This country’s electorate is routinely described as uninformed and not very bright. It isn’t, however, that voters are disinterested in the forces that shape their lives or that they remain willfully ignorant. They are keenly aware of the impact Washington exerts on their fortunes even if the arcane proceedings of government are, at best, hard to fathom for average Americans. Unfortunately they are often influenced by evaluations that lack a factual basis, enunciated by people whose seeming expertise is largely unproven but who are provided with a media platform upon which to expound their views endlessly.

It is these false prophets whose influence resounds in some circles. At the Republican Southern Leadership Conference the audience was treated to a series of speakers who drove home the same tired low-tax, small-government mantra as if that were something new and exciting. A self-congratulatory Governor Jindal celebrated not only the New Orleans Saints Super Bowl victory but his budgetary restraints and good governance that had lured a new and vibrant population to Louisiana – – no mention of how his budget cuts might affect still-struggling elements of less fortunate New Orleanians or those who remain displaced in the aftermath of Katrina.