There was a ridiculous flap in Gret Stet politics last week. LSU head football coach Ed Orgeron spoke at a fundraiser for incumbent Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards. Our old pal Senator John Neely Kennedy went batshit crazy. We present his tantrum in two parts to capture its full lunacy. First, from an interview with the Zombie-Picayune:
“This is both-teeth-striped-down-to-the-marrow stupid,” Kennedy said in an interview with NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune Friday afternoon. “He should not be endorsing Democrats, Republicans, socialists, communists, Hindus…”
“I don’t want to watch LSU football and have to wonder if the coach is a Democrat or Republican. I’m so angry at this,” U.S. Sen. John Kennedy said during a five-minute diatribe on Baton Rouge radio Friday morning – a day after Orgeron introduced Edwards during a breakfast fundraising event. “It is a horrible mistake to politicize LSU and LSU football. I’m stunned that the candidate would even entertain, much less accept, the endorsement.”
What, no cornpone wisdom? A sound bite without a single Neelyism? The real reason that Neely and other GOPers were so upset is that neither of their challengers, Congressman Ralph Abraham and Red Stick tycoon Eddie Rispone, has caught on with the voters. It increasingly looks as if 2015’s dark horse candidate will be a shoo-in for re-election as Gret Stet Governor even without David Vitter as a foil.
It’s time to circle back to the post title. Anyone shocked to learn that Gret Stet GOPers are hypocrites on the subject of LSU football and politics? I would hope not.
Former Tigers head coach Les Miles and former Governor Bobby Jindal were as thick as thieves. Miles attended PBJ’s re-election victory celebration in 2011 as well as a reception after a fundraiser. The Mad Hatter even plugged PBJ’s doomed run for president. I survived these events with my LSU football fandom intact even though my hatred for PBJ is pure; the disgraced politician, not the sammich.
I *almost* dignified the GOP’s “substantive” objections by detailing them but, since Coach O cleared his appearance with the university, I will not. Instead, I’ll remind everyone that: It’s Okay If You’re A Republican:
I keep waiting for former Gret Stet Goober Bobby Jindal aka PBJ to re-surface as a member of the Trump administration. I believe he’s already grovelled his way out of trouble for calling the Insult Comedian names when PBJ was a presidential candidate. PBJ is an expert brown noser when need be. It’s part of his kiss up, kick down persona.
Thanks to Shannon Watts, PBJ is back in the news after the indictment of Russian agent/NRA fan girl Mariia Butina. FYI, I conferred with a Russian speaker of my acquaintance and was informed that Butina is a 2-i Maria. You’re not seeing double, it’s spelled Mariia. That reminds me of the fine Louisiana name Couvillion. There are two-i and one-i Couvillions. My main man Eddie was a two-i Couvillion. The ayes apparently have it.
Ms. Watts is a pro-gun control/anti-NRA activist with 245K twitter followers. This week she posted a series of pictures of the Russian redhead with well-known wingnuts including the man who sacrificed the Gret Stet’s economy on the altar of his futile national ambitions.
I woke up this morning to see that Michael F had “stolen” my tax heist theme. I decided to retaliate by “stealing” his image. Actually, it was the whole “great minds” thing, and I asked for permission to re-use his image. Unlike the Great Tax Heist of 2017, it was NOT highway robbery in broad daylight. And I am not a robber baron, not even a lesser earl or a discounted viscount. I guess you can tell we’re watching The Crown…
Trump promised a throwback administration and this bill offers a throwback to the pre-New Deal tax code. It’s such a throwback that it makes me want to throw up. Ayn Rand believed that the New Deal enslaved people and her disciples are on the verge of perfecting her vision. Thanks, Speaker Ryan. We all know what happens next: proposed cuts to foreign aid, social programs, medicaid, and medicare. Why? Because they’ll suddenly care about the deficit that they themselves blew up. Welcome to the New Gilded Age.
The most horrifying thing about the Great Tax Heist of 2017 is that it emulates failed policies in Kansas and the Gret Stet of Louisiana. Bloody Kansas has been bleeding red ink since that bloody fool Sam Brownback decided to roll the dice with the lives of Kansans. Bobby Jindal followed the same pattern in the Gret Stet: cut taxes, lose revenue, cut government spending thereby ripping huge holes in the safety net. Thanks, PBJ.
Like their late 19th Century predecessors, the 21st Century GOP only cares about those who are already rich. They don’t care about their ungrateful employees (the middle-class) or the undeserving poor. Welcome to the New Gilded Age.
There is so much else wrong with this bill that it’s hard to know where to begin. My new motto is: when in doubt, bullet point the hell out of it.
The president* has no clue what’s in the bill, all he knows is that he needs a WIN. The lyingest administration in history has claimed that Trump will NOT benefit from the bill. Gimme a break.
It’s a pay-off to the donor class so they will keep funding Republican campaigns. Sheldon Adelson, Robert Mercer, and the Koch brothers are happy plutocrats right now.
The Corker Kickback benefits not only the Senator from Tennessee but 12 of his colleagues *and* Donald Trump. In contrast, the three wealthiest Senators, all Democrats, voted against their own self-interest.
There is no plan to implement the bill. Congressional Republicans hope it will take effect in a few weeks, which is crazy to say the least. Do we really want the IRS acting as hastily as Congress?
