In the day and age of smart phones, the Internet, information everywhere and everywhere, when the public be more plugged in and more caring about its future?
Earlier this week, I talked with Bernie Pinsonat about the upcoming statewide elections. Yesterday, we published Bernie Pinsonat scorches Governor's race poll spin, Vitter's opponents, media. Today, in my view, his comments here could serve as an textbook into "Politics and Elections 101--what happened to our interest in governing ourselves and how can candidates win in this new electronic age".
SABLUDOWSKY: How do you think the election season is going?
PINSONAT: Now getting deeper into the actual election, closer to the election, qualifying is behind us all, the candidates are running. I think the public is paying a little more attention, but I still don't think there's a lot of interest yet. If it doesn't get any better will have a pretty light turnout. But the ads have begun, the candidates are filling the airwaves with campaign spots, a lot of it is negative and it's very similar to the Senate race. The Senate race was a snoozer also until the very end but in that race we actually had campaign ads running the year in advance. This time the campaign ads didn't start until about six weeks out and I think the public is probably more engaged, but still, if you look at all of the voters, will probably get about 50 may be higher, maybe a little over, so if you say the public is engage looking at in the governor's race, is not the same as it used to be, there is not the interest, is not the enthusiasm in the state yet. There are no lapel pins, yard signs are no place in any significance, you see them occasionally. Politics in Louisiana has changed. It used to be that football and politics were the real sport, sporting events, in Louisiana, but that has change. Campaign start much later. Candidates don't spend the money until the very end. And as such, it's absolutely reflecting the public's lack of attention. You'll don't spend money in March, April and May in Louisiana because the public is not paying attention. Politics in Louisiana is not what it used to be. It's changed dramatically in Louisiana, and it is what it is, in this particular election, is going to be what we want to look at, because it's probably what are going to see in the future.
These big super PACs these groups, we saw it last year with Landrieu, campaigns are not about personalities any more, is not about what you're going to do for Louisiana, how are you going to govern, it's all about 30second spots, huge amounts of the money behind these ads and maybe that's why politics is changing and is not quite the big deal that used to be, but the personality, the person who can charm the voters, the person that people like--Edwin Edwards, Buddy Roemer, who broke out of the pack, was passionate and gave some great speeches, and people like him and were all excited about them, this race is nothing like that. It's more about party politics it's more about personal politics, so how it shakes out will be interesting, because I think it's going to set the tone for this is how we campaign from here on out.
The super PACs are here just stay, probably, the Supreme Court ruled them legal so's changing what we campaign, is changing the structure of how campaigns are presented to the public. I'm not sure it's for the better, but that's what we're stuck with, like I said, I think once this is over, you'll look at all this stuff, you'll look at the ads, you look at the type of ads, who spent money, look at what the candidate said and it will be vastly different from anything we've ever seen and it will probably be the early model as to how these campaigns are conducted for the foreseeable future.
SABLUDOWSKY: It seems to me there's a lot of angry people, we talked about this before, we have a fiscal problem, people are generally dissatisfied, so it seems inconsistent, at least to me, that people are passive, or complacent--he is a chance for them to do something.
PINSONAT: Look, people are angry but I don't find them in my surveys. People are barely paying attention. If I did a survey tomorrow and asked name two candidates, would probably be lucky if 30% of the people in Louisiana could name two. Maybe 40% but I would doubt that. We've had dramatic cuts to the budget, we've had to raise $700 million taken away from business, that would have been a lot more energy out there if it had been a sales tax, income tax or property tax, so the public is--they've watched Jindal manipulate the budget and come up with money, with reduced higher education, with reduced healthcare, and all those things, yet most of the legislators didn't even have opponents. And this governor's race, which you likely said, should be taken seriously because there is no good news in sight, our budget structure, our fiscal structure is broken, it needs to be fixed, and how do we fix it? How do we get the state out of debt and who's going to pay. All those things are very important the next governor is going to have to make, but I really don't find a lot of people that interested in the governor's race, I'm not the perfect barometer, but I'm fairly well known, and I just don't have people asking me about the governor's race.
SABLUDOWSKY: Isn't that odd. I don't think I've seen a single yard sign for governor's race
PINSONAT: No, it's a new era. The money is being spent on the airwaves, mailers and social media and all that stuff is much more important than the candidates themselves. One of the interesting things is Scott Angelle, Scott is one of the people whose personality and personal appeal is one of his strengths, and he spent a lot of time in a personal type campaign--he's been all over the place. In the past, personality ends up being a big deal. If people like you, they tend to vote for you. He has that type of the appeal yet, he now has to shift into another gear. He's done some work and he hopes it will pay off, people who have met him, like him, but you can't do any of that, you could do it, but you could projected on television, but, as of today, he's pretty much tied with Jay Dardenne and this sort of canceling each other out--my point is and your point, he's run into a huge amount of money, he's being attacked, is trying to get through that he's a nice guy and "I'm the guy you'd want to elect, I'm trying to do the right thing". All these candidates are not in charge of their campaign, literally, they've been pushed around by all this money.
Monday: learn how the candidates have lost control of their campaigns and how they are being pushed around-- "by all this money".