Should members of the LSU Board of Supervisors disclose who receives their scholarships?|
Story Archives: Hurricanes cause political power outage
- 2013 - 844 articles
- 2012 - 1954 articles
- 2011 - 2029 articles
- 2010 - 2139 articles
- 2009 - 2066 articles
- 2008 - 1757 articles
- December 2008 - 146 articles
- November 2008 - 147 articles
- October 2008 - 232 articles
- September 2008 - 189 articles
- September 30th, 2008 (Tuesday) - 2 articles
- September 27th, 2008 (Saturday) - 1 articles
- September 25th, 2008 (Thursday) - 15 articles
- September 24th, 2008 (Wednesday) - 16 articles
- September 23rd, 2008 (Tuesday) - 8 articles
- September 22nd, 2008 (Monday) - 4 articles
- September 20th, 2008 (Saturday) - 1 articles
- September 18th, 2008 (Thursday) - 11 articles
- September 17th, 2008 (Wednesday) - 21 articles
- September 16th, 2008 (Tuesday) - 9 articles
- September 15th, 2008 (Monday) - 2 articles
- September 14th, 2008 (Sunday) - 1 articles
- September 12th, 2008 (Friday) - 3 articles
- September 11th, 2008 (Thursday) - 29 articles
- September 10th, 2008 (Wednesday) - 10 articles
- September 9th, 2008 (Tuesday) - 1 articles
- September 8th, 2008 (Monday) - 10 articles
- September 5th, 2008 (Friday) - 3 articles
- September 4th, 2008 (Thursday) - 9 articles
- September 3rd, 2008 (Wednesday) - 21 articles
- September 2nd, 2008 (Tuesday) - 4 articles
- September 1st, 2008 (Monday) - 8 articles
- August 2008 - 126 articles
- July 2008 - 147 articles
- June 2008 - 111 articles
- May 2008 - 147 articles
- April 2008 - 141 articles
- March 2008 - 125 articles
- February 2008 - 135 articles
- January 2008 - 111 articles
|Hurricanes cause political power outage|
Autumn's twin seasons in Louisiana, elections and football, rarely take a back seat to anything, but hurricane season knocked the wind out of both this year.
Compared to the suffering and loss by thousands of citizens--especially in coastal parishes torn up by Gustav and flooded by Ike--any disruption to politics and sports barely registers as a matter of public concern. But it matters to some, because football, even amdist ruins, can be a useful community diversion, and elections, even when largely ignored, still have major consequences.
The postponement of the Sept. 6 congressional primaries, for instance, could trigger a power outage of sorts for new lawmakers.
This was supposed to be the year that Louisiana solved a problem with its election calendar that was causing its new congressmen and senators to be elected in December, rather than November, like representatives from other states. Getting to Washington a month late meant that Louisiana's new lawmakers had very last dibs on committee assignments, staff and office space. Though sworn in at the same time as the rest of the freshmen class, Louisiana's new congressmen started their careers at the back of the line in every way that matters in Washington.
The state Legislature tried to fix that situation and remain in compliance with federal court decisions by replacing the open primary system, which required no more than two elections, with a return to closed party primaries, which can necessitate three votes.
To provide for three elections (primary, runoff and general), the first vote was moved up one month to the first week of September. The same thing happened to football season years ago, as schedules grew from ten games to twelve. That seemed to work, except that it put the start of both seasons at the peak of hurricane season, in harm's way.
So when Gustav blew away the Sept. 6 primary, it was pushed back to Oct. 4, and the party runoff, if needed, to Nov. 4, and the final, general election to Dec. 6. Right back where we started.
Not all the state's congressmen will get a late start. December elections will only apply in two of the state's congressional districts: the 2nd, based in New Orleans, and the 4th, based in Shreveport-Bossier. Those are the only two with contested party primaries that are almost certain to require runoffs before general elections.
The U.S. Senate election and four congressional elections will wrap up on the first Tuesday in November. Already decided is the 3rd District, where Congressman Charlie Melancon was unopposed.
In the two districts to be decided in December elections, the storm delay exacerbates the loss of clout already felt: in the 4th by the retirement of Cong. Jim McCrery, R-Shreveport, and in the 2nd by Cong. Bill Jefferson's indictment and pending trial (set to start four days before the December election).
Either way, the New Orleans area will start the next Congress in the hole: with the last elected rookie or a disgraced member stripped of his committee assignment and facing possible removal if convicted.
Not much can be done to change the election calendar again to accommodate hurricanes. The Legislature wrestled with that issue enough to not want to revisit it.
Louisiana may just have to live with future storms' effects on its congressional clout, as well as on other power rankings, those of its college football teams, from LSU to McNeese State. Gustav-affected LSU fans, having endured a 10 a.m. season opener and a postponed second game, would have been inconsolable had school officials been forced to move the third game to avoid Ike. Instead, both the LSU and Southern contests went on as scheduled, though to the chagrin of some frazzled Baton Rouge officials and residents. They were rightly concerned about the effects of football traffic on streets with stoplights still not working and with mountains of debris protruding from curbs.
The games went on and all survived. The state's new congressmen will get by too. By November, football and politics may be king again, but future Septembers will find them ever subject to a higher power.