I had a classic blogger moment on social media this morning. An old friend in California asked me how it was possible that David Vitter lost because she’d heard he was a shoo-in. I told her to read my posts and to ignore the national MSM. They have an eerie tendency to engage in group think: Louisiana is a red state therefore it’s impossible for such a thing to happen. This is classic rotation in office, after 8 years of a GOP Goober making a mess of things, the voters elected a Democrat. So many people are locked into the Red state/Blue state narrative that they forget candidates and records matter. That ends this brief lecture on civics.
Let’s get on with some random and discursive comments via my beloved sub-headers:
The Polls Were Right: Many of my friends were freaking out before the election because they expected the worst of the electorate. I could not blame them. Underneath my calm exterior, the hateful refugee baiting made me feel as if I’d consumed 12 cups of coffee. Jittery and overcaffeinated. I fell back on Andrew Tuozzolo’s poll aggregate, which showed Vitter trailing by 12 points. The pollsters nailed it.
Why were the polls right here and not in the Bevin-Conway Kentucky Goober race? The polls there were fewer in number and conducted more sporadically. Politics in the Gret Stet is a major form of entertainment, which means that more frequent pulse taking is no gret surprise…
The Picayune Factor: Once again, the Vestigial-Picayune got it wrong in a glowing endorsement of Bitter Vitter. Instead of being honest and saying, “he may be an asshole but he’s our asshole,” they went on and on about his effectiveness. They came within an inch of calling him a divider, not a uniter. Some uniter, he lost his home parish.
Speaking of the Zombie-Picayune, my friend Kevin Allman has this to say about that:
Since our next section involves half of what you see in the picture below, we’ll discuss it after the break. Think of it as the blogging equivalent of wrapping it in plain brown paper if you catch my drift. But first Welcome to Sleazy Town courtesy of the Krewe of Spank:
The Hooker Factor: I was adamant earlier in the campaign that this issue was a non-starter. The major post in question had a title that I’m still proud of, The Gret Stet March of Folly: The Pursuit of Vitter’s Diaper. It was written before the Wendy Three Names story broke and I was convinced that it using the hooker scandal would lead the campaign down a blind and dangerous alley:
Vitter was re-elected in a landslide over Democrat Charlie Melancon. The voters simply did not give a shit about his personal life, but here we are 5 years later still going on about the same thing. The voters don’t give a shit about hearing a “complete” explanation of Vitter’s “sin,” and Vitter’s most rabid pursuers are sounding more and more like Cliff Jackson, Kenneth Starr, and all those who thought Bill Clinton’s sex life would bring him down. It has become an obsession with some people and, if I thought it would work, I’d be cheering them on. I’d like to remind them that Bill Clinton not only survived but became more popular after the publication of the Starr Report in all its lurid glory. I’m concerned that the same backlash could happen in the Gret Stet Goober race and that this would benefit Bitter Vitter.
It’s obvious that David Vitter is as lucky in his enemies as Bill Clinton. I’m not even certain at this point that a new hooker popping up would be a factor in the 2015 Goober campaign. At the risk of being repetitive, likability has nothing to do with David Vitter’s electoral success. He’s a prick and makes no bones about it and some people like him for that reason.
I hope I’m wrong about this but, as of today, I think this approach has a snow cone’s chance in hell of working. The Gret Stet March of Folly is likely to waste time and resources and end up alongside the futile pursuit of Vitter’s diaper in the memory dump just like in the movie Inside Out.
Boy, was I wrong about this. The biggest mistake was made in 2010 was not going all-in on Diaper Dave’s serious sin. It was also a Federal election conducted during the apogee of teahadist Obamaphobia. It worked in the 2015 Goober race because the Edwards people and their PAC supporters bet the ranch on the raunch. They deserve all the credit in the world for making this high risk strategy work.
I think it worked because it was tied to people’s feelings about David Vitter’s malakatude and his ideological similarity to the toxically unpopular Governor PBJ. In the end, Vitter was unlucky in his enemies. Moreover, John Bel Edwards was willing to get in Vitter’s face when they were in the same room:
That takes a lot of guts, y’all. Most of us were raised to be polite to people when you’re in their presence. It’s not easy to go against your upbringing like that. Of course, JBE used to jump out of airplanes so calling a lying sack of shit like Diaper Dave a liar isn’t the hardest thing he’s ever done.
