Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Plan C?

by John Maginnis

Now we must await word from former Sen. Breaux, who likes suspense to build before he makes his move--out the door--as he did in January 2002 when he declined to run for governor and in December 2003 when he said he would not seek re-election to the U.S. Senate.

Vitter's missives come out of the blue; Breaux likes to rent a ballroom.

Gov. Kathleen Blanco's recovery from the public lashing she took in the hurricanes' aftermath has been as slow and halting as that of the most storm-ravaged areas. Despite progress in the state's overall recovery effort, her own approval ratings have been mired sub-40 percent.

She has firmly stated she intends to seek re-election, and well she might, since the year and a half to the qualifying period is an eternity in politics. Even so, what else can a sitting governor say? Were she to declare her lame-duckness now, the Legislature, getting uppity as it is, might start acting like a co-equal branch of government, which would be both novel and scary.

The upside for Blanco is that her poll numbers are so low that she is free to make decisions without worrying about the political fallout.

Yet, with many Democrats assuming she will not run or cannot win, thoughts turn to Plan B. For Breaux. When the rumors started, Breaux winked and did nothing to squash them. Then the movement went public with Agriculture Commissioner Bob Odom saying he doubted Blanco's ability to lead and that Louisiana Democrats need Breaux to save them from the Republicans.

Odom has ordered up a poll, though it hardly takes a survey to confirm that Breaux would be a viable candidate for governor but not a cinch either. The question has always been is he willing, especially now, to leave the very good life he's just entered in order to campaign hard for a nearly impossible job he has never held before with so much of his political base still displaced.

The suspense is boring me. Rent the ballroom and let's move on.

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