To have Edwin W. Edwards flaunting your party’s label on a ballot is disreputable.
For the Democratic Party to support him is degrading.
We take comfort in the fact that the decision of the Democratic State Central Committee was not unanimous, even if the body voted “overwhelmingly” for the endorsement.
The former governor and convict is not barred from service in Congress, so with a state pension and “star” appeal, why not run? Maybe people won’t remember all the good reasons why not; a significant number of voters were not even born when Edwards left the House in 1972, when he was elected governor.
There have been crowded years since — crowded with indictments and crooked deals and sleazy characters associated with Edwards in power and out. And, for others who want to slog down a muddy memory lane, there’s the conviction and subsequent years in the federal pen.
All of the above is not disqualifying for the Louisiana Democratic Party?
“We are proud to feature a slate of candidates that represents the Louisiana Democratic Party’s illustrious past and our proven present,” said Karen Carter Peterson, the New Orleans state senator and chairwoman of the party.
Maybe, given the fact that the Nov. 4 ballot will feature a slew of Republican candidates, the only Democrat who presumably can win a spot in the Dec. 6 runoff is an ex-con. All that proves is that it doesn’t matter whether name recognition is good or bad.
Nor is this a sound political decision: Edwards is running in a redrawn 6th District that includes the heavily Republican suburbs of Baton Rouge. He’s a good bet to make the runoff but not to win, ultimately.
What strikes us as fatuous nonsense is the “illustrious” part.
We are the first to say that Edwards was not all bad as governor; as a candidate today, he’s making more sense than some of his opponents on a few specific issues, such as expansion of Medicaid health insurance for the working poor.
To spin that as representative of some illustrious populist past, and forget the rest, is political hackdom of a high order.
We draw the attention of Democrats to the example set by a Republican, then-President George H.W. Bush. As an oilman and congressman from Texas before being elected, Bush knew exactly what kind of character he was dealing with in Edwards.
Yet, when the 1991 runoff threw Edwards in with white supremacist David Duke, the president frankly endorsed Edwards instead of the candidate of his own party.
The Democrats would have been better advised to leave an official endorsement at home.