March 18, 2014

Edwin Edwards, the Unagin' Cajun, is out prison and on the campaign trail

Just three years after his release from federal prison, former Gov. Edwin Edwards is throwing his hat into the open race for Louisiana's 6th Congressional District. 
The 86-year-old Silver Fox, known for his memorable, often shocking quotes and the nearly nine years spent behind bars on extortion, fraud and racketeering charges, made the announcement at a meeting of the Press Club of Baton Rouge on Monday (March 17). 
"I acknowledge there are good reasons I should not run. But there are better reasons why I should," said the Democrat, who served an unprecedented four terms as governor. He also put to rest questions over whether his status as an ex-con would keep him from being a qualified Congressional candidate: "Once and for all I'm positive I can run and I'm confident I can win." ...
"I'd like to run for governor, but there seems to be some question about whether I could," Edwards added. Louisiana law bars convicted felons from running for statewide office for 15 years, unless they receive a pardon. Edwards would be 101 by that time.

And why not?

Some Edwards quotes from over the years:
"Dave Treen is so slow it takes him an hour and a half to watch 60 Minutes." (During 1983 campaign versus incumbent Gov. David Treen) 
"The only way I can lose this race is to be caught in bed with a live boy or dead girl." (During the same 1983 race) 
"The only place where David Duke and I are alike is we are both wizards under the sheets." (During 1991 gubernatorial campaign versus former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke) 
"'Well, Marion...if she dies, she dies." (What Edwards reportedly told his brother when he warned the 86-year-old that sex with his new wife, 50 years his junior, could be dangerous) 
"You sleep with 'em." (On the use he's finally found for Republicans, during a 2012 press conference with his new wife, registered GOPer)
 
The point of Ron Shelton's 1989 movie Blaze with Paul Newman as former governor Earl K. Long (the assassinated Huey's younger brother) is that Louisianans like their politicians entertaining. Huey Long, the subject of All the King's Men, was actually a very good governor for his first two years in office in the late 1920s, taxing Standard Oil to build roads, schools, and hospitals for his deeply backward constituents, but things fell apart into feuding after that before his mysterious death. But, a political culture conducive to good literature isn't always conducive to good government.
   

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

A sex fiend with a good sense of humor. I think it's worth a smile and a nod, and a vote for his opponent.

Anonymous said...

The spicier the food, the worse the government.

Eric Falkenstein said...

Huey Long good two years? Like an early Robert Mugabe, populism always starts well.

TGGP said...

I've never quite understood the bad rap Huey Long gets. I argued with Moldbug over his status a while back. To me a lot of his politics should be pleasing to the bien-pensant, he just happens to have been an opponent of FDR (albeit one to his left).

The Robot said...

"Edwin Edwards, the Unagin' Cajun, is out prison and on the campaign trail"

Danger, Will Robinson, danger!!

Anonymous said...

"But, a political culture conducive to good literature isn't always conducive to good government."

Amen, brother, amen.

Can anyone name a Swiss political novel?

Heidi?

Anonymous said...

""" Louisiana law bars convicted felons from running for statewide office for 15 years, unless they receive a pardon. """



Way wait a second. Isn't it the same for all US elected offices as well? I thought federal law bans convicted felons from holding public office for the rest of their lives. Wonder why the article's writer didn't make that point clear enough.

As a convicted felon he's forever lost the right to vote but he can still attempt to be ELECTED to public office, in particular at the federal level?

There's just something a wee bit screwy about that.

ben tillman said...

I have no idea where these comments are going to go, but I did date a girl who used to eat candy off Governor Edwards's desk. (Her father held a state-wide elective office and jetted around with President Clinton in Air Force One.)

One highlight of my time with her was walking into a sushi restaurant and watching her encounter an old friend or acquaintance whose father had been running for governor in 1987 when his plane mysteriously crashed. Typisch louisianisch, I thought, though I later learned that there probably was no foul play involved.

Steve Sailer said...

"Swiss Family Robinson" -- they build a utopian treehouse out of flotsam and jetsam.

feature not bug said...

With 10 interchangeable random Republicans in it and the "French primary"/top 2 runoff I imagine he'll get least one more shot at flood-the-zone journalist attention between now and November 6th. Name recognition really is the whole enchilada or souffle with today's median American voter. Remember how they said Mark Sanford would be punished--yeah right. With Edwards it is not only baked in, it's his concept. Also he had a Protestant father and a French-speaking mother if you want to mix in Trudeau/Obama consultant imaging.

