Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Thank you, Robert Adley!!!

Shreveport area State Senator Robert Adley has changed his party registration from Democrat to Republican less than two months after trouncing a Republican in the October primary.

Adley told the Shreveport Times that this was all about serving the interests of his constituents:
Though his party affiliation has changed, Adley said the switch will put him in the best position to continue helping residents.

"I am excited that the new administration is considering some of my proposals as part of its agenda," he said, referring to Gov.-elect Bobby Jindal and his support of the Cyber Command Center at Barksdale Air Force Base.
Sort of flies in the face of Governor-elect Jindal's gospel of bi-partisanship (which the governor-elect himself undercut with the appointment of a Republican Party communications operative to a key position in the Division of Administration).

The Advocate reported that Adley's decision is at least partially linked to the decision of Fourth District Republican Congressman Jim McCrery not to seek another them next year:
Adley’s party change came a few days after veteran U.S. Rep. Jim McCrery, R-Shreveport, announced he would not seek re-election. Adley said he decided to switch to the GOP before he knew of McCrery’s plans.

He said running for the U.S. Congress is “an option.”

Congressional elections are in fall 2008.
I get it! Political opportunism is a constituent service. Now that is innovative thinking.

In The Shreveport Times, Adley portrayed his move as a migration to his ideological home:
"The focus of my efforts in Baton Rouge has always been conservative reform. I'm excited we have a new governor with the same philosophy, and I want be as effective as possible in working with him. Adding another Republican to the Senate will create a more bi-partisan and balanced Senate," Adley said.
Adley did a tremendous public service with one comment he made to The Advocate:
His switch to the GOP will not change the kind of legislator he has always been, Adley said.

“The difference is perception only,” said Adley. “The world has changed. If you have a ‘D’ behind your name, many people don’t think you can speak from a conservative side.”
The fact is that for Adley and a number of other members of the Louisiana House and Senate, being a Democrat doesn't mean anything to them. They carry that "D" behind their name because of political expedience, or because they're too lazy or scared to change their party registration.

There will be votes in the coming year that will reveal these people for who they are.

Those votes will come on issues like healthcare, campaign finance reform (the essential — and thus far, unaddressed — component of ethics reform), climate, energy and environmental issues; and justice issues.

If these Democrats can't distinguish between the interests of Louisianians and the Jindal corporate agenda, then they will need to figure out why they are still in this party. Because on these issues, Democrats will have to re-establish themselves as the party for the rest of us:
• Those of us who understand the value of the social safety net;
• Those of us who understand that you can't eliminate "pay to play" if corporations can still make direct contributions into the coffers of elected officials;
• Those who understand that Louisiana (of all places) must lead the way in adopting policies that reduce our state's contributions to climate change; and, finally,
• Those of us who understand that the challenges this state faces are so great that we do not have the luxury of allowing any form of prejudice to deny us access to the talent and imagination of anyone willing to help us respond effectively to those challenges.
The principles espoused there — particularly knowing which side you are on — is what made the Democratic Party the beacon of hope for this country when our country was, in turn, the beacon of hope to the world.

In order to rebuild the Louisiana Democratic Party (and to make the national Democratic Party relevant), we must return to those principles. We must respond to the call from the citizens of our state for principled leadership — not the siren call to put narrow personal interests ahead of the interests of the greater good.

When you get right down to it, there is no point in Democrats trying to curry favor with the so-called conservatives and their corporate allies — those guys are already getting all the help they need. Who will stand with and for regular people?

If it's not Democrats, then who? If not now, when? If the party can't bring itself to stand with its hisrotical constituencies, then there is no reason for this party to exist.

Thank you, Robert Adley, for making your choice clear and for making clear the choice your colleagues in the Legislature must also make. Democrats need to stand for something or we will fall for anything — or, just fall.

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