Last year, Charles Boustany beat Jeff Landry for a Congressional seat. The two were sitting representatives, but redistricting in Louisiana left us a seat short. Their districts were combined. The redistricting itself was particularly nasty, as Boustany had no qualms about hanging his own Republican allies out to dry:
Rep. John Fleming, R-Minden, on Thursday accused Rep. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, of actively backing a redistricting plan that could hand Fleming’s seat to a Democrat in order to make Boustany’s already safe district even more “perfect.”
Fleming, a two-term congressman, characterized Boustany’s lobbying on behalf of Democratic state Sen. Lydia Jackson’s redistricting plan as an act of double-dealing and betrayal. Earlier in the year, Fleming said that six of the seven members of the delegation, not including freshman Jeff Landry, R-New Iberia, had agreed to a map that included two vertical districts in northern Louisiana: Fleming’s 4th District and Rep. Rodney Alexander’s 5th District.
But then, Fleming said, he “got word toward the end of last week that Congressman Boustany had totally changed his mind on the plan and that he supported a Democratic plan that basically gerrymanders a Democratic district that makes it possible for Lydia Jackson herself to now become a strong Democratic candidate in that district.”
I happen to know and like Fleming a lot, having gotten to speak with and interview him frequently in a previous job. He’s an honest guy and I took him at his word when this came up.
The redistricting ended up combining Boustany’s and Landry’s districts, a bitter battle between the two commenced. Boustany, who was more well-established in his area of the state, won out. Here at RedState, both men had vocal supporters. Comment sections on posts I had and ones that others had up on the Front Page were divided.
Boustany, then said that Louisiana should expand Medicaid.
Rep. Charles Boustany, the chairman of the Ways and Means subcommittee on oversight, told constituents last week that if he had his way, Louisiana would accept the offer under the Affordable Care Act and reform Medicaid into a “21st century program,” according to the The Daily Advertiser in Lafayette.
Speaking and taking questions after a lunch meeting at the Rotary Club of Lafayette North, the congressman (and cardiovascular surgeon) also said Louisiana should build a state-based insurance exchange. He reportedly argued that failing to do so — which would relinquish the task to the federal government — would make it harder for Louisianans to receive tax credits for insurance.
This opinion deviates from just about every other Republican in the state, from the governor on down. Boustany is walking a very thin line after already supporting the Farm Bill. I know even some farmers in this part of the state even oppose it, but he’s not stopping. It’s embarassing to those of us who live here.
Now, his office is claiming he was misrepresented, and The Daily Advertiser is a Gannett paper, so it could very well be… but this is the same man with the shenanigans mentioned above who also attacked Landry over his support of the Fair Tax. I’m sorely tempted to think that he meant what the Advertiser put. He is very much an establishment guy and I hope Louisiana can do better next time.
Join me on Twitter, friends: @joec_esquire