The Age Of Irrationality

I was originally going to write a post-mortem of Saturday’s result and call it Requiem for a Blue Dog, but some exchanges with fellow Gret Stet progressives on Facebook led me to change my focus and write this long ass sentence. I really hope none of you lot diagram that sentence or I’ll be up shit creek without a paddle…

Before I get all cosmic and shit, a few words about Senator Mary Landrieu. I’ve openly expressed my frustration with her but I’m a liberal who wants to get shit done and that’s something she’s good at. In the post-Katrina/Federal Flood era she worked tirelessly (a cliche but appropriate in this case) to make sure Louisiana got our fair share of relief money. She spent a lot of time doing battle with the Republican controlled Congress and White House and wasn’t afraid to get in their proverbial faces. She did it well and it’s one reason I will always have a fondness for her despite her pipeline posturing. I have one friend who is threatening to leave Louisiana in the broad daylight because she thinks we’re fucked if another big storm hits. She may well be right. While I’m not leaving New Orleans, I don’t share my friend Stephanie Grace’s hope that Double Bill Cassidybot will have the Ed Balls to stand up to anyone:

What will be interesting to see is what happens when the state’s interests clash with Republican priorities. Landrieu undeniably delivered for Louisiana, whether that meant carving out a portion of offshore oil royalties and BP fines or landing hurricane aid. Cassidy says he’ll do the same, and hopefully that’s true. But given the GOP’s attitude toward spending, there may be situations where advocating for the state means bucking his own party.

Double Bill is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Koch Brothers and, even worse, David Vitter. Until proven otherwise, he’s a cipher who will do what he’s told. The *real* winner of Saturday’s election was Bitter Vitter:

Louisiana’s soon-to-be senior senator is now the undisputed kingpin of the state GOP, and his microphone-grab at Cassidy headquarters on Election Night drove home that point. Vitter was the architect of Cassidy’s “virtual” campaign against Landrieu. He recruited Cassidy, cleared the field of most other would-be Republican challengers, helped Cassidy raise money and lent one of his top aides to Cassidy as campaign manager. In many ways, Cassidy’s campaign was a trial run for Vitter’s gubernatorial bid next year. It proved (just as Vitter did in his 2010 re-election campaign) that a candidate with lots of money can run for a major statewide office without actually getting out and touching voters in person. That’s good news for a guy who could still be dogged by a sex scandal.

I missed the microphone grab because I was at the top secret Krewe du Vieux Brew Doo, but it shows Vitter’s ability to keep Double Bill in his place. Why shouldn’t he? Cassidy sold his soul to the Louisiana GOP to obtain office to do god only knows what. I have no clue since his campaign boiled down to Landrieu, Obama, 97%, repeat, wash and rinse, and do it again after the break…

The depressingly effective inanity of the Gret Stet GOP’s smear machine was perfected in a race for the Public Service Commission in Steve Scalise’s Congressional district. The PSC regulates utilities and sets their rates. It has absolutely nothing to do with national politics but incumbent Eric Skrmetta ran against, you guessed it, Barack Obama. He won too. Check out this ad featuring past malaka of the week, Steve Scalise:

That’s right, along with Bill Cassidy, this Skrmetta bozo is fighting for US for OUR values to save OUR state. The OUR in question doesn’t include big city liberals like or me, or more significantly, African-Americans. The wingnuts used to be more subtle, but the election of a black President has had the ironic effect of making it easier for them to blow a much bigger dog whistle. One last word on Skrmetta, his last name looks a bit like the Greek word for shit, skattah, and that’s what he and the House Whip are full of. And the voters stepped in it.

It’s time to circle back to my original post idea: my unfashionable views about Blue Dog/Conservative Democrats. I agree with my fellow netroots bloggers that dealing with Conservadems could be deeply aggravating. But the Blue Dogs of the world were *convincible*  and most importantly, rational ,on many issues. You might have to work on them but Bennett Johnston, Russell Long, and John Breaux were capable of doing the right thing on issues such as health care, education, and infrastructure. The interests of their state trumped ideology, which is something they share with Mary Landrieu and not with David Vitter or his pet robot Double Bill.

