People in Louisiana like our politics the way we like our crawfish boils: highly seasoned, tasty, and entertaining. This year’s Goober race seemed destined to continue the dullness of the Jindal era political scene. The good news is that things have gotten very interesting this week. The bad news is that, with the exception of deep blue New Orleans, the Gret Stet is getting redder every day but the freak show is back in town.
David Vitter looks somewhat vulnerable but remains the favorite. He has bags and bags of money-$9 million smackeroos-and nearly 100% name recognition. That’s, of course, a mixed bag for him since he’s widely disliked and mistrusted. He’s also by far and away the smartest and most ruthless candidate in the race. It is unclear if his opponents have the stomach for the sort of campaign that could take Vitter out. In short, it takes a prick to beat a prick.
Speaking of Bitter Vitter’s dickishness, there’s a brand spanking new controversy. A newbie teevee reporter claims that he was fired for asking Diaper Dave if he still frequented hookers:
Reporter Derek Myers confronted Vitter about his 2007 admission that he had committed a “very serious sin” in connection with a prostitution ring several years earlier.
A Vitter campaign spokesman and the station’s general manager said nobody from the campaign called the station and threatened to pull the ads.
Tuesday’s confrontation took place in the parking lot of the Secretary of State’s office after Vitter signed the papers to qualify for the governor’s race. Myers, 23, attempted to question Vitter as the senator was walking to a waiting car with his wife, Wendy. Vitter ignored Myers’ questions.
In an interview with The Advocate on Wednesday, Myers said he believed he was fired because the Vitter campaign threatened to pull its campaign commercials from NBC 33/Fox 44 News. He said he reached this conclusion because of a conversation that was overheard in the newsroom Tuesday.
As much as I’d love for this to be true, color me skeptical. This Myers guy has douchebag written all over him. He seems to have nicknamed himself Bulldog. Who the hell is he? The obnoxious character on Frasier? Maybe he thinks he’s UGA, the Georgia mascot. Additionally, Vitter’s strategy is to *ignore* these questions as opposed trying to get some reporter fired for asking them. That only draws more attention to his zipper issues. The Vitter campaign is certainly *capable* of acting like this BUT that’s a stupid move. David Vitter may be a prick but he’s not a moron.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: absent new information an 8 year old hooker scandal is NOT going to defeat David Vitter. The issue has been litigated and he was re-elected in 2010. This is also a state with a track record of electing Governors who hung out with strippers, cruised sorority row looking to get laid, and were business partners with Frank Costello.
Enough with douchey young reporters and hookers, already. My friend Lamar White Jr. wrote a more substantive post yesterday about Vitter’s sneaky way of dog whistling Dixie:
This will make some people uncomfortable, maybe even angry, but it’s impossible to ignore: David Vitter apparently believes that, in order to win, he must appeal, once again, to white racists, and sadly, he may be right.
There is no other way to explain Vitter’s sudden and strange outrage over New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s proposal to remove and relocate four public monuments honoring the Confederacy.
Outside of New Orleans, however, Mayor Landrieu’s proposal is seen as yet another sign of the destructive force of political correctness. This, of course, is code language, but David Vitter likely knows that opposition to the removal of Confederate memorials resonates outside of Orleans Parish, particularly in parts of the state where almost everyone is white and registered to vote. And he also likely knows that if he is going to win, voters need to have something other than his dalliances with prostitutes to remember him by.
It’s classic Vitter: he ran against President Obama in 2010 and seems to be planning to run against Mitch Landrieu this time around. Running against the city of New Orleans is a classic move as well. Many of Earl Long’s funniest lines came at the expense of the man he called Dellasoups, the urbane New Orleans Mayor Chep Morrison whose given name was deLesseps Story Morrison.
Uncle Earl’s political jokes not only made his populist points, they made people love him. David Vitter is not lovable and he knows it. So, his approach is much uglier: reminding people that New Orleans is a black majority city and one of the gayest towns in the Deep South. He’s an expert at using racially neutral language to, as Lamar so aptly puts it, “dog whistle Dixie.” Lamar’s post also embeds the anti-Landrieu, pro-Confederate monuments radio spot that Vitter is running. Radio ads are another good way to fly under the radar. Repeat after me: David Vitter may be an asshole but he’s a smart asshole.
Finally, my old blogger buddy Jeffrey, aka skooks the king of twitter, wrote an excellent post previewing the Goober race in more than 140 characters. He actually posted a few memorable lines from dishwater dull Democrat John Bel (Gomer) Edwards:
Gomer rolls out that “Jindal Lite, Jindal Incarnate, Jindal On Steroids” line everywhere he goes. It must be working at least a little bit. At the JJ dinner he also worked in a shot at David Vitter. “100% of the voters know who Senator Vitter is. I’m not sure he can overcome that.”
Vitter, of course, is PBJ on steroids. Here’s hoping that he doesn’t take out his roid rage on the Gret Stet of Louisiana. Between the Jindal administration, Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Gustav as well as the BP oiltastrophe, we’ve had enough drama to last a lifetime.
I *hope* that the whole “Vitter’s henchmen got me fired” thing pans out. That’s why I’ll give John Fogerty the last word:
Wishful thinking never won an election. Repeat after me: It takes a prick to beat a prick.