Welcome to the New Gilded Age.
It’s an era where corruption is out in the open and celebrated as freedom. It’s really the freedom to be selfish and indifferent to the plight of people in need. I’d like to remind everyone that this bill reflects Congress’ vision *and* that of so-called establishment Republicans, not Trump. The only vision Trump has is of himself in the mirror. A different Republican president would be prepared to sign such a bill. They might, however, know what’s in it unlike the Insult Comedian.
Congressional Democrats and outside groups lost the fight over the bill, but won the messaging battle. I may prefer the term heist to scam but whatever works. This is a politically damaging bill and I cannot wait to see the attack ads with footage of Congressional GOPers celebrating their victory alongside their wildly unpopular president*. They’re all in with Trump and it’s going to cost them dearly in November, 2018. BUT only if we stay vigilant and organize the living shit out of the mid-term election.
The good news is that the Great Tax Heist of 2017 is reversible. The bad news is that it’s going to take years and it will inflict grave damage on the most vulnerable members of society. Congressional Republicans are so drunk on victory right now that they’re ignoring their promise to keep the CHIP program going. If I thought shaming them would work, I’d try it but we all know how shameless they are.
The abuses of the first Gilded Age led to the reforms of the Progressive Era. Of course, at that time there were many Republicans who supported those reforms. In the 21st Century, they’re all in with the plutocrats and those who want to deregulate everything. The sense of noblesse oblige that inspired Teddy Roosevelt and other progressive Republicans is alien to the current GOP. They’ve got theirs and they don’t care about the rest of us. They call it freedom, I call it willful cruelty.
I’m on the record as thinking that Vice Presidential candidates-even the good ones-rarely make a difference. All the conventional considerations: geography, ideology, resume don’t mean a thing. The only reason this year’s GOP veep stakes will be interesting is that it’s going to be hard for the Insult Comedian to find a running mate with the possible exception of Bobby Knight. It would have to be an unemployed soulless hack devoid of pride with support on the hard right of the GOP. Ladies and gentleman, I give you the former Governor of the Gret Stet of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal aka PBJ:
There’s already a swell bumpersticker that’s as vulgar as all get out. I’m sure the Donald and Corey Lewandowskiwould approve:
The Mississippi House on Friday passed a religious freedom bill that would allow businesses and public employees to deny services to people based on the belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman, sending the legislation to Gov. Phil Bryant (R).
The bill, passed by the state Senate earlier this week, also allows businesses to deny services based on the belief that “sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage” and that the belief that gender is determined at birth.
Additionally, the bill would allow religious groups to fire someone whose “conduct or religious beliefs are inconsistent with those of the religious organization,” and let those organizations block adoptions due to religious beliefs.
The legislation allows clerks to refuse to give marriage licenses to same-sex couples, too.
Ben Needham, the director of Project One America, a LGBT advocacy project in the South run by the Human Rights Campaign, told Buzzfeed News that the Mississippi legislation is “probably the worst religious freedom bill to date.”
State Rep. Randy Boyd (R), one of the bill’s sponsors, has said that the legislation was aimed at protecting Christians from discrimination.
“This bill doesn’t stop anyone from getting what they want from the state. I have a problem with the discrimination of Christian belief,” he said, as quoted by CNN. “I don’t uphold discrimination but I believe the Christian belief is more discriminated against than other things. … I’m trying to get a happy medium here where people get their rights and other people aren’t pressured into doing anything they don’t believe in against their religious beliefs.”
Bryant has not indicated whether he will sign the bill, but told a CNN affiliate in Mississippi that the legislation “gives some people—as I appreciate it—the right to be able to say, that’s against my religious beliefs and I don’t need to carry out that particular task.”
I expect Bryant to sign it. There are fewer businesses there with a national profile than in Georgia. Of course, that didn’t stop Pat McCrory up North in Tarheel country.
Former Goober PBJ would sign such a bill but John Bel Edwards will not. He recentlyrescinded an anti-gay order issued by his predecessor. Elections have consequences.
I never thought I’d write about Bobby Jindal again unless he did something newsworthy. In the immortal words of Sean Connery (or someone on Team Bond) I shall never say never again. The reason for this change of something (heart? head?) was a front page story in the Sunday Advocate by Tyler Bridges:
For years, national reporters profiling Bobby Jindal and his political rise inevitably referred to him as a whiz kid — Rhodes scholar at 21, Cabinet secretary at 24, university system president at 28, governor at 36 in 2008.
Not with Louisiana threatened by financial disaster after Jindal inherited a $1 billion budget surplus eight years ago and left Gov. John Bel Edwards with a $3 billion deficit. Not with state legislators — Republicans and Democrats alike — openly deriding him, two months after he stepped down as governor. Not after ending his presidential campaign in November long before any votes were cast. Not after Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, the candidate he then backed, dropped out of the race Tuesday night.
PBJ seemed to have the magic touch until 2011. He was elected as a technocrat and his first term mostly reflected that. Then, he started believing his national press clippings and caught a bad case of Potomac fever. It was all downhill during his second term as he relentlessly pandered to Politico, Grover Norquist, and religious conservatives. He did so without keeping his eye on the homefront and a looming financial crisis caused by the latest oil price bust and PBJ’s taxophobia.
