Bitter Vitter and PBJ in 2010. Photograph via Getty Images.
I didn’t plan to write so extensively about the 2015 Gret Stet Goober race. I didn’t expect it to be so bloody interesting. Louisiana became more like other Southern states in the post-K/PBJ era, which was a pity for me as both a Democrat and a pundit. This year’s Goober race has changed that: the weirdo factor is back. Big time. If gobsmackery isn’t a word, it oughta be. It certainly fits the mood here with 3 more shopping days until our political Christmas. I’m hoping it won’t morph into Thanksgiving and produce a turkey: a narrow win by Diaper Dave.
I’m going to break this down Saturday Odds & Sods style. It may reflect some wishful thinking, I wish the election were today:
The PBJ Factor: Let’s begin with the seemingly unrelated story of Bobby Jindal’s exit stage far right from the GOP nomination scrum. I was a bit surprised; not because I thought he had a chance but because I assumed Team Jindal was as delusional as always. I expected PBJ to stay in the race until after the Iowa caucus and bible camp. There were times where he appeared to be gaining some traction among the crazed biblethumpers who do the wintery caucus thing in the Corncob state. In the end, the lane he hoped to occupy among homophobes and 1950’s nostalgists was occupied by Dr. Sleepy and Tailgunner Ted. PBJ tried staying alive by saying outrageous shit but nobody does that better than the Insult Comedian. Buh bye, Bobby.
PBJ’s exit is less interesting than its timing. It came 4 days before the Goober runoff and became the top Gret Stet political story thereby overshadowing Bitter Vitter’s attempt to save his ass by running against Syrian refugees.
Here’s the back story: PBJ and Diaper Dave loathe one another. Vitter held his infamous serious sin/hooker press conference on the same day in 2007 that PBJ announced his second, and ultimately successful, Goober campaign. Guess which story got all the headlines? Jindal then declined to support Vitter’s successful attempt to hold on to his Senate seat or his re-election bid in 2010. Now that’s bad blood.
I’m not the only one who thinks that PBJ’s suspension (I’d give him permanent detention instead) was timed to fuck with Vitter’s Goober campaign. The Louisiana Lizard King aka James Carville thinks so too:
“It smothers the news cycle,” said Carville, who has hosted two fundraisers for Edwards. The timing “will help John Bel. When you’re behind, you need to win the news cycle. If you’re Vitter, the last thing you want is to see Bobby Jindal in the news.”
“I wonder if he didn’t do it now to mess with Vitter,” Carville said.
Even if that wasn’t PBJ’s intention, it has the effect of freezing the news cycle and reminding everyone that the widely despised PBJ is still Governor. It hasn’t been easy to tell since he’s been the Dauphin of Iowa for the last 6 months.
I think it’s payback pure and simple. It fits the hoary Sicilian aphorism: “Revenge is a dish best served cold.”
Vitter’s Refugee Hypocrisy: Vitter has spent most of the campaign running against President Obama. That hasn’t stopped. He’s now attempting to use ISIL and Syrian refugees as wedge issues. I realize it makes no sense to run against both ISIL and the refugees, but logic has nothing to do with it. It’s a raw appeal to emotion, hatred, and xenophobia. It’s what Diaper Dave does.
I’ve been on pins and needles that it might work, which is one reason I’m giving John Bel Edwards a mulligan on his support for Jindal’s “ban” on Syrian refugees. I put air quotes around the word ban because the Governor has no authority whatsoever to bar immigrants from entering the state. It’s a purely symbolic issue and I don’t want Edwards to die defending that hill in the last week of the campaign. I hope he’ll reconsider when the dust settles and he’s elected Governor.
Essentially, I am an anti-Vitter voter. The only people who think JBE is a liberal are teanuts or on Vitter’s payroll. I believe the top priority is to defeat Diaper Dave and end his political career. He’ll still be a Senator but he’ll be a de facto lame duck if he loses Saturday. That will make him a decoy duck for challengers next fall. The decoy image has me reconsidering my home decor:
It’s time to circle back to Vitter’s rank hypocrisy on the refugee issue. He flew to Washington to preen and posture about it on the Senate floor yesterday. But his frenetic activity has obscured an important fact, Vitter’s wife, Wendy, is Chief Counsel for Catholic Charities in New Orleans. That’s right, the group that has helped to resettle 14 Syrian refugees in Louisiana.
For more on Vitter’s egregious refugee hypocrisy, read Bob Mann’s piece for Salon, David Vitter’s desperate last stand: He throws his wife under the bus-again. For once, the feverish Salonatic headline is accurate.
The Shy Vitter Voter Factor: In addition to my concerns that Vitter’s racist and xenophobic slurs might work, I’m convinced that Vitter is underpolling. Most recent surveys have him 15+ points behind Edwards. I’m convinced that there are a substantial number of Vitter voters who are too embarrassed to admit that they’re voting for the sleazy Senator. I’m not the only one. Gret Stet Democratic campaign consultant Andrew Tuozzolo is also concerned:
The mention of the Bradley effect sent shivers down my spine. It’s a reference to the 1982 California Goober race where longtime Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley led in all the polls and wound up losing on election day. Bradley was moderate and very experienced. His only “liability” in the eyes of many voters was that he was African-American. That’s why people lied to the pollsters, they didn’t want to admit to bigotry at the ballot box. Hmm, Bigotry at the Ballot Box sounds like a pulp fiction paperback waiting to be written…
In the UK, this is called the shy Tory factor. It came into play at this year’s general election when the Tories surprised even David Cameron by winning a majority. I wonder if the Posh Boy scheduled a date with a pig to celebrate? What is it with politicians named David anyway? At least Cameron isn’t a po-faced, psalm singing son of a bitch like David Vitter.
Here in the Gret Stet of Louisiana, David Duke underpolled in both the 1990 Senate and 1991 Goober races. That’s why I’m as nervous as that proverbial long tailed cat in a roomful of rocking chairs. Holy shit, another corpone image. First purt near and now this. What’s next? Reveenooer references or a guest shot on Duck Dynasty? I don’t think I have to worry about the latter after this or this.
I was so disconcerted by the possibility of a shy Vitter voter factor that I texted Deep Blog last night during my krewe meeting. He/she/it was reassuring about the state of the Goober race in between ranting about Diaper Dave. Here’s a transcript of our non-Socratic dialogue:
Adrastos: Getting nervous about the refugee thing. Vitter is acting more like his old self. The fucker.
Deep Blog: Yep. Vitter is ISIS’ best friend in Louisiana because he’s spreading fear and panic, which is exactly what terrorists want. Vitter and ISIS: a match made in hell.
Adrastos: Do you think it will work?
Deep Blog: Not sure. Latest 2 tracking polls have JBE up by 15. Still, we’re talking about David Viitter, the Grigori Rasputin of Louisiana. No matter how many poisons and bullets you put in him, he refuses to die…
The only difference between Diaper Dave and Rasputin is that Vitter would probably remove a dirty diaper whereas Rasputin would revel in the filth of it all. That’s the difference between a rogue and a hypocrite. I’ll take a rogue any day even if they’re stinky…
Now that I’ve grossed you out, I’ll end this seemingly interminable post by asking my fellow Louisianians to vote on Saturday. If you’re a Lefty, vote for the Blue Dog, it’s important. It’s time to throw Diaper Dave on the ash heap of history alongside PBJ.