WRKF’s first annual Founders’ Luncheon featured political strategist James Carville.
“Every white Democrat in south Baton Rouge is here – all 30 of you,” he quipped, to appreciative laughter from the crowd of about 600.
Carville brought his acerbic wit to bear on the governor’s race. A resident of New Orleans who teaches political science at Tulane, he gleefully noted that David Vitter has spent more time going after New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu over the Confederate monuments than attending forums with his fellow gubernatorial candidates.
“Senator Vitter, he’s all upset because he loves the Confederacy generals,” Carville explained. “Well actually, there was one general – Union general – that he’s very fond of: that’s General Joseph Hooker.”
Carville then turned serious.
“That’s fun, but the real issues that we’re talking about in this state are not. These guys running for governor—I’ll never tell you who to vote for, who not to vote for. That’s your business. But what I can tell you is you have to force the issue.”
Carville urged those in attendance to demand the candidates give specifics on how they’ll resolve the many issues Louisiana is facing.
“What we’re faced with here is a fiscal crisis of the first order, a crisis in higher education – not to mention health care, hospitals – not to mention environmental crisis, not to mention the price of oil being where it is,” Carville stated.
“And it’s not enough to just shrug your head. You have to be involved. You have to force the issue.”
Carville noted every candidate has said he will call a special session first thing if elected. But no one is pushing them to say what they’ll do in that session.
“What are you going to call it for? What’s going to be on the agenda? How are you going to fund the state?” he urged the station’s supporters to ask.
He left the capacity crowd with something to ponder.
“Political leadership matters. It matters profoundly,” Carville said. “We’re coming up on a governor’s race. And I gotta tell you that our survival is not a given.”