I am in mourning. My very first political hero died this morning. Former Louisiana Gov. Dave Treen died at age 81 of a lung ailment. I was in touch just two days ago and they had no idea it was a lung thing; they thought he had just wrenched his back.
My mom pushed me around in a baby carriage while campaigning for Treen in 1964. My father helped strategize for his first campaign in 1962. My Treen stories are boundless. I will write more, much more, on him later.
For short notice on this blog post, though, let this be noted: When Dave Treen first started running for office in Louisiana as a Republican, there were only around 10,000 registered Republicans IN THE WHOLE STATE. He became the first Repub to win a congressional seat there since Reconstruction, and then the first GOP governor since Reconstruction. His election to governor in 1979 was a key forerunner of the Reagan Revolution. Once he was elected, GOP registration in LA tripled within about 18 months.
His governorship was high-minded but not very politically successful, at least not in the short term. But he did plant the seeds of reform. And he remained a HUGE player on the political scene. And healso played an incredibly important, and brave, role in blocking the ascendancy of neo-Nazi David Duke.
A good man has died today. May the Lord bless him for eternity, and may the Lord comfort his family and friends. David Conner Treen, RIP. A very well-earned peace, at that.