Nixon-era figure Hale Boggs died in a plane crash (in Alaska) so I hadn't realize it happened to another one (presumably a Democrat?)

Maxwell Power said...

Can anyone name a Swiss political novel?

Emile

Maxwell Power said...

I think Hermann Hesse wrote one that had a Senator dying in a funicular crash

Anonymous said...

"Can anyone name a Swiss political novel?"

Conrad's 'Under Western Eyes' was set in Geneva. But Switzerland was merely the venue. Like 5-star hoteliers, the Swiss clean up before dawn; ready to host another intrigue...

Gilbert P

Anonymous said...

"But, a political culture conducive to good literature isn't always conducive to good government."

Amen, brother, amen.

Can anyone name a Swiss political novel?


Well, at least Orson Welles appreciates Swiss craftsmanship.

fnn said...

I've never quite understood the bad rap Huey Long gets. I argued with Moldbug over his status a while back. To me a lot of his politics should be pleasing to the bien-pensant, he just happens to have been an opponent of FDR (albeit one to his left).

He formed an alliance with Fr. Coughlin (shortly before his death) and his chief aide was Gerald L.K. Smith. Even as early as 1935, those were the sorts of people who made up the non-plutocrat opposition to the New Deal/Popular Front. Nobody ever accused Long of being anti-Semitic, so something must have been in the air in those days.

Hunsdon said...

No Third Man reference yet? C'mon guys, we've got standards to uphold here!

Otis said...

I used to work with a guy from Louisiana...he claimed that back when Edwards was running against Duke, you'd periodically see black people with "Vote for the Crook, it's Important" bumper stickers.

Eric Falkenstein said...

TGGP: Long's model was built on patronage, which is a fine way to proceed as a business person (forming coalitions), but a disastrous way to run a country. It just doesn't scale (see Mexico, Venezuela). We should recognize coalitions exist and not demonize them, but to make certain ones government approved creates a monopoly interest group that retards growth and freedom.

Further, Long was a non-subtle hypocrite, saying he was against wealth and power, when that's exactly what he wanted and had. You can't work with someone with such bad faith (ie, who lies so brazenly).

irishman said...

"Anonymous said...
The spicier the food, the worse the government.

3/18/14, 6:28 PM"

I think there's something to this. Curry is said to have been invented to mask the taste of rotten meat. Perhaps honest societies would not stoop so low which is why they have honest governments?

Anonymous said...

Can anyone name a Swiss political novel?

Emile


Good one.

Anonymous said...

>>Eric Falkenstein said...
"""TGGP: Long's model was built on patronage, which is a fine way to proceed as a business person (forming coalitions), but a disastrous way to run a country.""""

It was NOT 'Long's model' per se, it was standard US model and dated from the early 19thcent. (to the victor belongs the spoils). Funny thing, it was perfectly acceptable for the elite Northeastern cities NY and Boston (e.g. Tammany Hall) to operate in this manner for several decades and nobody publicly spoke up vs it untilt William Tweed and others took it to the next level, which is to say, obvious corruption.


In short, MOST, not all, but MOST of the animosity toward Huey Long is that:

1. He was a Southerner. To the leftists operating in such a manner is totally unacceptable for a white person. Frankly, if Long had been a minority he would've received a free pass ('Oh, well, what you can expect').

2. Within his own state, he was successful. It is quite hard for Northeastern and other regions of the US to fully comprehend the level of poverty that existed in the lower south in those days, particularly in the Mississippi Delta Region (of which LA is part of). In short, Long did nothing that wasn't already being done re; partonage system. He merely threw out the old party and substituted his own. This kind of thing goes on even today (Shock, I know) including in such hoi polloi states as NY, MA, CA, etc. Its the way of the world.

Long was somewhat different in that he actually delivered on his promises of reform. He gave something back (actually quite a lot back for that time period) to the lower classes (of which he was a part of early in his life). Paved roads, electricity, building of LSU, etc. are directly traced to Long and his policies as Governor.

All one has to say is: If the previous LA adminstration was so free of corruption and morally superior, then why did they not ever attempt to raise the living standards of LA as a whole They had decades in office to do so.

So let's attempt some honest consistency and ignore the leftist propaganda that's been perpetuated by mostly elitist Northeastern leftists.