John Breaux is the main reason for my soft spot for *some* Gret Stet blue dogs. I met Senator Breaux many times over the years and he’s one of the nicest, least phony politicians I’ve ever encountered. He wanted to get shit done and try to lift his state out of poverty. I didn’t always agree with him, but I knew that he had an open mind and the people skills to get shit done. In short, he’s a rational man. There’s that R word again. Now we’re left with people who only know how to say no to the public interest and yes to their masters.

David Vitter will be my senior Senator in January and is the front runner to be the next Governor. Going from PBJ to Diaper Dave is going from the frying pan to the fire. Vitter is a true believer and has been working behind the scenes to elect Republicans, which makes him a very dangerous character indeed. The only way he’ll lose the Governor’s race is if someone runs a scorched earth campaign against him, but they’re still likely to drown in a flood of Kochsucker lucre. That’s why I don’t expect anyone to do so.

There’s another flood coming: a flood of articles urging Democrats to abandon the South. On one level, it’s hard to argue against a refusal to pander to the neo-Confederate teabagger types. On the other hand, I think it’s a mistake to abandon an entire region of the country even one whose white population have been swallowing racist nonsense for eons. The worst thing that happened to Democrats after the 2008 election was the removal of Howard Dean from the DNC and the effective ending of his 50 state strategy. If you don’t work the grass roots and develop local candidates, you wind up with a solid Republican South of which the Gret Stet of Lousiana is finally a full fledged member. That’s every bit as irrational as the Obama demonization that fueled the 2014 election cycle.

One good thing about the election being over is that we don’t have to gaze into Bill Cassidy’s beady eyes and hear him blame all the world’s ills on President Obama. Race, obviously, has nothing to do with it, he said in a voice dripping with sarcasm worthy of Doug  Piranha.

The age of irrationality is here to stay.

3 thoughts on “The Age Of Irrationality

  1. I don’t know jack-shinola about Louisiana state politics, so I’m going to ask what is probably a real dumb question: How do miscreants like Jindal, Vitter, and the rest keep getting elected and re-elected in Louisiana? I should think that their proven track records would mobilize opposition and attract decent candidates to run on the Democratic ticket.

    Are Louisiana Democrats so bereft of candidates that only blue dogs can fill the ballot? Is there a group working to get more and better Democrats developed, or is it something like humidity in the summer: Everyone complains, but there’s nothing that can be done?

    1. @Montag: Her record is much more nuanced and sporadically progressive than you think. But I know I can’t convince you so I won’t try. Politics like life is full of choices and they’re rarely perfect.

      @Gratuitous: Second worst thing to happen to the Louisiana Democratic party was term limits in the lege. There used to be quite a few populists in Acadiana who survived by delivering for their districts. They’re gone now. There are some efforts to organize for legislative races but I’m not optimistic about next year. It’s going to be a long slog.

  2. Sure, Landrieu brought money into Louisiana after Katrina, but did it do any real good? She didn’t stop the export of New Orleans’ black community hither and yon, or stop the rape of its schools, or prevent the general usurpation by privateers of the Ninth Ward, and she damned well hasn’t done anything for the innocent victims of Cancer Alley–if anything, quite the opposite.

    Look, even the most half-assed Repug politician is going to do what’s necessary to get disaster funds. Even Christie gritted his teeth and posed for the cameras with Obama to get Hurricane Sandy funds. Like everyone else in the country, Landrieu witnessed the deportation of the constituency that should have mattered to her, and she didn’t do much about that, and now she doesn’t have those people to vote for her.

    Landrieu was never a Democrat, even though she ran as one, and her last act as a Senator representing Louisiana was a desperation move, to get the Senate to approve something bad for the country, bad for the planet, bad for the people, but good for her real constituency, the oil companies, just to get reelected, even though everyone–right down to the morons who’d never, ever vote for her–knew wasn’t going to get her reelected.

    Giving credit to Landrieu for the things she should have done as a matter of course, things that any fuckwit in the same position would have done, can’t and doesn’t excuse her otherwise bad behavior. Her actual voting record showed her to be the second-most conservative Dem in the Senate. Neither Louisiana, the country nor the Dems need more like her.

    Any doubts about that? Just watch her in the next couple of years. She’s gonna cash in on her Senate time, like so many other corrupt politicians.

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