Jul 022015
 

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Because our ancestors hailed from countries where freedom was not free, we firmly believe that a big part of the American Dream is the freedom to run for public office. Actually, we are eternally grateful that so many Americans in cities large and small are willing to risk their personal privacy and accept inevitable criticism while articulating their ideas on how our democracy should operate. Whether we like the positions candidates take or not, we still appreciate their First Amendment right to speak up – which our ancestors could not do without fear of death or reprisal.

Earlier this week we spoke with two-time presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, a Republican religious rights conservative and former governor of Arkansas, who was meeting with a small group of supporters at Ralph’s On The Park. Huckabee is clearly fulfilling his vision of the American Dream.

An accomplished speaker who underwent a serious physical transformation while governor, Mike Huckabee is a Bobby Jindal clone without Jindal’s negative Louisiana baggage. Huckabee loves Jindal, and wouldn’t say a harsh word about him. Huckabee and Jindal espouse many of the same views. Huckabee says what makes him the best candidate, the one Republican voters would prefer to “quarterback their team,” is that he is the only candidate who has beaten the Clinton political machine, since he expects Hillary will be the Democratic nominee.

Regarding gay marriage, Huckabee said that the Supreme Court made a political decision, not a legal one and that people should follow their conscience in terms of future civil disobedience. Huckabee also thinks that historically the Supreme Court has been “dead wrong” on several other decisions as well.

Huckabee believes he brings a very different vision to the presidential race because he governed in “the most partisan state in America” and had to learn how to work with very difficult people – including Democrats. He faults Republicans for only getting their party’s message out to corporate America and Wall Street instead of speaking to more voters who “carry their lunches in sacks or work in factories.”

When asked about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who also announced his candidacy this week, Huckabee said Christie is “principled” and a “worthy rival willing take a stand.” More America Dream stuff here too.

We can easily see Louisiana voters who agree with Jindal on most issues but are upset with his lack of leadership in Louisiana jumping onto Huckabee’s band wagon. Huckabee is running third at 8 percent in the latest CNN Republican presidential poll (the only poll taken so far after Jindal’s June 24 announcement for President), which leads us to believe that his religious freedom mantra has already caught on with millions of voters nationwide. In the same poll, Christie is in a three-way tie for ninth at 3 percent and Jindal is in a two-way tie for 12th at 2 percent. Jeb Bush leads the poll at 19 percent followed by Donald Trump at 12 percent.

Donald Trump reminds us of Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders, who is nipping at Hillary’s heels albeit from a distance. Clinton is at 58 percent in the CNN poll with Sanders at 15 percent — though recent polling shows Sanders at 33 percent in the key early-voting state of Iowa. VP Joe Biden- who has not yet made a final decision to run – is at 17 percent. Off the wall like Trump, Sanders is entertaining the voters during the summer doldrums and living his version of the American Dream. Hopefully, when the race gets more serious, the fakes will fade away. When the poll pits Clinton directly against Bush, she still takes him by 13 percent and Trump by 24 percent. Surely those numbers will tighten up the closer we get to the fall elections.

According to the New York Times, Hillary is having to rethink her fundraising approach because many of the Democratic party’s fundraising “bundlers” lean liberal on issue like gay marriage — perhaps more liberal than Hillary wants to be at this time. Some of these folks are falling right into Sanders’ lap — at least temporarily.

We were also disappointed to learn that General Russell Honore will not be entering the race for governor of Louisiana. Honore has distinguished himself throughout his career and brought solid leadership to fill many vacuums. We hope to still hear his persuasive voice on the campaign trail.

OUR FIRST AND HOPEFULLY LAST WORDS ON ROBERT E. LEE, JEFF DAVIS AND GEN. BEAUREGARD

Racial healing and reconciliation is a long-term, multi-step dialogue that must start at home, in schools, churches and throughout the community. Maybe the next generation will eventually be able to teach adults a thing or two about living and working in harmony. We long for the day when people will be seen as just people, regardless of their color.

These goals will not happen just because statues which offend are unceremoniously removed. We like Council President Jason Williams’ suggestion that significant dialogue be held throughout the city before such actions are taken hastily. A statue no longer in sight will not necessarily change someone’s heart.

SECOND HARVEST FOOD BANK PROVIDING COMMODITIES TO 100 LOCATIONS IN METRO NEW ORLEANS

While readers are downing their hot dogs, ribs, coleslaw and beer this holiday weekend, thousands of needy families in our area will be dining on commodities received through Second Harvest Food Bank. School age children who participate in the many free breakfast and lunch programs available during the year heavily depend on Second Harvest during the summer months. Consider a donation to Second Harvest this summer.

Allan Katz spent 25 years as a political reporter and columnist at The Times-Picayune, and is now editor of the Kenner Star and host of several television programs, including the Louisiana Newsmaker on Cox Cable. Danae Columbus is executive producer of Louisiana Newsmaker, and has had a 30-year career in public relations, including stints at City Hall and the Dock Board. They both currently work for the Orleans Parish School Board. Among the recent candidates who have been represented by their public relations firm are City council members Stacy Head and Jared Brossett, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, former Sheriff Charles Foti and former Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell.

  • 2000 Alumni

    It is sad to see that “religious freedom” aka an excuse for bigotry may take hold as an election issue for republicans. All that means is that the middle of the country’s electorate will slide to the democrats in the presidential election. Mr Huckabee, Jindal and his outdated ideals probably also disagrees with Roe v. Wade, Brown v. Board of Education, Engle v. Vitale, Miranda and other similar cases which have advanced the rights of those who were once disenfranchised.

    Good luck with this field….