Thursday, May 15, 2008

My Walker Hines "Mea Culpa" and Conversion

I have to say that there was a time when I wrote a very mean-spirited and downright nasty blogposting about Walker Hines, in which I swore up and down never to vote for him. At the time, I was an Una Anderson supporter and I was incensed during the heated days of that runoff election at the anonymous and multiple robocalls that I received that parroted what I considered to be vicious smears against Una Anderson because of the unsubstantiated Pampy Barre corruption claims. I was livid with Walker Hines and I went off on him. Really went off on him.

But ...

Lately, the kid is making a believer (and a liar!) out of me. He was very responsive to my emails asking him to oppose the ill-conceived series of immigration bills. And, in fact, he voted against them. He also was courageous enough to propose a bill outlawing the death penalty. That, in itself, takes some guts for a young, first-time lawmaker in a pro-death penalty state like Louisiana. And I have been equally impressed with his efforts to try to close loopholes in some of the ethics legislation regarding how much and how often legislators could be wined and dined by lobbyists.

So, in short, I have to say that I was uncharacteristically overdramatic about my position then. In fact, when I read over that previous posting, I have to admit to a little embarrassment. I certainly owe Walker Hines an apology for the tone of the posting. Now, don't get me wrong, I still think those robocalls were reprehensible campaign tactics, and I still get angry thinking about them. But I am also more convinced that this kind of behavior does not characterize Walker Hines as I have come to observe him as a legislator. The kid has won my respect. And now I have to eat some crow. Because not only am I inclined to vote for him if he keeps up his good work in the legislature, but I am also inclined to go out and campaign for him. Who knows? Maybe I can convince him to run on his record, to abandon those unseemly negative robocalls in the future, and to not endorse conservative Republicans when there's a reasonable and competent Democrat to support instead.

UPDATE: Friday, May 16, 2008, 8:26AM: I've been thinking a bit more about my posting above, and I just wanted to add the following: I don't think Walker Hines is the perfect legislator and I am sure that I will not agree (sometimes strongly so) with some of his positions and votes in the Legislature. But, on balance, I have come to like him, and I find that he and I agree on much more than we disagree.

1 comment:

E said...

Seriously, your state house coverage has been excellent. You're doing a lot of annoying grunt work but I think it's paying off with information we can really use. I hope you continue to focus your energies there after the immigration bill controversy fade from prominence.

I'm still not sold on Mr. Hines. The endorsement of Scalise is very significant in my mind, though I have to give him credit for his votes.

I'd like to know your opinion on the effects of term limiting our reps and the overall performance of the fresh blood freshman from both sides of the aisle.