Honestly, I don’t get it.

On one corner, you have the most senior elected official in the State of Louisiana, a woman who, in the past three years, has delivered over $40 billion to her State, a woman who has pushed through ground-breaking legislation that has, at long last, finally given us a rightful share of off-shore oil profits, and a woman who can use her positions on key committees to help provide a voice for the needs and concerns of our State.

And on the other corner, you have a man who was recruited by Karl Rove to change his party, reverse his platform, and espouse an entirely different set of social and economic beliefs, a man who appears to be more about attacking Senator Obama than addressing the critical issues we face.

Yet, for some reason and despite the fact that he is down by double digits, my local newspaper, The Town Talk decided to endorse him.

That is, they endorsed John N. Kennedy.

At least he got one endorsement.

Again, honestly, I don’t get it, but let’s hear them out:

Attack ads have characterized the race between U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu and John Kennedy. That’s too bad. It has taken attention away from a fundamental and key difference between the candidates.

More than anything else, a political and moral commitment to fiscal responsibility is needed in government at all levels. That’s always been true, despite what has passed for governance. In today’s brutal economic climate, it is true and urgent.

Kennedy has championed fiscal responsibility throughout his successful tenure as Louisiana’s treasury secretary. We believe Kennedy, if elected, would take that discipline with him to Washington; and we urge voters to give him that chance.

Despite what the paper may have us believe, Senator Landrieu voted against the bailout bill, and she has consistently demonstrated “a political and moral commitment to fiscal responsibility,” and more importantly a commitment to her own State, securing tens of billions of dollars for recovery and development.

Those who know Kennedy and his work see someone who is seemingly hard-wired to fiscal accountability, the heart of fiscal responsibility. Decisions he has made and continues to make as the state’s top financial officer demonstrate that consistently. He puts the taxpayers first, and that has been noted positively by taxpayer advocacy groups and Wall Street analysts.

Watchdog groups that advocate for balanced budgets, smaller government and an overhaul of the nation’s burdensome tax code consistently come down on the side of Kennedy’s approach to conducting the public’s business. His criticism of unchecked earmarks, for example, is appropriate, and he criticizes Landrieu and others for looking the other way.

“The process for all earmarks is bad,” Kennedy told a Town Talk reporter. “They tack them on like Christmas tree ornaments in committee behind closed doors. Nobody knows who offers the earmark. Nobody knows anything about the entity getting it or whether it’s an appropriate use of taxpayer money. … We need to change the process.”

With all due respect, this is laughable for a number of reasons:

1. The Town Talk fails to cite a single example of Mr. Kennedy’s “fiscal responsibility.” They also fail to cite a single “non-partisan taxpayer advocacy group” or “Wall Street” analyst.

2. The “watchdog groups” referenced in the article are not specified or identified.

3. Senator Landrieu has consistently said she is in favor of increased transparency in the earmark process, but it is important to recognize what earmarks represent– less than one percent of the entire budget, of which only a small portion is reserved for targeted projects in desparate need of funding here in Louisiana.

4. Kennedy gets quoted reiterating a hackneyed line about earmarks and Christmas trees from a John McCain stump speech.

5. The public should ask the paper: Why did they cancel an editorial board meeting with Senator Landrieu in July?

Since taking office in January 1997, Landrieu has had the opportunity to make a difference. As she completes her 12th year in office, voters should look critically at the state of the union and her record.

The national economy is in a recession. Federal spending on non-productive programs is out of control. Washington’s appetite to cut existing programs while funding new ones is non-existent. The national debt is $10.5 trillion and climbing.

None of that is the fault of any single lawmaker, but it is the result of all lawmakers’ collective efforts. It is the result of votes and policies that are fiscally irresponsible.

Louisiana voters have a chance to send to Washington someone who will fight to change that — John Kennedy.

Again, with all due respect, we have to forgive the author: There’s absolutely no way he is from Louisiana. There’s no way he has lived here since 1997 or has objectively observed what has occurred in our Great State. Anyone from Louisiana will tell you: We need the support, thank you very much.

Kennedy may attempt to hail this endorsement as evidence of a sea change; in actuality, it is simply a reiteration of an unfounded and ignorant agenda that strives for commendation despite its duplicitous manipulations.

2 thoughts

  1. If one were to go to Senator Landrieu’s website, you can see ALL of the earmarks she has requested for Louisiana. You can also do that for ALL Members of Congress, since it was passed by Senator Obama, and signed into law by the President. The website is http://earmarks.omb.gov/.

    Mr. Kennedy is campaigning on an issue that’s moot, really. Says a lot about the current state of things for the Republicans, eh?

  2. To be fair, I should note that Senator Coburn introduced the bill, Senator Obama was the original co-sponsor of it, and Senator McCain later became a co-sponsor on it as well.

    The bill requires Members of Congress to request earmarks in the open, and their names to be placed next to the earmarks they requested.

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