Louisiana political commentator C.B. Forgotston, a longtime critic of Gov. Bobby Voucher, has some strong words for the man who bested Lafayette Rep. Joel Robideaux for House speaker gig early this year, characterizing Lake Charles Rep. Chuck Kleckley, Bobby Voucher’s hand-picked choice for the post, as a puppet of the governor who was ill-prepared for and has been unimpressive in arguably the most powerful position in the Legislature.
With Forgotston’s permission, the column is reproduced below. Read more at his website, forgotston.com
House speaker or dummy
House Speaker Chuck “Chuckle” Kleckley has hitched his wagon to Bobby Jindal.
Kleckley does exactly as ordered by Bobby though it serves to aggravate most of the members of the body that Jindal selected him to lead.
Kleckley has not made an important decision without consulting with Jindal. In fact, Kleckley has shown no ability to think for himself. He is the worst Speakers in my memory.
Is it a dummy?
If one has taken the time to watch Kleckley preside, one might conclude that Kleckley is merely a dummy for which long-time House Clerk, Butch Speer is the ventriloquist.
Kleckley hasn’t bothered to learn the House Rules or even the basics pronouncements that he must routinely make over and over in the course of a daily session.
Kleckley appears to be asleep most of the time waiting for Butch to alert him to activity on the House Floor.
Second-term, Speaker Pro Tem, Rep. Walt Leger, has taken the time to understand the House process and is always alert to the House activity. The contrast between Leger and Kleckley even makes me embarrassed for Kleckley.
House “Dean” (longest serving member) Rep. Jeff Arnold does an excellent job when he presides (which is often) and knows how to maintain order with a sense of humor like the good Speakers of the past.
Future of Kleckley
Which brings me to the point of this rant — Kleckley’s future.
Conventional wisdom in Baton Rouge is that if Mitt Romney wins the Presidency in November, Bobby Jindal, while he won’t be the Vice President, will follow Romney to D.C. in a possible cabinet post.
If the conventional wisdom is correct, then Jay Dardenne as Lt. Governor will become governor before the 2013 Regular Session. Being a former lege himself, one would expect Dardenne to name his own lege leadership team.
Dardenne has no reason to want to retain Kleckley as Speaker. Kleckley brings nothing to the position except blind loyalty to Jindal on whose team Dardenne is not.
On the Senate side, where John Alario is very popular and well-respected among his fellow Senators and is more than capable for handling Dardenne’s legislation.
Kleckley is not exactly the most popular member of the House. In fact, one could make the argument that Kleckley is one of least liked and least-respected Speakers in recent memory.
Being such a shallow thinker (I’m being kind), Kleckley has unlikely given much thought to his future as Speaker. However, he could have the shortest tenure of any Speaker in the last 50 years.
Kleckley should, but won’t thank me for doing the thinking for him.