3. With the mid 80s Ken Burns Documentary on Huey Long, the modern eras template vs Long was set in stone. Trotted out were the Northeastern Elitists as well as Robert Penn Warren who's Novel was loosely based on Long (although it could easily have been based on Long's predecessors). The documentary all but tars Long as a mini-Fascist.

The reality of course, is that Long was neither the fascist petty state dictator nor the great populist reformer. The truth is somewhere in the middle with learning toward a mild reformer a la Ross Perot. The fact of the matter is that Long had some concrete reforms for LA, he delivered on MOST of them (which is far more than LA ever received from previous administrations). FDR's New Deal borrowed some elements from Long's reforms.

4. Long received a bulk of the elitist animosity when he won the Senate seat because then he was a national politician and couldn't be hid away in LA. Again, had he come from the Northeast, the elitists of intellectual and popular opinion would've liked him.

Anonymous said...

>>Erick Falkenstein said:

"""Further, Long was a non-subtle hypocrite, saying he was against wealth and power, when that's exactly what he wanted and had. You can't work with someone with such bad faith (ie, who lies so brazenly)."""


Again, this is getting on the moralistic high horse and nearly 80yrs after the facts at that.

At the state level, Long delievered on most of his reforms for the citizens of LA. Theres a reason he was elected by wide margins each and every time in LA for nearly every office he ran for.

The problems came from Long's state rivals and later when he went to DC. DC, then as now, is run and dominated by the NY-MA axis, and they generally adopt an Al Smith type of approach toward the rest of US. "What states are there (of relevance) west of the Mississippi?" (Should be ammended 'west of the Hudson, actually).

Bottom line: Lets stop with the Long-bashing which is merely a hatchet job by Long's political and intellectual enemies. No one is perfect and given the context of his times, he was no worse than his contemporaries (and that includes Tammany Hall). If we have to wait for the purist perfect and morally free from any kind of corruption to have a the ideal government we desire, we'll be waiting for a long long time.

What set Long apart is that he actually delivered on his reforms in LA. His brief time in DC demonstrates that he was thinking of bringing these types of reforms he had succesfully implemented in LA to the US at large. FDR thought the same way with his New Deal reforms some of which (e.g. WPA, etc) were directly based on Long's successes.

If it's ok to canonize FDR for doing behaviors not all that dissimilar to the former LA governor, perhaps its time to at least give a more balanced treatment to Huey Long, one of LA's most popular and successful statesmen of the 20th century.

ricpic said...

Edwards is exhibit #1 as to the health benefits of going through life without a conscience. At 86 the prospects of governing a state boil down to the anticipated pleasure of screwing the voters one more time. No wonder he's so vital in old old age, never once has he had an unhealthy moment of internal doubt about the marvelousness of being Edwin and sticking it to everyone else.

Anonymous said...

"Can anyone name a Swiss political novel?"

Off Limits by Hans Habe (1956).

ben tillman said...

Nixon-era figure Hale Boggs died in a plane crash (in Alaska) so I hadn't realize it happened to another one (presumably a Democrat?)

His name was Noel "Butch" Baum, and he was a Democrat. He was also 6'8", and he was the pilot and only person on board.

There was also Bo Rein, the LSU head football coach whom they hired away from NC State after the 1979 season. He died in a plane crash on a recruiting trip before ever coaching a game.

ben tillman said...

I used to work with a guy from Louisiana...he claimed that back when Edwards was running against Duke, you'd periodically see black people with "Vote for the Crook, it's Important" bumper stickers.

That slogan was part of a national campaign against Duke. It didn't come from the local Black folk; the bumper sticker was produced by a Jewish stockbroker (Kirby Newberger) from New Orleans.

This leads to another funny Edwards story:

http://theamericanscholar.org/the-rise-and-fall-of-david-duke/#.Uyn0dW9OXIU

Edwin Edwards himself called Newberger and sent over an aide to pick up a dozen bumper stickers. Recalled Newberger: “I asked the aide what the governor intended to do with them. He said put them on his car. And Edwards did. I guess it is sickening to have a governor drive around with a bumper sticker that says vote for the crook. But it’s also funny.”

SFG said...

"But, a political culture conducive to good literature isn't always conducive to good government."

Did you have Russia on your mind?

SFG said...

As for Huey Long, my old left-wing history teacher (who was pretty good aside from his politics) told me he admired the guy, and said he made the right people uncomfortable.

