Commentary

Louisiana’s GOP delegation lacks Choco Taco conviction

July 28, 2022 9:10 am
Steve Scalise and Kevin McCarthy

House Majority Leader-elect Steve Scalise, right, and Speaker-elect Kevin McCarthy will control the House after Republicans won 218 seats in midterm elections, topping 212 for Democrats. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

There’s a lot being made of the untimely demise of the Choco Taco, which its manufacturer announced this week would be discontinued. Its impending absence has motivated its fans to appeal – somehow, some way – to keep it off the ice cream novelty extinction list.

Those supporters include U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut, who made a tongue-in-cheek promise to rescue the Choco Taco through invoking the Defense Production Act, the same law that prioritizes critical manufacturing during wartime and most recently in response to pandemic shortages. 

Although Murphy’s tweet was in jest, it still stands as evidence of his passion to stand behind a cause he passionately endorses. 

The same cannot be said for Louisiana’s Republican congressional delegation, whether it’s something they personally support or oppose. Even if you disagreed with an individual stance, you could respect any logical, reasonable arguments they made to support it.

But you seldom get more than the same talking points you would hear from far right media pundits from our state’s GOP contingency. They’re little more than performers beholden to puppet masters and an ideology that is no longer, if it ever was, representative of the will of the majority – not even among their own party members. 

Case in point: Last week’s vote on a bill to protect same-sex and interracial marriages in federal law. Democratic leaders in the U.S. House acted to approve the bill following U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ declaration that the reversal of Roe v. Wade could lay the groundwork for overturning the decision to allow same-sex marriages.

Louisiana Republican Reps. Garret Graves, Clay Higgins, Mike Johnson and Julia Letlow followed the lead of Minority Whip Steve Scalise and voted against the bill. Yet none of them have ever offered public explanations for their votes.  

All five have made it abundantly clear they support the Roe reversal, so it’s not as though they don’t have a voice. It’s just that they’re conspicuously silent on the matter of same-sex marriage.  

It’s not certain yet when the bill will come up for a vote in the Senate. Yet like the House, there are Republican members in the upper chamber who are throwing their support behind it. That falls in line with recent polls that show 71% support among Americans for same-sex marriage, including 55% of Republicans as of last year. 

We don’t know where Louisiana’s senators land on the issue. Bill Cassidy referred to the proposal as a “silly messaging bill” without saying how he would vote. John Neely Kennedy has ducked questions about it, but he has questioned whether Supreme Court justices should be allowed to “make policy” when deciding on cases where rights are not specifically enumerated in the Constitution. 

Again, it’s more party-driven posturing from our senators than actual reasons why they support or oppose same-sex marriage.

Maybe Republican members of the Louisiana delegation need something they really care about to take a more public stance. At least Higgins has made it known, despite mounting evidence of complicit behavior during the Jan. 6 insurrection, that he remains a devout supporter of former President Donald Trump.

Other than Cassidy, no other GOP members of Congress from Louisiana have made an effort to distance themselves from Trump. Perhaps they need a cause that’s closer to home and far less controversial. I’m here to help.   

This week marks 10 years that grocery checkout lines and convenience store counters in the region have gone without Hubig’s Pies. It’s a handheld treat that enjoys institutional status among its longtime consumers. 

Fire destroyed its New Orleans bakery July 27, 2012, and a combination of family and business conflicts have delayed its revival. Yet there’s a glimmer of hope as its owner promises a comeback is imminent.

If we can’t get more of a commitment from our GOP delegation when it comes to a stance on same-sex marriage, maybe they can throw their political weight behind the expedited return of Hubig’s Pies to store shelves near you.

Because if they’re not going to deliver any substance, we might as well get the sweets.    

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Greg LaRose
Greg LaRose

Greg LaRose has covered news for more than 30 years in Louisiana. Before coming to the Louisiana Illuminator, he was the chief investigative reporter for WDSU-TV in New Orleans. He previously led the government and politics team for The Times-Picayune | NOLA.com, and was editor in chief at New Orleans CityBusiness. Greg's other career stops include Tiger Rag, South Baton Rouge Journal, the Covington News Banner, Louisiana Radio Network and multiple radio stations.

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