Thursday, 26 June 2014 08:57
Riser out, Kissing Congressman and Duck Dynasty Dasher In
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robertson-philWackiness by omission and commission continue to illuminate Louisiana’s Fifth Congressional District contest, leaving the distinct possibility that the field remains entirely unsettled and the race unpredictable.

 

Within hours of each other – probably not entirely coincidentally – a rerun declared himself out of the contest and another semi-rerun inserted himself into it. Given his showing last year and the apparent ease at which he raised money. Had he chosen to try again state Sen. Neil Riser at the very least would have made a runoff and become the likely winner. His deferral leaves the field presently absent of any heavyweight, and wide open.

Eschewing a prize well within reach can lead to plenty of idle speculation as to why. Mentioning a non-specific opportunity in the future, it could be risking a losing run, or even a run in general, might devalue or make more difficult his ability to pursue that, possibly connected to another political elite wanting to enter to contest. Only time will tell upon Riser’s subsequent actions and who else gets in the race what his main motivation might be.

In the meantime, the lead duck of the district’s anti-D.C. flock Phil Robertson and son Willie found a candidate to support – Phil's nephew drug rep Zack Dasher. Rather than jump into politics in the breach as the reality television stars did with current Rep. Vance McAllister – somehow being convinced McAllister was sufficiently anti-politics-as-usual and pro-clean living and thereby buying onto his candidacy, only for the Duck Commander family and friends to discover after his win that the married McAllister was stealing smooches from a staffer married to somebody else – this time the flock seems to have tried doing its homework first and who better than one of the clan to push forward.

But not only did McAllister’s antics take a seat safe for him for life and throw it into jeopardy, it also poisoned the well for exactly the kind of candidate Dasher represents. McAllister positioned himself as being a successful businessman but political neophyte and proud outsider of Washington that could articulate what the common man outside the bubble wanted. Dasher, well, looks to be positioning himself as, if perhaps not an independent businessman, a political neophyte and proud outsider of Washington that can articulate what the common man outside the bubble wants, and can even tell you that it’s more Godliness.

The latter probably isn’t in dispute, but we see how well it worked out last time someone got put in with the same assumed characteristics. And whereas Riser’s opponents last time lambasted him as a cat’s paw to Gov. Bobby Jindal and establishment/professional Republicans everywhere and thusly deserved rejection as a tool, to some in their minds the Robertsons will become the great Satan this go-around.

Yet with Riser now out and Dasher now in, these developments perhaps encourage the author of the coming donnybrook, McAllister, to reconsider still further his decision not to run when the scandal broke. He may think without Riser to suck much of the oxygen out of the contest and with Dasher to further divide up the evangelical vote, which he already lost the moment the locking lips video hit the public consciousness, that he has more room than ever to pull off the victory.

Besides that scenario being largely wishful thinking, although not entirely impossible, McAllister continues to do everything possible to make it less possible. Only recently did he make a bizarre allegation that votes on the floor of the House were for sale, and that he had inside information as to how it worked. That the events he described seemed highly implausible he did not seem to consider as he eagerly spun the yarn.

Except somebody seems to have taken him seriously. While best known for preferring to make specious partisan arguments, the gadfly, left-leaning Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has sent out one of its frequent and usually ignored fatwas targeting McAllister or whoever clamoring for an investigation of his blather. Naturally, the House will do nothing, and even if there were some truth to this there’s no guarantee it would act.

However, it serves to make McAllister look less than upright. After all, here’s a guy who may have knowledge of who knows how many felonies committed by Members of Congress, but he won’t blow the whistle and retires into a curious omerta after letting the cat out the bag. If he has the temerity to reverse course and to run for reelection, no doubt one or more competing candidates would make inquiries of him as to why he is shielding corruption. Which, if he conjured all of this, only puts him in an even more awkward position.

But yet provides more comic relief for a contest that somehow doesn’t yet seem to have entered into a serious phase.

Jeffrey Sadow

Jeffrey Sadow is an associate professor of political science at Louisiana State University in Shreveport.   He writes a daily conservative blog called Between The Lines

Website: jeffsadow.blogspot.com/
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