Thursday, March 31, 2011
The Last "John Breaux Democrat" Jumps Ship
After watching well over a century control of both houses of the Louisiana Legislature slips away through party switches and special elections that broke towards the GOP, the Louisiana Democratic Party suffered the ultimate indignity on Thursday with the departure from the party of one its most prominent in-state figures. Former US Senator and one-time de facto state party boss John Breaux made a surprise visit to his former stomping grounds in Crowley to announce that he is now a registered independent. “If I ran in a Democratic primary for Congress today, I doubt I could be nominated,” mused Breaux, who is retired from politics as a candidate though not from the political scene as one of the top lobbyists on the Beltway’s power corridor of K Street. During his time in Congress’ upper chamber was one of the most conservative members of his former party and was known for being able to work both sides of the aisle. When Breaux last sought office in 1998, he received a great deal of support from Republicans, including the Baton Rouge congressman he defeated to win a seat in the US Senate in 1986. Breaux, who resides in Maryland, cited his disenchantment with the Obama Administration’s energy policies and their impact on his native state and the overall tilt of the Democratic Party to far left. “Forget the spotted owl, the real endangered species is the Blue Dog Democrat,” said Breaux. “Increasingly conservative voters have thrown them out of office and replaced them with Republicans while those moderate Democrats who have held on are neutered by the party leadership in Congress.” “I knew that as a pro-life, pro-second amendment, business-friendly US Senator, I had a very limited future in the party. There was a leadership threshold I simply could not cross and that was frustrating to me when considering the money I raised for my colleagues,” lamented Breaux. Breaux’s defection wasn’t total since he did not embrace the Republican Party. “I have a lot of friends in the GOP though I could not bring myself to go that far. I’ve worked hard moving the Democratic Party forward from the Edwin Edwards-era and I still believe the Democratic Party is the party of the working man, though it’s also the party of elements that advocate reckless policies and positions that are bad for Louisiana and America,” said Breaux. Breaux won’t be missed by all Louisiana Democrats. Lynnda Kimball of Democrats for Progress, a liberal grassroots organization that is actively supportive of President Obama’s agenda, did not have kind parting words for Breaux. “He (Breaux) spent more time fighting for Texaco than working families,” said Kimball. “Breaux was (George W.) Bush’s favorite Democrat. That should say it all.” When informed of Breaux’s decision to become a registered independent, Vice-President Joe Biden, who served with the Cajun politician in the US Senate for 18 years offered the following statement: "John has been a friend of mine for many years and I thought he represented the state of Arkansas ably during his time in Washington. I enjoyed working with him on landmark legislation such as the Water Flume Regulation Act and the Whooping Cough Eradication Act. That said, I would like to wish him a Happy April Fool's Day."