PBJ is not only a has-been, he’s a walking cautionary tale. His obsession with positioning himself to the right of everyone bit him in his skinny ass. He even undid two of his mentor’s, former-Gov. Mike Foster, signature accomplishments as Governor. First, a tax plan aimed at reducing the state’s dependence on sales tax and oil and gas money. Second, giving LSU med school the power to run the state’s public hospital system, which was undone by PBJ’s privatization scheme. Both moves have turned into disasters and the future looks bleak for the state budget and the former public hospital system. The private operator of the hospital in New Orleans keeps threatening to break its contract if target funding levels aren’t met. Who set the targets? The Jindal Administration.
PBJ was so busy pandering his way to a disastrous Presidential candidacy that he took his eye off the ball and saw his popularity at home plummet. He was not the only GOP Goober to run for President with horrendous approval ratings: Chris Christie is as popular in Jersey as the Zika virus. In fact, PBJ’s futile run was *more* arrogant than Christie’s: the latter could argue that Jersey was a blue state and that “sticking to conservative principles” was the cause of his woeful poll ratings. PBJ was in denial because he surrounded himself with yes men who had visions of cushy White House jobs. The lesson that one can learn from this is never believe your own spin. It’s a common mistake among ambitious pols and it’s often their downfall.
Back to PBJ as a cautionary tale. If you’re in government at any level, you cannot govern by adhering to a strict ideology be it right or left wing. You have to be flexible and realistic. The patron saint of wingnuttia, Ronald Reagan, was actually a practical Governor of California. He saved his ideology for things that wouldn’t impact the budget or people’s pocketbooks. PBJ went all in with Grover Norquist, and wound up wildly unpopular. It would be hard at this point for PBJ to be elected dog catcher in the most conservative parish of the Gret Stet of Louisiana.
I don’t feel sorry for Bobby Jindal. He made his bed and, not only laid in it, he shat in it as well. I had the same feelings about the Bush misadministration when it left office. They, too, forsook reality in lieu of ideology and wishful thinking. Mercifully, President Obama is a realist and avoided the pitfalls of ideological purity. Here’s hoping that our side of the political spectrum will continue to be limber and practical when in power. Ideological rigidity is a luxury that only protest parties can afford.
You may remember Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand as the guy who David Vitter spied onduring the Gret Stet Goober race. The Sheriff is frustrated with obstructionism by his fellow Gret Stet Gopers over our budget crisis. They actually have the chutzpah to blame newly elected Governor John Bel Edwards for the mess we’re in. Sheriff Normand knows who’s to blame:
What a mess. Bobby Jindal was a better cult leader than Jim Jones. We drank the elixir for eight years. We remained in a conscious state; we walked to the edge of the cliff, and he watched. And guess what? Unlike Jim Jones, he did not swallow the poison. What a shame.
Actually, Jones died from a gunshot wound that was either self-inflicted or performed by one of his lackeys. But the analogy is still apt, and I love the word elixir as well as this other statement by Normand:
We’re facing enough challenges today. We do not need to face the stupidity of our leadership as it relates to how we’re going to balance this budget and talking about these silly issues because we’re worried about what Grover Norquist thinks.
To hell with Grover Norquist! I don’t care about Grover Norquist! We’re worrying about the ATR report card? Give me a break.
Arm or leg, Sheriff? I’m glad that he also said this:
We did this to ourselves, myself included, because I endorsed that idiot [Jindal].
A Republican taking responsibility for a failure? It’s a novel approach and one that only someone who got 88% in his 2015 re-election campaign would take. This is *genuine* candor as opposed to the fake variety being peddled by the Insult Comedian.
It’s been a relatively quiet week in New Orleans. There’s a new gentrification controversy involving changes to an Uptown green space known as the Fly. I’m for the status quo but I’ve decided to keep my fly zipped on this issue. I hereby apologize to everyone for that joke.
Meanwhile in Baton Rouge, the budgetary sky is falling. 8 years of Jindalnomics have left the state in such dire straits that not even Mark Knopfler could fix things. Once again, I need to apologize for that joke, which means I have to take the walk of life in atonement:
The new Governor gave a sort of chicken little speech about the state’s financial woes, which doesn’t seem to have moved many votes in the lege thus far. John Bel Edwards did, however, imply that if there were more budget cuts to higher education, the LSU Tigers might not play football next fall. Now that’s a serious threat here in the Gret Stet of Louisiana: No Leonard Fucking Fournette? Only time will tell if that helps, but the lege is loath to raise taxes on our 1%, which consists mostly of oil tycoons and people named Benson who own sports franchises. I have no idea what’s going to happen but it won’t be pretty. Neither was PBJ now that I think of it…
In 1965, months before his death, he rode through Hurricane Betsy on his beloved Horn Island, tethering his little skiff to his waist, climbing at night to the highest dune, wanting to feel the storm first hand. The water rose to his chest.
“Never has there been a more respectable hurricane,” he wrote, “provided with all the portents, predictions, omens, etc. The awful sunrise — no one could fail to take a warning from it — the hovering black spirit bird, the man of war, just one, comme il faut.”
