map terrible? Well, that depends on who you ask. Keep in mind that most of Louisiana’s congressional delegation remained silent during this process. Isn’t that interesting? If it really was the best option, wouldn’t they have said so themselves?

Certainly, Congressman Clay Higgins (who received the shortest straw) was none too pleased. However, like Lt. Colonel William Travis, our state’s constitutionalists have so very many terrible things coming at them all at once that they must prioritize their time and effort on only the most important.

A closer look

So, instead, let’s turn our attention to those moderates who’ve thrown away unity for the sake of their own power. Not that they intend to wield the power that they’ve pilfered from their party’s majority. No, the reason they have it is just to keep it away from the constitutionalists. However, their position has been tenuous ever since the 23 members of the “fraud squad” abandoned the constitutionalists to strike a deal with JBE.

George Washington once wrote, “deeds, not words, are the true criterion.” Said another way, it’s a better idea to measure people by their results than by their stated intentions. Or as grandma used to say, “Spit in one hand, hope in the other, and see which one fills up faster.”

Measuring results

Let’s deduce the entire purpose of their deal-making based on the manifestations of a “sine die” adjourned session: JBE wins, and everybody else loses. How does he keep outmaneuvering the legislature at every single turn? Can he read their thoughts?

Let me suggest to you that it’s all part of the plan. After all, JBE, Senate President Page Cortez, and House Speaker Clay Schexnayder must be talking about something at those regularly scheduled lunch meetings.

Maintaining appearances?

Although Republicans seemed unified on this, they were quite fractured behind the scenes. This is evidenced by Clay Higgins’ own “fruit of a poisonous tree” comment on the process. By resisting a veto override (of an imperfect map, or anything else), Schexnayder could paint legislators as “siding with the governor.” This scenario put constitutionalists in a box. Their only option was choosing the least-worst of two terrible things.

Many are wondering why this “historic moment” couldn’t happen for women’s sports and gun rights. During the last “historic” override session, Schexnayder couldn’t get the votes to override any of dozens of vetoed bills. Why not?

If you were to ask any Louisiana citizen what was accomplished by this override, the only answer is “we finally beat Edwards!” However, asking “beat him how?” is usually met with a thoughtful silence. The fact is John Bel Edwards wasn’t upset at all. He said, “I slept good last night and I’m going to sleep good tonight.”

What a strange “victory” it is when the loser is sleeping just fine? Stranger still when the victor can’t even articulate what or if something was gained. Was Edwards’ “sleep just fine” comment a Freudian slip, a clue to the actual accomplishment? Was JBE admitting that the override was insignificant? Could the whole thing have been political theater to help JBE’s speaker stay in power?

Postscript

Now that all the play-fighting is done, it’s time for the real heroes to step up. All the politicos know the real battle will be in the courts. The real victory will come when we get an outcome like Wisconsin. So, now it will be up to Jeff Landry, and his team. It will be his task to engage in the real battle that will unfold in the courts.

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