Yesterday, Gov. Blanco opened Louisiana's special legislative session with a bang:
"If no effort is made to guarantee our fair share of royalties, I have warned the federal government that we will be forced to block the August sale of offshore oil and gas leases," Blanco said. "It's time to play hardball, as I believe that's the only game Washington understands."
It's not clear to Polimom whether there's anything but pure grit behind those words, but I loved them anyway; they were a balm for the open wound left by Bush's SoTU snub.
Does Blanco have the ability to block the sale? Some analysts say no - and while I hope those folks are wrong, the message itself is just as important. What the Governor has effectively said is, "Louisiana's not your doormat, and I'm done with being treated like crap."
Polimom's thrilled to see Louisiana raising its metaphoric finger to the White House. Since Sunday, Jim Hoagland's analysis of why Bush felt that he could almost totally ignore the Gulf Coast has been circling endlessly in my head:
If you believe that Rove and Bush are too deep in a bubble of isolation or oblivion to see the shortcomings of their energy "plan" and the conflicts swirling around New Orleans, they have a midterm election they would like to sell you. It is far more damning -- for what it would say about them and about the public -- to suspect that they have carefully weighed the pluses and minuses of devoting more attention and resources to New Orleans and have pegged public sentiment just about right.
Polimom wants to vomit all over "public sentiment", but he nailed the problem - which makes this Louisiana legislative session infinitely more important. The state can't afford to indulge in the partisan hostility that has defined America for almost six years, and reactions to Blanco's opening speech indicate that Louisiana officials finally get it (maybe...):
Her speech was interrupted 19 times with applause from the crowd, which included lawmakers, their guests and hundreds of ordinary citizens.
She drew a standing ovation for her line, "We had all better put Louisiana politics aside and worry about Washington politics or our people and our state will lose."