Sunday, October 30, 2005

Mixed messages

It's been a period of mixed messages from Louisiana. None of it will help the state in its efforts at reputation rehab. First, the state requests $250 billion in federal monies for post-hurricane recovery. Then the state bond commission votes to spend tens of millions of dollars on ill-advised pet projects. Then the governor invites the president to address the upcoming special session of the legislature saying, "I can assure you that you will be welcomed by the leadership of Louisiana as a true friend and ally." Then the governor stands on the capitol steps with some of the president's most vocal national critics at a public rally where the president was referred to as neither a "friend" nor an "ally." (Note to the spin doctors: Don't even bother trying. There's no way around the fact the governor's presence at that rally was an endorsement of its message -- including the message that it's time for a change in Washington.) However legitimate the concerns about getting fair wages and opportunities for Louisianans in the post-hurricane world, the governor's participation in yesterday's rally was a really bad idea. Whatever member of the governor's staff advised her to stand on the steps of the state capitol decrying the president in the same week she issued an invitation to the president to address the special legislative session should be sacked. The most disturbing aspect of all these recent developments is that they all point to the same conclusion: There is no strategy. The state is adrift. Who's in charge around here?