NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Whether they chose President Barack Obama or Republican nominee Mitt Romney, many Louisiana voters say more political cooperation is needed but unlikely.
“We need to work more closely together,” Democrat Rebecca Stilling, 57, of Metairie, said after voting for Obama on Election Day.
The Louisiana Secretary of State’s office has said as many as 70 percent of registered voters might turn out Tuesday in Louisiana, where Republican John McCain got 58.6 percent of the vote against Obama in 2008.
Perry Kleyle, a 66-year-old registered independent who owns a battery supply business, said someone like former President Ronald Reagan is needed to bridge the political divide. He wasn’t expecting more cooperation any time soon.
“I don’t think if you had 10 parties you would get better cooperation,” he said. “Nobody wants to listen to the other guy. Everybody just wants to shout.”
Kleyle said he voted for Romney because “there’s been a complete vacuum of leadership” under Obama.
“Nothing he said in ‘08 that was going to happen has happened to the degree that anybody expected,” Kleyle said.
Gloria K. Smith, a Democrat, said she cast her ballot for Obama again this year in the hope that the president would continue to work on universal health care, giving everyone a chance to go to college and rebuilding the economy.
“It was a long haul when he first took office,” said the 62-year-old parish government clerk. “There were a lot of things out of place and he had a lot of things on his plate. It’s going to take more than four years.”
She said the political divide in the nation was healthy.
“I think it defines diversity and freedom of speech. People having different opinions, wanting different things.”
William Lee, a 28-year-old software developer and registered Republican who voted for John McCain in 2008, said he was not persuaded by either of the major parties and voted for Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson.
Young people like him are not devoted to one party exclusively, he said.
“As far as the circle of people I know it’s not like that,” he said. “My parents are pretty polarized.”
He hopes the Libertarian Party gets enough of the vote to be taken seriously as a “real political party.”
“I just think the two-party system needs to be broken up,” he said. “More diversity in choices.”
Elen and Merrith Karl, a retired couple, said they voted for McCain in 2008 and for Romney this year. They have remained registered Democrats since Louisiana, now considered a die-hard Republican state, was dominated by Democrats. The last time they voted for a Democratic candidate for the White House was Jimmy Carter in his first bid, they said.
The Democratic Party has become too liberal, Merrith Karl said. Still, he said, “I don’t vote by party, I vote by candidate.”
He said he hoped a Romney presidency would fuel a rebound in the economy.
“From what you see and what you feel, money doesn’t go as far as it used to,” he said.
Elen Karl said she likes Romney’s experience in the private sector and businessman’s approach.
Her husband said the parties should work together more, though polarization appears to be worsening.
“I wish they would all get along together, that would make it a lot easier if both parties would jell together instead of fighting all the time,” Merrith Karl said. “Do what’s best for the country.”
JUNE 16 This story in the Advocate tells us that the state Department of Education is taking a look at the Course Choice program. They're doing that because the legislature (probably responding to reporting by Tom Aswell, who does not work for the Advocate) ordered them to make sure that these private companies aren't signing six-year-olds up for high school Latin classes without their parents' knowledge or consent.
JUNE 17 Columnist James Gill writes about the recent complaint of death row inmates at Angola: it's hot as you-know-what in their cells, with the heat index topping 120 for months. Since we're not executing people anymore (Gill opines) then we should probably officially end the practice of putting people on death row. The prisoners, by the way, are not asking for cool breezes: they only ask for clean water and a temp that doesn't top 88.
JUNE 17 Here's blogger Ian McGibboney's take on the Baton Rouge plan to give bus tickets to homeless people who have a home with family who live far away. Taken from one point of view, it could be a good solution for some people. But McGibboney raises some good points here, including this one: Why not improve opportunities for everybody in Baton Rouge so these people can find the jobs they came to BR for?
JUNE 17 Picayune columnist Jarvis DeBerry talks here about the Zimmerman trial, but the real topic is the concept of a black man being more dangerous, somehow, than a white man in a fight. It is an interesting discussion, and one that may enlighten people who think that racism doesn't exist because nobody's keeping black folks from eating at the Woolworth lunch counter.
JUNE 17 Here's an interesting column from Baton Rouge Business Report's publisher, Rolfe McCollister, about anger against the government. It's brewing because of recent revelations about the IRS and the GSA, he says. It's readable, not just for the subject, but because of McCollister's collection of sources: Huffington Post, National Review and Wikipedia. That's a combo you don't see every day.
JUNE 17 In this American Press post, Jim Beam talks about the high school diploma track that lets kids who aren't interested in university get what they want and need out of high school. The diplomas get kids ready for technical school, Beam explains, and then he goes on to give some of the numbers. Some of these numbers might really surprise people who think technical school is second best. And, Beam adds, a college diploma does not guarantee anybody a job.
JUNE 17 The Washington Post reports here that OSHA is going to investigate the explosion that occurred last week in Donaldsonville, shortly after the other fatal accident in Geismar. As soon as the site is safe, State Police will be pulling out of the Donaldsonville plant to make way for OSHA investigators, the story reports. (Hey, here's an idea: why don't they go a couple miles down the road and figure out what happened when that massive sinkhole started sucking up land.)
JUNE 17 Robert Mann writes about the LSU Board of Supervisors in this post, taking a look at the many ways board members have served Gov. Jindal and not their university or their students. The board members are esteemed members of their fields, but can't seem to do anything but say "yes" to Jindal, regardless of the cost to LSU, Mann opines.
Frank’s Casing Crew, now doing business as Frank’s International, will make its final appearance on ABiz’s list of the Top 50 Privately Held Companies in Acadiana this year, and once again, it will likely be at the top with more than $1 billion in annual revenues. The 75-year-old company specializing in tubular fabrication and installation services to the oil and gas industry plans to go public this year.
The defeat, or rather highjacking of House Bill 420 in the final days of this year's Legislative Session, say Reps. Vincent Pierre and Terry Landry, is the result of the propaganda spread by one unidentified local media outlet and an unnamed former state Representative, but nothing to do with the original legislation's lack of checks, balances or details.
He’s a singer. A songwriter. A piano man. A family man. He’s even got his own Wikipedia entry. He’s David Egan. And he knows ancient secrets about the monolithic stones of Stonehenge that he’s not willing to share.