Sunday, November 14, 2010

Walker Hines: Unserious Chameleon

It's hard to believe Walker Hines when he calls himself a "principled" politician. To me, he's just a boy riding on the coattails of his daddy's reputation as a prominent local lawyer (in fact, I think he still lives at home with the parentals) who is just toying with the game of politics as if it were a high school student council experience. Why do I think this? Well ...

In the span of a few short years, Walker has "evolved" from being an earnest "progressive Democrat who believes in the Catholic values of social justice" to membership in that cabal of "conservative state lawmakers who share a common belief in limited government, free markets, federalism, and individual liberty."

Walker likes to point out that he's still the youngest legislator in the Louisiana state legislature. And by God it shows. His complete 180 degree evolution of ideological direction and partisan affiliation just comes across as juvenile and lacking any kind of substantive conviction. He may not fully understand this, but his behavior comes across as youthful naivete and a kind of unmeasured, thoughtless, and rash opportunism. I don't believe anyone will take this young fellow seriously in the next election. I've a mind to run against him myself on an unapologetically liberal platform.

I had high hopes for him, but I noticed in the last legislative session that, when push came to shove on a piece of controversial immigration legislation, Walker simply abdicated his responsibility. The two times that I went to Baton Rouge to testify before his Committee against what I saw as horrible legislation, Walker didn't even bother to show up to the hearing. I wrote to him about his absence, and he wrote back with some song and dance about needing to be elsewhere to shepherd some other piece of legislation through some other committee; but now I just don't think he was being honest with me. Given all this hubbub about switching parties now, I think it is fair for me to conclude that he knew he was pondering a party switch even then and was thus being cowardly at the time in confronting a hot-button GOP issue (immigration) and finding a convenient excuse for not living up to his claim to be a "progressive Democrat who believes in the Catholic values of social justice," since anyone who claims this mantle would have clearly been an outspoken opponent of this pernicious piece of legislation. Heck, even the institutional Catholic Church opposed this legislation that Hines couldn't even take the time to consider as part of his Committee duties. I swear, if I could afford to do so, I'd mount a serious campaign for his seat in the Louisiana State legislature.

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