U.S. Capitol at dawn (copy)

The United States Capitol

Old Edwin W. Edwards had a favorite saying, that if you wait by the river long enough, you'll see the bodies of your enemies floating by in the water.

He died planning his 95th birthday, after all. Lots of bodies clogged the stream.

But the four-time Louisiana governor started out in legislative positions and knew well that in politics the body-count isn't the most important thing. There are real deadlines to passing budgets and getting things done, and the old man was a master at getting his way.

Do we need an Edwin Edwards in Congress? Given our decades in opposition to many of his views, sounds odd, but the fiasco in the U.S. House of Representatives makes us wonder.

Edwards was a builder, and that meant passing budgets. That was an often messy and political process, but it had real deadlines as part of the deal.

Building was what counted.

In the House, as a president of the old school wants the nation to start building again, a coalition of Republicans saying "no" to bills that aid their districts — as in Louisiana's delegation — and a sliver of ultraliberals in the Democratic caucus are planting themselves in front of the bulldozers. The latter are hostage-taking, saying they won't vote for the bipartisan bill coming from the U.S. Senate unless they first get a larger budget bill that funds their high-priced domestic priorities.

What's important here? The crying need for building more and better roads, bridges, utility transmission lines — on and on, throughout this nation that used to be the builder admired around the world.

The Republican senators, including U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy of Baton Rouge, who worked with Democrats to get the infrastructure bill through their chamber did the right thing. And it is not only the so-called progressives in the Democratic caucus who are the problem; nitpicking the compromise bill is a really poor position for GOP members like those from Louisiana where the benefits of the bill will be very significant, not least in hurricane protection.

Joe Biden is not Edwin Edwards. But it should not take an Edwin-like mastery to avoid gridlock on a bill that is overall good for this country. And Louisiana members, particularly good for your poor state.

Our Views: Defying label of 'progressives,' liberal caucus balks at bill good for Louisiana