Warren Zevon also lived life on the edge, but even the most extreme story told about him isn’t as wild as the tale of Walter Anderson and Hurricane Betsy. We grow our eccentrics larger than life here in New Orleans, y’all.
Splendid Isolation is one of my favorite WZ tunes; so much so that I’m posting three radically different versions. We begin with the piano driven studio version from the Tranverse City album:
Next up is a version with David Sanborn and the house band from the, uh, splendid but short-lived teevee show Night Music:
Finally, a live acoustic romp featuring Zevon’s fellow rock eccentric Neil Young:
Instead of putting tin foil on the windows like the character in the song, we’ll pull up our socks and muddle through after the break.
The man who severely damaged the Gret Stet of Louisiana’s health care and education systems is taking a farewell/victory tour/lap around the state. It’s not off to a good start:
With less than a month left in office, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is on a tour to try to define his legacy.
“There are moments where you are humbled that this job is bigger than you,” he said during the Press Club of Baton Rouge’s weekly luncheon on Monday. “You represent something to people.”
This kind of Jindal appearance — once a rare occasion — has typically drawn large crowds of people eager to hear from an administration that has often been guarded toward the media.
But on Monday, many of the seats in the Belle of Baton Rouge meeting hall were empty, including the extras brought in to accommodate a larger-than-normal crowd.
Nice fake humility, Goober PBJ; nothing is bigger than your ego.
Jindal entered office as a technocratic Mr. Fixit, but ends his second term as an ideological Mr. Wreckit. It’s what happens when you give power to someone who’s uncomfortable in their own skin, which could be why his campaign staff did this:
That Jindal T-shirt is an image only veteran Nixonian ratfucker and former Trump adviser Roger Stone could love.
Jindal’s second term as Gret Stet Goober proves that there *is* one kind of PBJ that nobody likes.
John Bel Edwards gives David Vitter the stink eye. Photograph via the Advocate.
The Gret Stet Goober race has been a helluva ride. I’ll take it over a fucking roller coaster any day. I’ve never understood the appeal of going really fast then puking at the end. Now that I think of it, that described the condition of many Louisiana Democrats yesterday. There was a whiff of panic in the air because of Vitter’s decision to run against the non-existent Syrian refugee menace. I was downright jittery myself after losing so many Gret Stetwide elections in recent years even though there was a strong reply ad from GumboPac.
When you have a bad case of political jitters, who you gonna call? Not Ghostbusters, but Deep Blog. I considered sending out smoke signals but that might upset Oscar and Della. Instead, I reached into my bag of Watergate analogies. You may recall that Woodward signaled Deep Throat with a potted plant on his balcony. I signal Deep Blog by mentioning his name on the Tweeter Tube. Then, as if by magic, I got a text with a link:
Actually, the link was to the movie version of Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead, but the Ella Fitzgerald/Billy May version swings more. If we’re going to celebrate, why not do it big?
It turns out that Deep Blog, who has been expecting a Vitter surge, was the soul of optimism about the Goober race. Why? He’d seen a reliable private tracking poll showing Edwards with a 10 point lead. Additionally, that pollster believes that early voting for JBE was so strong that he may have this in the bag. I’m not as optimistic as that: I think 55-45 is the best it’s likely to get, if our voters turn out in waves tomorrow. I’ll have my more restrained call later in the post, but it looks as if I might be writing Bitter Vitter’s political obituary this weekend. I’ll take a narrower split as long as Vitter loses. But a complete defenestration of Diaper Dave would be more fun than pillaging Aqaba with Lawrence of Arabia.
One reason for my concern has been the deluge of political adswe’ve been subjected to in the New Orleans market. The pro-Vitter ones are increasingly ugly and packed with lies about Syrian refugees flooding the state. 14 ain’t much of a flood. Here’s a teevee ad from a PAC tying Diaper Dave to Gov PBJ:
As my regular readers know, I hate relying on polls as the basis of my analysis. But we seem to have gotten to the point where the die has been cast; as you can see from this tweet by Andrew Tuozzolo:
Andrew is a political professional as well as a self-described “armchair poll QB.” He’s been crunching the numbers throughout the campaign and I respect his analysis. Here’s my reading of the situation: Vittter is gaining but a week of xenophobic “terrorist” baiting is not enough to change the dynamics of this campaign. The voters have Jindal fatigue and seem sick and tired of being sick and tired of Diaper Dave’s baggage as well. I have an admission to make at this point: I thought the hooker issue would not work and would backfire to Diaper Dave’s benefit. I was wrong and Lamar was right.There, I said it.
Speaking of Andrew the T, he’s conducting a Goober election results pool. I received an honorable mention in the primary pool. We’re asked to pick vote totals for the candidates as well as a turnout guesstimate. The prize is bragging rights and y’all know what a braggart I am: TOP OF THE WORLD, MA. BOOM. Here’s my entry, Edwards 52 Vitter 48. Turnout 43%. Here’s hoping I’m right. If Diaper Dave wins he’ll be pissed and we’ll be in a world of hurt. He’ll fling dirty diapers at us like an adolescent zoo chimp. Splat.
