Making matters worse for the Democrats is the presence of current U.S. Senator David Vitter, who has opposed virtually all legislation supported by President Barack Obama over the years, who is attracting Tea Party support, and who could be the state’s democrats’ top target now that he is running for Governor in 2015.
Currently, Vitter leads all candidates for Governor and bests the Democratic Party candidate by roughly twenty points.
Not that Vitter is not beatable. He has his weaknesses.
He has that sin scarlet letter around his neck. Many in the political world see him as overly vindictive and negative, a man who would put Richard Nixon’s enemy list to shame and a politician totally incapable of working with others.
Then, in an odd turn of events, Vitter, who championed the cause to reduce the incumbent oak trees of power from government through the adoption of term limits, has recently backed a Washington DC PAC’s action in his favor, to remove all caps from political contributions so he could receive unlimited amounts of inside-and-outside-the-state money from the rich and powerful.
So, with all of those monkeys on his back and baggages in his hands, one would think he would be ripe to beat, right?
Hardly. He is the second most powerful GOP politician, only behind that of Governor Bobby Jindal. He leads all candidates by at least ten points in latest poll. Due to his presence in the race, other possible candidates appear to be bowing out.
To many Democrats and others, Vitter is a mixture of castor oil and vinegar; to many Tea Party types and some party regulars, he’s just what the doctor ordered to turn back the abominable Obama-led liberals.
This raises the ultimate of issues—should the Louisiana Democratic Party abandon their efforts to support a party candidate so their worst nightmares are not realized? So far, Democratic candidate John Bel Edwards is the only democrat to declare his candidacy and appears to be backed by party leaders. Or, should it work with the republicans and perhaps another GOP competitor, ie., Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne or Treasurer John Kennedy, to stop the “mean machine”, David Vitter?
In a recent Google Hangout, these questions were raised and discussed.
Below is the transcript of this part of the hangout video. Also, here is the link to Part I of the Google Hangout political chat held Saturday, with radio talk show host Jeff Crouere and former statewide elected official, Jim Brown:
SABLUDOWSKY[00:11:04]Jim let me ask you a question, you're a former Secretary of State, Insurance commissioner, legislator and, I'm just wondering given your experience in Baton Rouge--how, I mean, can a person with that kind of negativity, personal negativity, can I person like that just turn it around? (Jim Brown laughs) And were not even talking about his "sin baggage" We're just talking about his personality; Can he work together with members of the legislature and others; He hasn't been able to work with anybody to my knowledge certainly not in the U.S. Senate and certainly not with anybody who may disagree with him about something
JIM BROWN [00:11:56]What he's done is and that's where unfortunately in my opinion money become such a major player... Vitter as a special PAC that surprising to me is authorized to spend money on either a federal or Louisiana election he's raised one million, five and you can give up to a hundred thousand dollars a person and that's even being challenged by some some of Vitter's lawyers saying one hundred thousand is too low a ceiling; You ought to be able to give more than that I'm just stunned by what the money does. David Vitter has put money into legislative races; You've got a representative down your way where Jeff lives named Cameron Henry for example. Rumors are, will be the next Speaker of the House, if Vitter wins and Henry has been an anti-Jindal guy along with that an other cadre of legislators all supported by David Vitter. You've got some neutral Republican legislators, I've talked to recently...I've got a brother-in-law who is a state representative and he says he doesn't really know Vitter that well but he's going to work with whomever the Governor is.. so, as far as the vindictiveness in the legislature, I think that Jeff says yes he's made a lot of enemies..I don't see it so much within the legislative branch, so, quite frankly. So let me tell you when we talk about this guy's got so much baggage he can't win...I ran, I was elected Secretary of State in 1991 when the runoff was Edwin Edwards at the lowest ebb of his popularity--and David Duke.
[00:13:33] Now you talk about two guys that a lot of baggage but somebody had to win, so it's a question of whether...the Democrats have been inept of exploiting these weaknesses and going on the attack. They have some really limp press releases going out. There, there has not been organized effort to undermine Jindal, Vitter in that regard, so if the Democratic Party's not going to do it.. which is what you would normally find in many states, it's going to take a John Kennedy or Jay Dardenne to put together a fair amount of defensive money or aggressive research money to take on Vitter and to create these doubts in the minds of the average person. So Vitter has some weaknesses but for those weaknesses to be exploited it's going to take some bright opposition research and some bright people and a lot of money and that's yet to gel, that's yet to gel
SABLUDOWSKY[00:14:31]Jeff, let me ask you this we're talking about the super PAC's, Jim mentioned above super PAC, his super PAC, Vitter's Super PAC, at least where he has roughly $1.5 million; he doesn't have control of that; but it his former attorney and the person who's in charge of the super PAC is has gone to the ethics commission and basically is saying, hey, we should have unlimited amount of money from any where to be able to donate, contribute to the super PAC for a statewide election where there is $100,000 limit at this point in time..my question is..does this sound like something a person who was a incredible reformer, who was the leading, the charge on term limits and my question is--doesn't that seem kind of out of sync, I mean, term limits is to get the power of government and if anything this is saying, hey, let's get the rich guys in here because they have the power and they can dictate to the voters who is going to be their elected officials..what's your take
JEFF CROUERE[00:15:46]Let me just if I could respond a little at what Jim said, I think Vitter has been elected now twice to statewide office in 2004 in 2010 and neither campaign against Vitter has been what I call good. And I would say he's been the beneficiary of the absolutely pathetic Democratic Party and I think in the last election, of course, he ran against Obama and the issue of his personal scandal didn't even come up. I can not imagine Jay Dardenne being as inept and ineffective as those previous two candidates who tried to run against him; so I would say Dardenne is the best one to try to take advantage of those issues and I don't think that those personal issues are off the table. I think that they could very well come back up in another election and I think Dardenne would probably be the one the most effective to go after Vitter on because Dardenne's got a pretty clean record. I also think the Democrats would be wise to give up the hopes of trying to get anyone elected to the position and get behind Dardenne
SABLUDOWSKY[00:17:03]That's really interesting so I mean right now the only person who has said that he's going run is whom? for the democrats?
JIM BROWNWell, there's been a pretty bright democrat who has a lot of respect and if you talk to legislators, they will tell you that John Edwards, John Bel Edwards, who is a State Representative over the Hammond area, his father was a very popular sheriff over there for years, that as far as being an effective legislator, that Edwards is likable they all like him..he is apparently very competent...he is pretty much stepped out on the mantle as being the Democratic candidate. I think he's raise about a quarter million dollars, not a lot of money, but it's the beginnings, I think you're gone to have a hard time, I would do, quite frankly, if you want to beat Vitter, the best way to do it is for the Democrats not to have a candidate. I just don't see that happening though. Edward seems pretty, pretty set on running and he'll will raise, when all is said and done, about a million dollars and be a very viable candidate in the top three or four, he can't win in my opinion. But, he's be to some degree the loyal opposition, now, the problem it creates for Dardenne, if Vitter runs strongly on the right and you have John Bel Edwards in there, you may see the left and the right, as so often happens in our open primary system, be n a runoff and then the state being a red state that Republicans (inaudible) for example
SABLUDOWSKY [00:18:44] Jeff, last question we're going to take about this issue, and we're going to take..my question is would the state and in your opinion, would the state really support somebody like John Bel Edwards who is, I believe, is the progressive, liberal, I mean, is that a possibility at this point in time given everything we know about the state turning red, red, raw red
JEFF CROUERE [00:19:21] the party until they (inaudible) their best option is to try to work with the Republican (inaudible) and that would be Dardenne.
What is your opinion? Tell us below...video also below