NOLA.com: "In Louisiana, unlike most states, governors play a key role in picking the House speaker and Senate president, and have strong influence over who gets to lead key committees. In return for the governor’s support, members of the leadership traditionally sponsor the governor’s bills and are expected to vote with the administration on their top priorities."
Apparently, Governor Blanco is setting a new low water mark (pun intended) for gubernatorial prowess, as her 12 day special legislative session reveals that she lacks support from even her top legislative allies. Consider:
- The black caucus is upset over the defeat of a bill to set up voting centers for displaced New Orleanians (the mayor’s election is in late April)
- The bill to create a single levee board for the metro New Orleans area is severely wounded, and the only semi-viable proposal now is to allow the Westbank area to opt out of the regional board.
- The bill to consolidate the seven New Orleans property assessors (elected officials) into one office died in committee.
Governor Blanco is probably in political shock. The signs are certainly there, as Nola.com reports:
"[The administration] sat on their hands the entire (levee) debate," said Sen. Jay Dardenne, R-Baton Rouge, who was a floor leader under Gov. Mike Foster. "This is a special session called by the governor to presumably advance her agenda, and I have seen very little effort to do that."
Blanco’s approval rating right now is just below 40%, which actually seems high to me. This whole thing is really sad. At a time when this state desperately needs strong leadership we are experiencing quite the opposite, i.e. political chaos.
I keep saying this and people think I’m joking, but I’m not. Right now we need a benevolent dictator, one with a clearly specified term of years. Hell, I’m not even sure that the prospective potentate should be benevolent.