Finally, the post title. I realize I’m posting this while the sun is still out but The Night Before is one of my favorite mid-period Beatle songs. The title has NOTHING to do with the brand new bro-comedy of the same name. I have standards and while they’re low ones, I’m not big on slapsticky bro-fests featuring dudes in ugly holiday sweaters. I would never invite those bozos to a Gooberpalooza shebang: they’d get drunk and burn the joint down. And now without further ado, the Fab Four get the last word:
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 nostalgistswas 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.
“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 refugeesin Louisiana.
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 consultantAndrew Tuozzolo is also concerned:
Sense is Vitter much closer than polls in #LaGov – prob 7-9pts, not 14-16pt. Why? Some ideas:
Vitter Voter shame (i.e. anti-Bradley effect)
The mention of the Bradley effectsent 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 nearand 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.
It just occurred to me that goober runoff sounds like something that happens when a white trashy neighbor leaves a box of stryrofoam peanuts (as opposed to Jimmy Webb’s cake) out in the rain. It’s happened to me, actually, I’d rather not go there. I’d prefer to talk about the doings in the Louisiana Governor’s race since I last wrote about it.
That concludes this episode of Bad Analogy Theatre.
As longtime readers know, I’m an agnostic when it comes to citing polling data but things are looking pretty good for Mr. Edwards on that front as well. He has double digit leads in the last three Gret Stetwide polls even when African-American turnout is calibrated as low as 20%. Vitter’s attempt to run a racist OBAMA, OBAMA, OBAMA campaign appears not to be working so far. If anything, black voters now know who they should consider voting for because of Vitter’s Obamacentric teevee ads. Hint: it’s not the Senior Senator from Louisiana.
Stench and Stain sounds like a sleazy law firm dedicated to ambulance chasing or defending crooked politicians. I wonder if they have a diaper service…
That brings me to today’s political news: Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne crossed party lines and endorsed John Bel Edwards this morning on the LSU Campus. Dardenne finished fourth with 15% of the vote but has won 3 statewide races. This is a big fucking deal: it shows that our politics are getting back to abnormally normal and that the fervid Obama fever spell may be breaking at long last.
Falcon was her name and she was quite the bird of prey, sashaying past her adolescent admirers from one anchor store to another, past the kiosks where earrings longed to lie upon her lobes and sunglasses hoped to nestle on her nose, seemingly the beginning of a beautiful friendship with whomsoever caught the eye of the mall tease, Falcon.
There is no such thing as a vile pun in my estimation. I’m just glad that Dardenne has a sense of humor and the ability to Hammett up after 8 long years of the humor impaired reign of Gov. PBJ.
I mentioned the whole Rowan Atkinson thing, here’s a still from Johnny English:
I don’t have a picture of Dardenne in an action pose so this picture from this morning’s presser at LSU’s Free Speech Alley will have to do:
Photograph by Mark Armstrong.
The runoff campaign has been full of pleasant surprises. Would an Edwards victory have any national implications? Hell no. It’s about PBJ’s reign of error and David Vitter’s malakatude and ickiness. Many national commentators on both the Right and Left are trying to find national significance in teanut Matt Bevin’s upset win in the Kentucky Goober election. (I wonder if their goobers are soaked in Bourbon?) I think they’re all full of shit: it’s a state, not a federal election. Kentucky had a Democratic Governor for the last 8 years and the voters are reacting to that.
Vitter and PBJ hate one another but their politics are identical. They’re goobers in a very wingnutty pod and at least one of them will be out of our political hair next January. Vitter will retain his Senate seat until 2016 and there are already rumors that 3rd place finisher Scott Blue Angellewill rise from the ashes and run for that seat regardless of whether Vitter runs for re-election. More likely than not, that means that Angelle will stay out of the Goober runoff and endorse neither Vitter nor Edwards. It would, however, be much funnier if he endorsed Vitter and had to explain why Diaper Dave’s stench wasn’t rubbing off on him. Scott should just sit this one out and eat Angelle hair pasta and Angelle food cake…
I have gone from cautiously optimistic to fairly confident about the November 21st runoff. If Edwards has a halfway decent GOTV effort, he seems poised to win. My sole worry is that Vitter will cook up a Swift Boat style attack on Edwards’ military record. Otherwise, Vitter’s goose is cooked. It couldn’t happen to a “nicer” guy. Who among us doesn’t enjoy watching a professional asshole finally get their comeuppance?
I’ll give John Hiatt the last word since all the punning on Scott Angelle’s name has given me a raging earworm:
That’s right, somebody just stopped calling you Angelle…
I’ll be away from the computer a lot at the beginning of the week, so posting from me will be light; unless it isn’t. Every time I say that, something big arises and I’m on here bloviating away. We live in eventful times, after all.
I’m working at Jackson Square today so if I were religious, I’d light a candle at St. Louis Cathedral in honor of Julian Bond who died yesterday after a long and eventful life at the age of 75. I just saw this tweet he sent last month:
If Disney can remove a statue of Bill Cosby, surely Southern cities and states can do the same for Confederate traitors!
