Democratic Louisiana flag
Volume 1, Number 30
By Democrats For Democrats
October 29, 2010
Shut up the pundits! Vote!

Tuesday is election day and it can't come soon enough for those of us who have tired of the experts telling us about the pre-ordained outcome.

While the media is jammed with poll results based on 'likely voters', Democrats in Louisiana and across the country have been ramping up get out the vote efforts committed to the notion of standing the conventional wisdom on its ear.

Voter turnout here is proejcted to fall somewhere between 30 and 35 percent, which is ridiculously low considering the stakes in the Senate race alone.

Low turnout elections are where upsets are where upsets come from (along with exceptionally high turnout votes). David Vitter can't be comfortable, regardless of what the polls say. At best, he has succeeded in depressing voter interest in this election. He has done everything within his power to disappoint the people who elected him six years ago, careening from scandal to scandal.

His hope of remaining in office ride on his campaign's attempt to link Charlie Melancon to President Obama. Vitter's attacks might backfire in the sense that they give Democrats like me a reason to believe in Melancon — just as John Kennedy's ads drove us to support Mary Landrieu.

Hotly contested races in key Democratic strongholds (Shreveport, New Orleans, as well as some smaller communities like Opelousas) will draw Democrats to the polls.

Caroline Fayard's dynamic campaign for Lieutenant Governor has caught fire in the run-off. Republican women are flocking to her banner in South Louisiana which does not bode well for Jay Dardenne.

It also raises Melancon's hopes because women (regardless of party) are going to be hardpressed to bring themselves to vote for David Vitter.

Cedric Richmond looks set to defeat the only membe of the Louisiana House delegation to support the Affordable Care Act (Joseph Cao).

Ravi Sangisetty is running against a full wingnut in the Third District which is the seat that Charlie Melancon is giving up to win election to the Senate.

David Melville is running against first-term Republican John Fleming in the Fourth District.

And, we certainly could not close this issue without commenting on interim Lieutenant Governor Scott Angelle's coming out of the closet and admitting that he's a Republican.

Angelle's high-profile role in the anti-moratorium hoax was a clear signal that he had found his (well-funded) home in the Republican Party.

The most powerful Republican in St. Martin Parish won the Republican primary for Congress by incessantly recalling the Democratic roots of his Republican opponent. Scott's new friends will never forgive him for being a Democrat, while his old ones won't forgive him for becoming a Republican. Enjoy the ride, Scott! You've earned it!

Mike Stagg, Editor

Charlie Melancon for US Senate! David Vitter is unfit to serve another term.

David Vitter's ads remind me that Charlie Melancon is a Democrat and because of that (and the fact that Melancon is not Vitter) I will vote for Charlie on Tuesday.

David Vitter by his action and inaction has demonstrated that he is not fit to serve in public office. Hell, he's not fit to work in the private sector. Maybe one of his wealthy right-wing benefactors could find him a slot in a so-called 'think tank.' Of course, they'd have to keep a sharp eye on his expense accounts for, you know, extra curricular activities.

If Vitter and his wife have worked things out regarding his use of prostitutes, who are any of us to object. But, Vitter's refusal to account for those acts committed while a public service, using tax payer dollars and a government supplied phone make him unfit to represent this state anywhere, much less in the United States Senate.

Vitter attitude towards women and the men who commit violent acts against them place him outside the bounds of publicly acceptable business behavior.

Vitter's handling of the case of his aide who stabbed a woman and held her against her will clearly demonstrates that the state's junior Senator has fostered or tolerated the development of a hostile atmosphere towards women in his Washington office. Vitter not only let the staffer keep his job, he used taxpayer dollars to transport the man to court dates in Louisiana.

Consider the implications for a private company if Vitter was an office manager or supervisor and had taken a similar approach to crimes committed by a person working in that office. Could a responsible owner allow Vitter to remain on the job? What kind of liability would the company be exposed to as a result of the climate and atmosphere that would exist by allowing an abuser of women to remain on the company payroll and for the company to pay for the guy's transportation to his court dates?

Again, could a responsible owner allow someone like Vitter to remain in a position of authority in view of his handling of the crimes against women committed by his aide?

Could any responsible parent allow their daughter to work in Vitter's DC office? What if a male staffer attacked your daughter? Who could she turn to for help? Vitter?

Not too long ago Vitter, his wife and other Republicans angrily insisted that "character matters." Their words were meant as an indictment of Bill Clinton and, of course, they meant to only apply that rule to Democrats. As we now know, it was pure hypocrisy on Vitter's part and empty rhetoric on the part of his wife and the other Republicans.

Vitter's career in the Senate proves that character does matter. That's why he's proven so ineffective. Who will work with him, other than fellow scandal-plagued Republicans? Vitter has grown more partisan since his prostitution scandals as he has sought to hold on to the Senate seat once held by John Breaux and Russell Long.

Charlie Melancon has character. He's an honorable man. He's worked for a living. He's had a life outside of politics. He's made a payroll. He headed the American Sugar Cane League.

At times, he might not be as strong a Democrat as I would like, but that only makes him ideally suited to represent Louisiana in the Senate. Like Mary Landrieu, Charlie has shown a willingness and ability to work with anyone and everyone to advance the interests of this state.

Louisiana and the country badly need that kind of non-partisan leadership in the Senate. He is the antidote to the poisonous atmosphere that people like Vitter have produced which plagues Washington and hinders our national progress.

As David Vitter's term in the Senate demonstrates, Louisiana can do a lot worse than electing Charlie Melancon to the Senate. It will do much worse if it re-elects this petty narcissist to another term in Washington.

Voter for Charlie Melancon for the U.S. Senate on Tuesday.

St. Martin Parish Democrats promote benefits of Affordable Care Act in commercial

The St. Martin Parish Democratic Executive Committee has put part of its nest egg to work by paying to launch an informational commercial on provisions in the Affordable Care Act which have gone into effect since President Barak Obama signed the bill into law in March.

The 30-second spot opens with a photo from the White House Flicker stream taken of the President signing the bill. It then works through a series of panels announcing the changes in the law.

Here's the script for the spot:

"President Obama signed healthcare reform into law six months ago and healthcare access is already better in Louisiana. The Pre-existing condition exclusion has been eliminated. Companies can’t cancel your coverage once you get sick. Lifetime caps on coverage have been eliminated. Your next policy will provide for free health screenings. Children up to the age of 26 can stay on their parents’ policies if they need to. The Medicare Do-Nut Hole is Being Closed. This law makes good healthcare affordable for all Americans, not just a few of us. Paid for by the St. Martin Parish Democratic Executive Committee."

The ad is running on the Cox Eastern Acadiana system, which includes St. Martin, Iberia, and a portion of St. Mary parishes. It has run every day of the month and will conclude its run on Sunday. The ad has run on CNN, Fox News, BET, USA and Lifetime networks.

It has run all through the month of October.

Committee leaders were looking for a way to make an impact on issues using the dollars they collect through candidate qualifying fees.

The matter came up at a September meeting of the committee where a member of the Lafayette Parish Democratic Exeuctive Committee had been invited to attend.

Discussions ensued with the result being the production of the video and the making of the buy on Cox.

It's a great example of what a committee willing to put their resources to work can accomplish with a little determination, effort and cooperation.

The web version of the ad was featured on Daily Kingfish.

Click on the image below to see the ad in its entirety. Double click on it to see it in a larger size.

Congratulations to the St. Martin Parish Democratic Executive Committee for having the courage of their convictions!

Caroline Fayard for Lieutenant Governor! Our culture and tourism industries need a fighter — not a Jindal sycophant.

Just because Jay Dardenne is a poor Secretary of State is no reason to promote him to the position of Lieutenant Governor.

Dardenne has made a mess of Louisiana's election return system, centralizing precinct reporting in Baton Rouge, making local Clerks of Court personnel little more than equipment collectors, and creating bottlenecks in reporting that have actually slowed the reporting of election returns at the local level. He's also allowed a private contractor (GCR and Associates) with extensive ties to Republican political organizations (like the Louisiana Committee for a Republican Majority) to manage the state's registered voter database while at the same time providing voter database services to those partisan organizations.

It is a situation fraught with ethical questions in view of repeated Republican efforts focused on voter suppression. Somehow Dardenne is not concerned by this.

The solution for cleaning up Jay Dardenne's mess is not to promote him, but to defeat him at the polls in 2011 when he has to seek a full term.

The state's tourism industry is too valuable to this state to be put into the unimaginative hands of a political plodder like Dardenne. If he follows the path he's taken as Secretary of State, the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism (CRT) will be turned into little more than a cash stream for some private company that Dardenne would designate to run the show.

Crony capitalism is the Republican business model and, as Secretary of State, Jay Dardenne has shown himself to be a devotee. Applying that business model to CRT would be the death knell for Louisiana's tourism industry that is already suffering under budget cuts imposed by the Jindal administration. The last thing that department and that industry needs is a sycophant trying to win the favor of our distracted governor.

What CRT and the industries it works with need is a champion. We will have that with Caroline Fayard as Lieutenant Governor.

Democrats have shown that they know how to run this department effectively and efficiently. Kathleen Blanco helped build tourism into an economic powerhouse while serving as Lieutenant Governor for eight years under Governor Mike Foster. When she became Governor in 2004, Mitch Landrieu took over the department and continued to build on Blanco's success, even in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.

Caroline Fayard gets it. She's seen our state from the inside and from the outside. She's already had a career that has given her extensive connections in the public and private sectors that she can translate into new opportunities for our state. She's bright, articulate, and attractive. She'd be a great 'face' for our state in the tourism industry.

At a time when Louisiana is served by a cynical governor who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing, this state needs an independent thinker in the Lieutenant Governor's office. We need someone who will not only work to champion our tourism industry, but will fight to reverse the damage being done to our cultural institutions by the short-sighted policies of the Jindal administration.

As Republicans have repeatedly demonstrated, they are the party of the locked-step. They punish those who break with party orthodoxy or who express any kind of independence.

Jay Dardenne is a Republican by choice and by temperament. He will not stand against more cuts, he will stand with Bobby Jindal. He will not object to closing more museums, canceling more festivals, reducing library services, or eliminating more programs. He will fall in line. He will meekly follow. He will obey.

Louisiana's culture and our tourism industry can't afford that attitude. It can't afford Jay Dardenne.

Elect Caroline Fayard Lieutenant Governor in order to save our culture from the mindlessly destructive policies of Bobby Jindal and his fellow Republican cynics.

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