Monday, September 26, 2005

The reputation haunts

Today's Wall Street Journal has a damning commentary about Louisiana's history of corruption, this time focused on Aaron Broussard and his bizarre performance on Meet the Press last week and his repeat performance yesterday. But that's just the lead-in to discussing Louisiana politics:

No state turns out better demagogues than Louisiana--the state that Huey Long ruled with an near-fascistic fist and that inspired the new Sean Penn version of "All the King's Men" that hits movie theaters this November. While the Bush administration and Congress aren't in danger of being fried as witches, they better figure out that they and the taxpayers are about to be fleeced like sheep as they ship south $62 billion in emergency aid with few controls or safeguards. Put bluntly, the local political cultures don't engender confidence that aid won't be diverted from the people who truly need and deserve it. While the feds can try to ride herd on the money, here's hoping folks in the region take the opportunity to finally demand their own political housecleaning. Change is past due. Last year, Lou Riegel, the agent in charge of the FBI's New Orleans office, described Louisiana's public corruption as "epidemic, endemic, and entrenched. No branch of government is exempt."
The Journal is urging residents of Louisiana to embrace this opportunity for a fresh start. The world is watching. Is Louisiana capable of change?