That reminds me that the Confederate monument removal process continues apace in New Orleans despite Governor PBJ’s threats to meddle. Jindal has already made himself look ridiculous by citing a state law that doesn’t exist. He has no legal authority and he should stick to eating fried junk food at the Iowa State Fair. I hear the fried PBJ is deliciously greasy…
I’ve been watching a lot of junk teevee in the last week hoping to delve deeper into the psyche of the man who wants to be the first insult comedian elected President. That’s right, I’ve been the watching the Celebrity Apprentice on YouTube. I haven’t discovered any hidden depths but I have learned that Trump is a bigger egomaniac than either Gene Fucking Simmons or Piers Fucking Morgan and that ain’t easy. The Donald does have a better delivery that either: his patter reminds me of Borscht Belt comedians with much better hair and some with less elaborate combovers. Trump is the combover king, y’all.
The reason I haven’t discovered any Trumpian hidden depths is that there aren’t any. He’s the shallow money-grubbing blowhard that he seems to be. Berkeley Breathed, however, discovered something important about the Donald’s surname:
Snark? What’s that? I’m unfamiliar with that term. Is that what the Fonz jumped? The snark?
I hate articles about polls. There’s way too much poll worship in the world and when the polls are wrong, as they were in the U.K. general election, people freak out. It’s part and parcel of worshiping a false deity.
Poll worship is wreaking havoc on national politics right now with the candidate trying to be the first insult comedian elected President leading the GOP field. The polls also show a backbench Independent Senator from Vermont doing surprisingly well in the politically quirky Granite State. All you need to know about that is that New Englanders often win that primary *and* that they love insurgents: Pat Buchanan stunned Poppy Bush by getting 37% of the vote in 1992. I guess Bush should have been more honest about being a bona fide Yankee and invited everyone in New Hampshire up to Kennebunkport for a ride in his power boat. They love retail politics in that state, which is one reason the insult comedian will fade there unless he meets every single Republican voter. It’s what they expect.
The point of the previous paragraph is that we’re in the political silly season and it’s too early to put much stock in polling data from any organization or in any state. New Hampshire doesn’t vote until 2/9/16 and anything could happen including the alien invasion that occured in the fine SyFy teevee show, Defiance. That could, in turn, lead to gruff, crooked outsider Datak Tarr winning New Hampshire. I told you it was the silly season…
Meanwhile in the Gret Stet of Louisiana, we’re having an uncharacteristically boring Gubernatorial (hereinafter Goober) campaign. One of Jindal’s many unfortunate legacies is the dulling down of Louisiana politics. It’s not as bad as what he did to health care or education but his two terms have, at least temporarily, drained the life out of our politics. The current race for Governor is thus far lacking in drama, intrigue, and seasoning, to use a food metaphor.
That brings me back full circle to the post title. It shouldn’t be our silly season since election day is Saturday 10/24, but we’re busy debating a recent poll showing the lone Democrat in the race, John Bel Edwards, in first place with 30% of the vote followed by Gopers Bitter Vitter and Public Service Commissioner/former PBJ aide Scott Angelle at tied 21%. That’s right, we’re talking about a fucking poll. Sigh.
It’s a banal and sterile argument because 30-35% is more likely than not the dull Blue Dog State Rep’s ceiling. Additionally, Vitter hasn’t spent much money on the race as of yet and has nearly $10 million in his coffers. That hasn’t stopped Team Vitter from trying to discredit pollster Verne Kennedy. It’s what they do:
… the Kennedy poll showed Vitter losing support among several of his core constituencies since May. (Kennedy polled the Louisiana electorate in May, June and July.) The senator wasted no time trying to shoot the messenger.
Kyle Ruckert, campaign manager for Vitter, sent an email blast accusing Kennedy of “fantasy-land polling.” He cited several alleged instances of Kennedy’s polls being widely off the mark, including Vitter’s 2010 Senate primary against former state Supreme Court Justice Chet Traylor. Vitter won that primary with 88 percent of the GOP vote.
Ruckert’s email claims that Kennedy’s poll in that race had the two men “almost even” with Vitter leading 46-34 percent. (That’s not “almost even” — not even with a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent — but politics is the mother of hyperbole.) “Kennedy’s poll was wrong by more than 40 points,” Ruckert wrote. At the end of his email, he concluded, “it’s silly season, and desperate candidates try desperate things.”
Kennedy, who is not polling for any gubernatorial candidate, says his two polls in Vitter’s 2010 primary election did not come close to the results cited by Ruckert’s email. Kennedy sent me a copy of an email he sent to Ruckert citing the actual results of his surveys. Far from showing Vitter’s primary contest close, Kennedy’s polls showed Vitter ahead by huge margins. In June 2009 (a year before the primary), Kennedy’s poll had Vitter leading Traylor 54-15 percent. In August 2010, Kennedy’s poll showed Vitter with an even bigger lead of 66-14 percent.
Kennedy called the Vitter camp’s response to his latest survey in the governor’s race “foolishness.”
“I asked Kyle Ruckert to share his sources, because I can’t find anything even close to what they’re saying,” Kennedy said. “I don’t expect them to send it to me.”
One would have thought that the Vitterites would blame Obama for their loss in support. It’s what Diaper Dave usually does and the blame Obama approach helped elect his lackey Double Bill Cassidy to the Senate last year. Instead, he’s blaming a respected pollster who often works for business groups. In short, it ain’t no librul conspiracy.
This whole mishigas is *another* reason I hate stories about polls. The only reason the lackluster Edwards is in the lead in Kennedy’s poll is the pollster’s custom of automatically giving any Democrat 90% of the African-American vote. He may be the leader on paper but he’s not the frontrunner: the odds are long against his prevailing in a run-off against ANY Republican.
In case you were wondering, John Bel Edwards is NOT related to former Governor Edwin and has none of Le Guv’s panache and style. He’s also more conservative than the last 2 Democrats to win major statewide office, which is conservative indeed. He’s very much a part of the Gret Stet good ole boys club, his brother is the current Sheriff of Tangiapahoa Parish as was his father before him. The father was, however, a staunch EWE ally. None of the EWE charisma rubbed off on JBE: his nickname among internet smart asses is Gomer. That’s right, Gomer for Goober. I feel another sigh coming on, y’all.
I considered apologizing for discussing polls in a post expressing dislike for articles about polls but decided not to. It would be akin to not discussing Bobby Jindal in an article about Louisiana politics. I might rather not think about how he fucked the Gret Stet over but his shadow looms heavily over the Goober race. In fact, the one good thing I can say about Gomer is that he has been very critical of the PBJ record throughout the latter’s second term. It’s not his fault that fear and loathing of a black President turned a purple state deep red. I seem to have crossed over the Bridge Of Sighs…
I’m reluctant to predict the outcome of the not so great Gret Stet goober race. I’m not sure who the GOPer will be right now but I still think Vitter will rally his base of bigots, bible bangers, and assholes and make the run-off against the hapless Gomer. Whatever happens, the Blue Dog is gonna be left for roadkill in the run-off.
Pedro Martinez & Juan Marichal. Photo by Milo Stewart, Jr/National Baseball Hall Of Fame
You’re probably wondering why I posted the Pedro-Juan picture from yesterday’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony. I decided to throw y’all a curveball and take this feature back to its roots and post one on a non-Saturday. In short, I’m messing with my readers. That’s why I thought I’d post a picture of the best pitcher in San Francisco Giants history with his fellow Dominican Hall of Famer. Of course, both Pedro and Juan had eleventy million pitches that they threw from a variety of angles. The first time I saw Pedro pitch for the dread Dodgers, I called him Juanito. Enough besibol nostagia…
The *other* reason I’m writing an omnibus post of a Monday is that I have a couple of subjects I want to write about in one fell swoop. I really ought to get on with it.
So, I’m not letting this mass shooting in Lafayette go for awhile. Several things stand out to me. First, the killer was a rabid misogynist who went on Talk Radio shows screaming about the Biblical roles of women. It shouldn’t be lost on any one that he chose an Amy Schumer movie which was going to have a larger than normal number of women in attendance and that a solid majority of his victims–including the dead ones—were women.
Since Houser had an anti-semitic streak as wide as David Duke, plus the fact that Ms. Schumer is half-Jewish and related to Senate Democratic Whip Chuck Schumer, that’s apt to be another part of this toxic brew of madness and hatred. Hence the Hunter Thompson inspired sub-header.
It’s easier for a small city police force to slot Houser into the deranged loner category and move on. I hope they don’t and do their best to get to the bottom of this appalling crime. Another reason I’m hoping for some answers is that I have several mutual friends with Jillian Johnson who was one of the two women murdered by Houser. Here’s a clip of her band the Figs performing a spirited version of Psycho Killer:
It’s been a tough week in the Gret Stet of Louisiana. The July heat has metastasized into even more gun violence than usual here in New Orleans, and more spectacularly in Lafayette. The notion of a movie theatre shooting is unnerving for someone like me who has spent vast chunks of my life in the dark watching flickering images on the big screen. We’ve learned that the shooter is not just another demented loner but a Confederate flag flying wingnut. Nice.
Another sad fact is that it is easier to get a gun in Louisiana than it is to vote. Any attempt to limit our egregiously stupid open carry law is doomed to fail no matter who is elected Governor in the fall. Anyone surprised? I thought not.
Speaking of Governors, PBJ was in the state for the first time in a month and skedaddled to Lafayette to take part in a “looking concerned” photo-op and press conference. He had nothing of substance to offer. Bob Mann said it best when he wrote that all Jindal had to offer were “hugs and shrugs.” In other PBJ news, his staff were able to convince gullible reporters at Politico and the Advocate that an INTERNAL POLL showing PBJ at 8% in Iowa is a surge. 8 fucking percent? Give me a break.
How was that for a cheery opening note for this week’s Saturday post? Don’t worry, the usual contingent of jokes and puns will be forthcoming. On to this week’s theme song, John Fogerty’s Tombstone Shadow. There *is* a connection between it and the iconic image of Henry Fonda in John Ford’s My Darling Clementine but we’ll get to that after the break. But first let’s rock with the original CCR studio version followed by a 2005 live version from John and his crack band. I opted out of the Creedence Clearwater Revisited rendition because it has all the vices of the original (the same mediocre rhythm section) and none of its virtues.
We’ll get oddsier and sodsier after the break if such a thing is possible.