Shorter Adrastos, as Graham Parker would surely say at this point, “I thought I was right but I was wrong:”
Yeah, I know GP is an asshole but he’s an occasionally humble asshole unlike Bitter Vitter. Let’s move on.
Candidates Matter: One shouldn’t have to say this, but it’s often an underrated factor in electoral politics. Why do you think a former movie actor with orange hair was able to become California Goober and POTUS? He was a helluva candidate who knew how to connect with people both one-on-one and on teevee. How do you think a small state Governor with a dodgy draft record and a reputation as a hound became POTUS? The same answer. Candidates matter.
John Bel Edwards doesn’t have the charisma of Reagan or Clinton but he ran a brilliant and methodical campaign. He started off 2 years ago and I made fun of his chances. On the surface he comes off as a good-natured country boy, it’s why I used to call him Gomer. This good-natured country boy turned out to have a spine made of steel and the toughness required to take on the Nixonian likes of David Vitter.
At the beginning of Bobby Jindal’s ill-fated run for the Presidency, his right hand boy Timmy Teepell talked about how PBJ’s effort was based on Jimmy Carter’s Iowa First strategy that worked so well in 1976. It didn’t turn out very well as Donald Trump swallowed all the media attention and Ben Carson and Ted Cruz nailed down Corncob state Evangelicals.
A better analogy is John Bel Edwards and Jimmy Carter’s successful 1970 run for Georgia Goober. Like Carter, Edwards is a small town state legislator from a locally prominent family. Both Edwards and Carter attended service academies: JBE West Point, and Carter Annapolis. Like Carter, Edwards shrugged off criticism of big city smart asses like me to become Governor. I don’t think JBE’s ambitions extend beyond the Gret Stet’s borders but having your campaign compared to Carter’s 1970 and 1976 efforts ain’t half bad.
I’ll talk more about David Vitter’s candidacy in tomorrow’s conclusion to this meandering post election triology. I promise not to cut that entry in half like The Hunger Games: Mockingjay.
Repeat after me: Candidates matter.
A Few Links: I carped about the national MSM at the top of the post, so I thought I should give y’all a reading list of some of the better things that have been written about Gooberpalooza 2015. That’s a fancy and long-winded way of saying, here’s instant analysis by some perceptive Gret Stet pundits. Here’s an admission: I know and like three of them in real life and I hope to meet the first some time soon. Get ready for some shameless name dropping:
- Bob Mann On Why Vitter Lost: I’ve mentioned Bob several times before in this space. He wrote an incisive piece for Salon that nailed *why* Vitter lost and the man that wingnuts call St. John Bel won. Btw, the morons at The Hayride persist in calling him a radical leftist. Oy, just oy.
- How’d He Do It: Advocate columnist and Adrastos neighbor Stephanie Grace gives us her take on how Team Edwards pulled off their remarkable victory. Stephanie once introduced me to one of her friends as “the neighborhood blogger.” I’ll take it. There have been much worse things said about me than that.
- An Open Letter To Goober-Elect Edwards: Gambit Weekly and WWL-TV pundit Clancy DuBos offers some sage advice to Mr. Edwards. I must admit to pestering Clancy with a few sardonic texts when he wasn’t on camera last night. My favorite moment of WWL’s coverage came when anchor Karen Swensen asked him to comment on David Vitter’s legacy. Clancy *hates* David Vitter as you can tell from his writing, but on teevee he feels obliged to play it fair even when the subject is Diaper Dave. Clancy pulled it off like the pro he is and found a few semi-nice things to say about Bitter Vitter. He’s much more gracious in victory than I am. Legacy, my ass.
- Election Night At The Montelone Hotel: I considered crashing the Edwards victory party in the French Quarter last night, but didn’t feel like dealing with the crush of happy Democrats. My friend Gambit Editor and frequent Pulp Fiction Thursday commenter Kevin Allman covered it for his paper. Let’s go crowdsurfing with Brother Allman. Btw, the Monteleone was where the Other Goober Edwards liked to have his election night soirees.
That’s enough name dropping for one day. I’ve had a blast writing about the 2015 Gret Stet Goober election. It’s been more fun than that proverbial barrels of monkeys. I’m planning to prolong the pleasure by writing The Political Obituary of David Vitter tomorrow. I’ll give the sleazy little fucker credit, he didn’t go all Tricky Dick last night during his concession speech. I’ll give the man I love to hate the most, the last word from his bitter concession speech after being defeated for California Goober in 1962: