Friday ReadsPosted: October 30, 2015
And there are real life monsters and they seem to be running for office as Republicans! I want to spend some time on Louisiana Senator David Vitter who is competing for the title of slimiest person on the planet. His campaign is a case study in making an appeal to the worst in humanity. Of course, he wants to keep the spolight off himself. He is doing everything to make blue dog Democrat John Bel Edwards look like the President’s long lost twin brother and using the most hateful racist memes in a TV ad that appears to be on endless rotation.
David Vitter is running an ad straight out of the Willie Horton School of scare all the stupid white people. Yesterday, the NAACP called him on all his race baiting and he’s responded with a shrug. Only a monster could use these kinds of racist dogwhistles to win. He won’t be taking the ad down. He obviously thinks the best strategy is to just pound away on the racists and hope there’s enough of them to vote him into office.
U.S. Sen. David Vitter said he is not taking down an ad that use the word “thugs” after the New Orleans NAACP demanded the gubernatorial candidate stop running the spot, which it called “demeaning and racial.”
The ad accuses his Democratic opponent, John Bel Edwards, of promising to release 5,500 “dangerous thugs” into communities across Louisiana. It also ties Edwards to President Barack Obama, who has pushed the federal government to reduce sentences for non-violent offenders, and commuted or pardoned some of those offenders.
Vitter’s campaign released the following statement:
Senator Vitter told the NAACP that he’s not about to take down his ad. As he explained: “Edwards’ and Obama’s almost identical proposals to release 5,500-6,000 criminals from prisons is dangerous and irresponsible. They’d release dangerous thugs as defined by Merriam-Webster who’d threaten ALL of our neighborhoods.”
Professionals like those at the Louisiana District Attorneys Association agree. As they explained clearly recently in writing: “The myth that a significant percentage of currently incarcerated inmates are harmless and unnecessarily confined is simply not accurate.”
Morris Reed, the president of the NAACP, said he’s disappointed in Vitter’s decision.
“I have to believe that at least 5,000 (of the 50,000 people in prison) are nonviolent offenders,” Reed said. “A large percentage of our inmates are in need of mental health treatment they’re not receiving while incarcerated. So it would behoove Louisiana citizens to urge their leaders to be more innovative than locking people up and throwing away the key.”
The Edwards campaign has sought to clarify his remarks about removing offenders from prison, saying he would reduce the prison population using a variety of methods such as pre-trial diversionary programs that would keep nonviolent offenders out of prison.
Vitter is desperate. Polls in the state are showing him losing the race. Louisiana moved from being a purple state to joining the solid red South after Katrina. As you know, I seriously believe that Rove purposefully kept a good deal of Black New Orleans from returning to ensure the state would switch. So, this definitely shows a crack in the plan.
Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) trails Democratic gubernatorial rival John Bel Edwards by 12 points after edging out his Republican challengers in Saturday’s jungle primary, according to a Democratic poll made public Thursday.
The survey conducted by Democratic polling firm Anzalone Liszt Grove on behalf of the anti-Vitter Gumbo PAC found Edwards, a state representative, leading the senator 52 percent to 40 percent. The runoff is Nov. 21.
Notably, the poll found that voters who cast their ballots for losing Republican candidates Scott Angelle and Lt. Gov Jay Dardenne are now just as likely to choose Edwards as they are to choose Vitter. Forty-seven percent of those Republican voters said they’d be likely to move toward Edwards while 46 percent said they’d be likely to move toward Vitter.
Those Republican voters also have a more favorable view of Edwards than they do of Vitter. Forty-seven percent of Angelle and Dardenne supporters said they viewed Edwards favorably compared to forty percent who said they viewed Vitter favorably.
The poll surveyed 700 likely runoff voters by phone from Oct. 26-28. The survey had a margin of error of 3.7 percentage points.
I’m not one to quote a conservative pundit without just cause. So many of them are not concerned with anything reasonable and just spout unsupportable memes. But, I’m going to quote from the Lake Charles American Press and Jim Beam, its conservative op ed writer of many years.
U.S. Sen. David Vitter’s misleading and malicious political ads targeting state Rep. John Bel Edwards, his Democratic opponent for governor, are reminiscent of another sad chapter in American history. A U.S. senator was involved in that one, too. More on that later.A Vitter television spot says electing Edwards would be like making President Obama Louisiana’s next governor, which is about as far-fetched as the devious mind can fathom. However, the worst part of the spot is the accusation that Edwards wants to release “5,500 dangerous thugs (and) drug dealers back into our neighborhoods,” which is also a figment of the Vitter campaign’s creative imagination.
Pearson Cross, a political science professor at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, told The Times-Picayune the ad appears aimed at stoking fears among white voters that Edwards will unleash dangerous black criminals into safe neighborhoods.
Robert Mann, Manship chair of journalism at LSU, in a story for salon.com, said, “Vitter’s objective is, quite simply, to smear Edwards by reviving and exploiting Louisiana’s fearful, racist past.”
Edwards said, “I have never supported reducing our incarceration rate by releasing criminals from jail, as the smear ad suggests. Rather, my statement about inmates in the speech referenced was about reducing the prison population through long-term solutions without harming public safety.”
“… The (Louisiana) Sheriffs’ Association, which enthusiastically endorsed me yesterday, has no issue with this plan,” Edwards said.
Vitter has a consistent history of campaigning against other public figures rather than telling voters what he wants to do for them. The Advocate of Baton Rouge traced that trend back to another Edwards when Vitter ran for the state Legislature.
“If history is a guide, expect Vitter in particular to be a barroom brawler,” the newspaper said. “In each of his races, he has run against something — former Gov. Edwin W. Edwards and the state Democratic Party when he won elections to the state House in the 1990s; the past and the status quo when he defeated former Republican Gov. David Treen in a special congressional election in 1999; and Washington and national Democrats in his two Senate victories.”
The Treen attacks by Vitter were especially hurtful for one of the most respected and decent men ever to hold public office in Louisiana. John Treen, Dave Treen’s brother, never forgave Vitter, The Advocate said. John Treen said his brother never fully recovered emotionally from the defeat.
John Treen said, “To distort my brother’s record, I thought, was despicable. The idea that someone made a deal (not to attack one another) and broke his word got to him.”
Democrat Charlie Melancon, who lost the 2010 U.S. Senate race to Vitter, was also linked to Obama. He told the newspaper Vitter would “paint a less than truthful picture” of Rep. Edwards.
Most voters who say they can’t vote for Edwards say it’s because he’s too liberal. He is definitely not a hard-core conservative, but he lives by conservative values. Edwards’ most effective TV spot sums up the Vitter strategy well.
“… For the next few weeks, David Vitter will spend millions of dollars lying about my record, my values and my service to our country and our state,” Edwards says. “He’s desperate. All he offers is deception and hypocrisy. I won’t sell my soul to win an election. I live by the West Point honor code. I will not lie, cheat, steal or tolerate those who do. David Vitter wouldn’t last a day at West Point. It’s time Louisiana demands a little integrity.”
The most interesting thing is that this small crack in the solid South is also appearing in Kentucky where Republicans are trying to convince gadfly Senator Rand Paul to drop his presidential bid and concentrate on not losing his seat in the US Senate next year. Republicans are worried they could lose control of the majority.
Rand Paul is under increasing pressure from Republicans here and in Washington to pull the plug on his stagnant presidential campaign and instead recommit his resources to keeping his Senate seat in GOP hands.
D.C. Republicans think Paul’s poll numbers have flat-lined — and operatives worried about retaining control of the Senate are ready for him to start spending a lot more time in Kentucky and a lot less time in Iowa and New Hampshire.
“This presidential dream needs to come to an end,” said a national Republican strategist, granted anonymity to discuss Paul’s situation candidly. “Senate Republicans can’t afford to have a competitive race in Kentucky.”
Paul, however, is showing little sign of giving up. Even with poll numbers so low that he might not appear on the main stage for the third GOP debate and his fundraising slowing to a crawl, Paul has a message for those who say it’s time to suspend his run for the White House and focus on his Senate reelection: I can handle both.
Is it possible that we’re beginning to see the infamous US political pendulum swing? Are voters finally realizing what the Republicans are offering? The party seems obsessed with defunding Planned Parenthood, continually attacking marriage equality, and attacking racial minorities. Has it got to a critical mass yet? There’s a movement to make Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio look like a younger, more diversified and tolerant face of the party. If you want a sample of that, read David Brooks. If you’d prefer not to do that, read the critique by Paul Krugman .There’s is nothing new under the sun with either of these two including their assaults on women’s rights and middle class prosperity. Their policy proposals send money to the one percent and defund the nation’s safety nets and benefits for the elderly.
Although the Tea Party may be winding down, it’s pretty clear from the Presidential debates and campaign’s like Vitter’s that the hatred of all things not connected to White, Straight, Rich, Christian Male privilege drives them. Let’s hope the electorate is waking up.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?