Timing is everything in both life and politics. In 2012 and 2013, Chris Christie was on top of the world. GOP fat cats were begging him to save the party from Willard Mittbot Romney and sure defeat in 2012. Thinking Obama would win, he passed. In 2013, he was the GOP frontrunner for 2016 and won a landslide re-election victory. Times have changed: Christie is the second least popular Governor in the country; second only to his fellow delusional Presidential candidate, Bobby Jindal of #AskBobby fame.
Like PBJ, Governor Asshole seems absolutely convinced that he’ll be taking the oath of office on 1/20/17. He’s ignoring his fundraising problems, vengeful Romneyites throwing monkey wrenches under his listing bandwagon, and indicted associates making news. Then there’s Donald Trump who’s occupying his space as a blunt Northeastern blowhard. Nothing but hard times ahead for Chris Christie.
Christie’s only hope is to make the GOP teevee debates, take out Trump, and perform a nutectomy on Jeb Bush. That’s a long shot, and so is he.
The Christie campaign rolled out a slogan: the candidate who will tell it like it is. I guess he’s planning to use this as his theme song until Aaron tells him to pull it:
I’m not the only one who thinks that this is a big fat lie. Tom Moran is the editorial page editor of the Newark Star-Ledger. He thought that the most important thing people outside Jersey needed to know is that Chris Christie lies:
Most Americans don’t know Chris Christie like I do, so it’s only natural to wonder what testimony I might offer after covering his every move for the last 14 years.
Is it his raw political talent? No, they can see that.
Is it his measurable failure to fix the economy, solve the budget crisis or even repair the crumbling bridges? No, his opponents will cover that if he ever gets traction.
If you have the stomach for it, this column offers some greatest hits in Christie’s catalog of lies.
Don’t misunderstand me. They all lie, and I get that. But Christie does it with such audacity, and such frequency, that he stands out.
He’s been lying on steroids lately, on core issues like Bridgegate, guns and that cozy personal friendship with his buddy, the King of Jordan. I’ll get to all that.
Webster’s defines lie this way: “To make an untrue statement with intent to deceive.” That fits neatly.
And that’s my warning to America. When Christie picks up the microphone, he speaks so clearly and forcefully that you assume genuine conviction is behind it.
Be careful, though. It’s a kind of spell.
He is a remarkable talent with a silver tongue. But if you look closely, you can see that it is forked like a serpent’s.
And you thought I was mean to politicians. That last sentence takes a very sharp knife and twists it before allowing Gov. Asshole’s body to drop to the floor with a loud, resounding thump.
In the same spirit as Tom Moran’s deliciously nasty column, I’d like to suggest a theme song for the Christie campaign. It’s written by some damn limousine liberals but they might allow its use because they, too, know Chris Christie can’t hide his lyin’ eyes:
We leave issues of the New Yorker lying about the house, poised to be read when the mood strikes us. Oscar and Della quite like sitting on them. My theory is that they absorb knowledge through their…never mind, no need to go there…
What’s the point of that first paragraph? Since that was not an existential question, here we go: I picked up the June 1st issue the other evening, and turned to Thomas Mallon’s review of a book called Buckley and Mailer: The Difficult Friendship That Shaped the Sixties. The sub-title goes OTT into the stratosphere since they were more like frenemies whose relationship was sporadic at best. They certainly got along better with one another than either did with Gore Vidal but that’s a story for another day or never.
That was a helluva long setup (I seem to be turning into Rachel Maddow) so here’s the payoff. The review got me thinking about one of Norman Mailer’s most egomaniacal book titles, Advertisements For Myself. Mailer figured that if you can’t plug yourself who can? I agree, which brings me to the Jindal camp’s attempt to bring some life to their boring candidate. Some knucklehead came up with the idea of a Twitter Q & A session under the hashtaggy rubric #AskBobby. It was like feeding time at the zoo and, as far as I know, no questions have been answered as of this writing.
Gegenheimer’s office made the decision about 10 a.m. after speaking with his agency’s legal counsel, attorney John Litchfield. Litchfield spent the weekend reviewing the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision on Friday to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide and said Jefferson Parish should begin issuing marriage licenses to gay couples immediately.
By about 10:30 a.m., Gegenheimer said, Jefferson Parish issued what appeared to be Louisiana’s first same-sex marriage license to a pair of women whose names are Celeste Autin and Alesia LeBoeuf.
Autin and Leboeuf work in the Jefferson Parish Clerk of Court’s Office, Gegenheimer said.
Common sense and personal knowledge trump malakatude from the Governor and Attorney General. This makes the otherwise very conservative Mr. Gegenheimer a good next door neighbor indeed. One could even call this a Gegenheimer maneuver…
Orleans is the most gay friendly parish in the state, but it’s also the only one where the Gret Stet guvmint issues marriage licenses at a state office building. To be fair, if this were up to the Mayor and Orleans Clerk of Court, we would have been the first in the state.
It’s unclear exactly when couples will be able to marry but I suspect it will be sooner than the 25 days mentioned in the article.
Meanwhile, Gov. Jindal is reduced to sputtering irrelevant inanities about abolishing the Supreme Court to save money. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.
As expected the Supremes have legalized same-sex marriage in the entire country in a 5-4 vote. The majority opinion was written by Anthony Kennedy thereby cementing his place in history as the Gay Rights Justice. To those pundits who insisted that Kennedy was the “swing vote” in this case: You were wrong and I was right.