Monday, April 23, 2007

Lions tremble when the mouse roars

Does anyone find it the slightest bit unusual that in a state where, among registered voters, Democrats outnumber Republicans and other registrants by a substantial margin yet it’s the Republicans who have Democrats on the run?
We won’t bore you beyond tears with the numerology, but stats as of April show Louisiana with more than 1.5 million registered Democrats, 691,000 and some Republicans and 612,000-plus registered as “other.” Yes, Virginia, Democrats outnumber Repubs more than two to one and maintain a fairly healthy margin over the combined totals of all those registered.
And still, it’s Republicans who have put the Democrats on the run with a mixture of attack ads, attackier web sites and editorials plus a mixture of news stories which show the state’s majority party in — what one might kindly call — the state of confusion. It would not be inaccurate to say Republicans are feeling their oats and are flexing muscle which ordinarily might be shown by a party healthily in the majority.
This steroidian push derailed the infant campaign of the Democrats’ “formidable candidate” John Breaux, considered by many in the party as the premier roadblock to Bobby Jindal’s steamroller to Baton Rouge. With a series of ads targeting “Lobbyist” and “Maryland resident” John Breaux, complete with satirical songs and videos, Republicans put the bite on the leading Dem contender even before his campaign could choose an appropriate bumper sticker. The heat was turned up on Attorney General Charles Foti, resulting in a non-opinion on Breaux’s eligibility and a Breaux withdrawal from contention.
Looking down the gun barrel, Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu shifted dramatically from a “will if Breaux doesn’t” candidate to a “finish what I started four years ago” candidate for reelection. Of course there are potential Dem candidates Chris “I’m Considering It” John (who has suddenly found himself carrying the dreaded lobbyist tag in some news stories) and Richard “Looking At It” Ieyoub, but both men seem to be as much seeking a reasonable way out as they are looking out for a sudden barrage from Republicans who are poised to go for the jugular.
And, the remaining statewide Democrat with name appeal — state Treasurer John “Waiting for Mary” Kennedy — removed any speculation early on when he announced his bid for reelection in ‘07.
And, while Republicans are gnawing on the Democrat rump roast, a couple of their own are finding a place on the mutilate menu. Democrat-turned-Republican-about to turn Democrat Walter Boasso received a pretty good smackdown when his candidacy was ignored when the state Republican Party decided to break with a tradition which reserved endorsement when more than one candidate was in the field and hand the “favored by” tag to Jindal.
Then, in response to a Verne Kennedy poll commissioned by potential Republican candidate John Georges, party leadership led the charge to discount both the pollster and the potential candidate. In a statement, Republican Party of Louisiana chairman Roger Villere noted, “I have to seriously question any poll that shows Bobby Jindal losing ground, specifically when the results were commissioned and paid for by one of his opponents.”
More pointedly, on a Republican leaning web site, Georges was painted as a “New Orleans millionaire insider” who had pulled “another business-as-usual, sleazy political trick on the people of Louisiana.” Further commenting on the Georges poll, the site believes, “The status quo in our state capitol appears to be in panic mode about the prospect of having new leadership.”
If Republicans are so anxious to devour their own, Democrats should be more than a little prepared to take intense heat (translated: dirt and mud under the guise of “exposing” one’s record).
Then there’s poor Foster Campbell. For some reason, Campbell — the only announced Democrat with a modicum of name recognition — has received less than a cordial welcome into the race from his party leadership. Even with the withdrawal of Breaux, and the apparent foot-dragging of John and Ieyoub, Campbell gets little applause from his party. In a news conference, head of the state Democrats — Chris Whittington — called Campbell “the only strong announced candidate.”
At some point, Democrats statewide are going to have to accept the fact that Campbell is in the race and is running to win. A little help would, most likely, be appreciated. That little help, however, would take more than a handful of old fashioned guts, and that seems to be one thing lacking among Democrats in leadership right not.
Someone, at least, thinks Campbell may be the leading Democrat in the race and the same old, tiresome, “typical Democrat” labels are already being attached to the Public Service Commission member.
In an article in The Times Picayune, Campbell was described by the writer as “left leaning.” Later in the same news story, Southern Media pollster Bernie Pinsonat said of Campbell, “he's the worst guy they could send out there against Jindal," because of what he said is Campbell’s image as a “tax-and-spend Democrat.”
There you have it. Campbell leans to the left and never met a tax he didn’t like. Seems someone needs to recheck the records of his time in the state Senate. Campbell made more noise on behalf of the average Louisiana resident than Republicans care to remember.
Another label which Campbell cannot shake is “populist.” He is, in some circles, referred to as a “Huey Long-type” lawmaker, a label that is sure to scare the heck outta any potential voter. Maybe...maybe not. Campbell just may be thinking that a populist has a chance with Louisiana voters who believe too many of their candidates give only lip service to the average citizen and hip service to those who finance campaigns.
One thing Campbell hasn’t forgotten...Democrats still outnumber all other registrants, and a key piece of that Democrat advantage are black voters. Black Democrats number 838,000, and that means Republicans would have to turn out around 70 percent of their registrants (and all would have to pull the R lever) to offset roughly 55 percent turnout by blacks who would, most likely, go overwhelmingly to the Democrat. Can’t happen? That’s what they said in Shreveport.
Jindal continues to lead by a huge margin in the polls. Consider, however, that state legislators go into session in one week. How the Rs and Ds get along in Baton Rouge could shape future numbers. The mouse may have chased the cat into a hole in April, but it’s still a long time ‘til October.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very well said. Add to this the fact that there is a general wave of Republican energy sweeping across the state, it's looking better and better for the Repubs. I understand Royal Alexander, who just announced for Attorney General, is an intensely focused candidate with an A-grade pedigree. He is a seriously attractive candidate, very sharp. Despite his negatives, not doubt many of them politics-induced, he looks formidable.

6:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't believe the hype,their is a tiny faction in the Louisiana republican party is trying to tell the voters that water is wine. Look how well other religious conservatives have fared in this state trying to appoint themselves as the god-kings of Louisiana. (Tony Perkins is still limping from the beating he suffered)

10:13 AM  
Anonymous Harold, Bossier City said...

I know Foster. He is a guy that when you see him on television, or hear him on radio you are not really sure whether you like him or not.

But, when you get to know Foster, you are sure that you don't like him. He is overbearing, rude, and basically just a really unpleasant, unhappy person.

I don't hate Foster, but I sure don't want to spend an afternoon at the Mansion with him.

No one else will either (including businessmen, corporate CEO's, small animals, or little kids).

1:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boasso is a lot more serious candidate than being given credit for, also he's reportedly got enough ca$h to pour millions into the race.

3:24 PM  
Anonymous Susan said...

I've heard about Mr. Alexander. He sounds like a straight shooter.

6:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You need to "Google" Royal Alexander. You will find that he got some bad press for his role in the Congressional page scandal when he was chief of staff for Congressman Rodney Alexander. I assume that will surface in the campaign. He has no legal experience, I am told, in that he has practiced law very little and has worked for politicians most of his adult life.

10:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe Foster is the kind of person we need to deal with the people who have ruined this state. I would certainly go to the mansion and have dinner with him. Apparently, some of you want the same "good old boys" to continue running things. And I put Jindal in that category.

10:48 PM  
Anonymous Karen Remus said...

Actually, that is incorrect. Royal Alexander was an attorney "Of Counsel" for Smith and John Law firm in Shreveport. Also, he was an administrative law judge in Shreveport before he was a chief of staff in DC. Sounds like legal experience to me. What experience did Charles Foti have? Running jails in New Orleans--have you ever googled the Foti Report?

3:16 PM  

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