It's too bad the Left embraced World War T and G. I get the feeling you would have gotten along with a lot of these old union guys pretty well.

Ole Olefson said...

There is a certain pride that Louisianans take in political corruption. Back in the late 70s a major oil company used some disposable plastic cups in their gas station/convenience stores (with the corporate logo!).

The cups were wrapped with a cartoon/comic strip of five or six frames that told the "Legend of the Wally-gator" [IIRC]. In one frame they mentioned the myth that he had been born a "crooked Louisiana politician".

Coming form Wisconsin and its squeaky clean politics, I was amazed.

First, that a major oil company could joke about corrupt politicians in ANY state, and second that they knew their Louisiana customers would get a good chuckle reading it.

Anonymous said...

Was the "Silver Fox" the factor which involved the FBI making public/investigating the contributors to David Dukes Gubernatorial campaign? And those who voted for Duke? Certainly one of Democracy's lowlights.

Fun said...

Curry is said to have been invented to mask the taste of rotten meat. Perhaps honest societies would not stoop so low which is why they have honest governments?

-

Common spices grow like weeds in SE Asia and other equatorial regions. Northern Europe has very few native spices. If Europeans could historically afford to dump tasty, natural antibiotics into their foods on a regular basis, I'm sure they would have done it. Might have been useful during, I don't know, the entire Middle Ages.

Of course now they're making up for lost time by importing caliente cooks by the barrel full.

Anonymous said...

>>SFG said...
"""As for Huey Long, my old left-wing history teacher (who was pretty good aside from his politics) told me he admired the guy, and said he made the right people uncomfortable.""""


AMEN. It is the patronizing, moralistic on the high horse of self-righteousness that historically has been a major component of East Coast Liberal leftism that is frankly, a bit naive to reality as well as delusional; to wit: This idea that the ONLY and PURE form of government has never ever ever even soiled or sullied its lilly white hands with annnny form of corruption of any kind.

Please. What color is the sky in your world?

Long was so well revered that as Steve pointed out his younger brother Earl became Senator as well as Longs song Russell, who was a fairly conservative Democrat in the 80s, a Reagan Democrat as they used to say.




"""It's too bad the Left embraced World War T and G."""


But see, THAT is exactly the type of cause that those who believe that no form of corruption can exist in government would naturally gravitate and flock to. The CAUSE per se,.....is so pure, noble, and uplifting therefore it should be embraced on the face of it. Who can be against such a pure and noble cause as marriage for all? Who would dare to stand against such a thing? Along with its subset, WWT, why would ANYONE, except perhaps corrupted individuals, ever ever want to go against a persecuted minority who only want the freedom to literally reinvent themselves? Why is that such a bad thing to be against? And of course, obviously all those vs G and T MUST be a semi-fascist in the making. Obviously, obviously. The cause in and of itself must be pure. From that the right people of moral calibre should flock to and support it wholeheartedly.

Anonymous said...

I was 13 when that Edwards/Duke race was being run, and I had just started to develop an interest in politics, though I was living in a northeast state. I was fascinated with it. Unfortunately, not many (actually, not any) races can be as interesting as that one.

I was rooting for Duke, mainly to see people pissed off.

Anonymous said...

I believe Earl Long was the one who made the joke about the dead girl or the live boy.

When I lived in NOLA, we called Edwards "Fast Eddie".

Truth said...


Four terms? Well, white people: The next time you ask youself "how could those N-s relect Marion Berry after what he did?!"

Wonder no more

SFG said...

" It is the patronizing, moralistic on the high horse of self-righteousness that historically has been a major component of East Coast Liberal leftism that is frankly, a bit naive to reality as well as delusional; to wit: This idea that the ONLY and PURE form of government has never ever ever even soiled or sullied its lilly white hands with annnny form of corruption of any kind"

Pretty much--Moldbug misses a lot of stuff, sometimes intentionally, sometimes not, but I think he's at least partially right about the Puritan origins of much progressivism. (What my odious relatives did with it is another story.)

mollybrazen said...

"Louisianans like their politicians entertaining. ... But, a political culture conducive to good literature isn't always conducive to good government."

Whew, thank goodness our elected leaders in Washington DC are not entertaining at all but rather humorless, politically correct ideologues so we can enjoy the fruits of good governme--oh, wait! Nooooooooo!