Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Rumble in Red Stick

That little mushroom cloud hanging over Baton Rouge has grown larger in the past 12 hours, and there's a special session riding on whether the major combatants in this growing battle are inclined to flinch. Using his power as chairman of the Legislature's Revenue Estimating Committee, Senate President Don "Doc" Hines has blocked the use of $827 million in surplus funds to build roads and other projects. That money is one half of the cornerstone on which Governor Kathleen Blanco has set her course for the special session which is to begin Friday.
Hines said that since the final budget analysis from 2005-06 has not been printed, he would not vote to recognize any surplus amount, claiming to do so would violate state law. Many pundits and observers are saying this is step one in Hines' promise to "get even" over the state bond commission's failure to guarantee half the cost of the proposed $135 million sugar cane syrup mill in Bunkie. Although Hines said he wasn't mad following the 9-4 vote against state guarantees, our good friend — the Ol' Perfesser from the Kollege of Political Knowledge — isn't buying it. Perfesser says his sources in Baton Rouge say Hines is livid over the syrup mill and what he sees as a betrayal by the Governor. Hines, sources say, was one of the most surprised individuals in the room when the committee voted thumbs down on the project. In his mind, a promise was made and violated.
Apparently, all it takes to turn a positive vote of around 8-5 to a negative was the switch by Blanco and some of her administrative cohorts on the bond commission.
Why the sudden turnaround which Hines sees as a betrayal? Apparently the '07 gubernatorial race has as much to do with it as anything, Perfesser says. For more years than anyone can remember, Hines and former state Senator Foster Campbell — now Public Service Commissioner and all but announced candidate for Governor in '07 — have been strong allies. That translates to Hines' support for Campbell in the race, because in his political world, Hines is loyal to those who have staunchly supported him. Reportedly, Blanco pulled the plug on the syrup mill to remind Hines that all things have their consequences. Now, sources say, Hines is "getting even" for someone "getting even" over his lack of support for the one who made him President in the Senate.
This, according to the Perfesser, has set the stage for a political war which hasn't been seen in the state capitol since the days of Earl K. Long, and it's just beginning. The big question now is will the special session be sabatoged, and if so, by whom.
The good news: the combatants have until Friday to work it out. The bad news: the combatants have only until Friday. It's coming to s showdown.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doesn't matter how hard Hines fights Blanco, the score at the end of the day will be Gov. 1, Sen. Prez, 0 with Ag Com Odom getting a bye. Watch for this special session to implode and we will be the ones who suffer.

7:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even if the gavel falls, the session opens and then immediately ends, it will still cost taxpayers money. I think everyone is acting very irresponsibly -- and I mean everyone! Senator Hines and the governor. She may as well give up, and start over in 2007. And he needs to calm down and stop acting like a baby. He didn't get his way, and now everyone must suffer. What a brat! Thank goodness he goes home soon.

11:58 AM  
Anonymous Casey said...

Try this one on for size. Bob Odom and Doc Hines in cahoots to make Blanco look as bad as possible in preparation for Foster Campbell's run for the governor's chair. If the election was held today, Foster could count on his "redneck" and poor folks constituency for around 18 percent of the vote and that puts him within a tick's hair of the runoff. A combined effort from some powerful Democrats will get Foster in the final two and he wins because Jindal will not be able to shake off the stigma of ethnicity. By the way, you warm hearted Republicans, registered Democrats still outnumber you considerably in the state and Independents are becoming less likely to vote Republican just because you tell them to do so.

2:28 PM  
Anonymous New comer said...

Pardon my stupidity, but I'm a new voter in Louisiana. Is there open or closed primary here? In other words, as Democrats, do Blanco and Campbell first run against each other and then against a Republican? And if Jindal is a Republican in the race, who might other Republican candidates be? Has Odom ever run for governor? From everything I've haerd about him, he's power hungry.

2:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anybody know if the special session made it off the ground today?

2:43 PM  
Blogger The Pat Culverhouse Show said...

New Comer:
State races will continue as open primary; nationals go to closed as of Jan. 1, 2007.

7:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hines is an idiot. Blanco is trying to do something for the taxpayers, and Hines is pouting because he didn't get his boondoggle. Thank God for term limits, though I doubt that will change things very much.

9:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, well, well. I see that Billy Montgomery has already prostituted himself. Since he is suddenly a Republican, he voted with Mike Powell and the other Repubs who are playing politics rather than doing the right thing.
Shame on you, Billy. You just lost my vote. How can you cow-tow to those right wing Republican nuts?

9:03 AM  

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