Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Do GOPers in LA01 really want Scalise?

Do the GOPers in LA01 really want Scalise in Washington? Or is it just that the GOPer bosses have ordained that it's his turn at the seat since he's been so loyal to wait for Vitter then Jindal to pad their resumes? Looking at the scant turnout for the GOPer run-off it's hard to know who really wants Scalise representing LA01 in Congress, except Scalise and his extended family. After all, the pay is somewhat better than a State Senator or computer tech makes.

One thing is sure about the GOPer politicians - they're good at job-hopping while at the same time covering their butts with a fall-back government job. Just look back at the play between Jindal and Scalise in the last election cycle. Jindal had carpet-bagged into LA01 after losing the governor's race to Blanco, and then got his ordained seat in Congress when Vitter hopped on up to the Senate after Breaux retired. Scalise was an ambitious GOPer, but had followed his marching orders like a good soldier and not challenged either Vitter or Jindal for the LA01 seat. Besides he had a safe job in the State House.

Now Jindal was already running for governor again, after his loss to Blanco, and the LA01 seat was the perfect platform for his campaign. Then along came Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, which pretty much shot Blanco's chances of re-election, so good GOPer Jindal was in high cotton and on his way back home to Baton Rouge. And though he was the odds-on favorite from the git-go, Jindal wasn't so confident that he would resign that seat in Congress. No, rather than resign early on, he just didn't show up for the last year while he campaigned for the better (?) job as Governor.

Meanwhile, Scalise decided he's been a State Representative long enough and he wanted to move up to the State Senate. He knew, of course, that the big money was betting to Jindal being elected Governor, and when that happened Jindal would have to resign from the LA01 Congressional seat, and that would require a special election to fill the seat. And if Scalise could get the LA01 seat, it would fulfill his self-proclaimed lifelong ambition. In the meantime he would claim the Metairie Senate Seat, just to be on the safe side. So what if it might require another expensive special election. In keeping with that game plan, Scalise announced for the LA01 seat even before he was sworn in as State Senator.

Alas, in the natural order of GOPer politics in the presumed safe LA01 Congressional District, we're being used again by the GOPer bosses to advance the career of their loyal soldier. It resembles a kind of divine succession: Livingston>Vitter>Jindal>Scalise. And, of course, once again the big money is on their anointed one. And, if something should go wrong, Scalise always has his Senate seat to console him. Staying in the public eye is important.

A very real question for voters in LA01 to ask themselves is whether, given the recent history of musical job-hopping, they really want Scalise. Without even looking at his nonsensical positions on issues, and his mindless parroting of worn-out GOPer talking points, there is the obvious question of his dedication to the common good of the folks in LA01. Based on his history, and the looming cloud hanging over Senator Vitter, there is every reason to believe that Scalise will be eager to move on up to the US Senate in 2010. And this time, the bosses just might abandon the tarnished Vitter and put the big money on Scalise to win.

With so many of the post-Katrina issues in LA01 remaining unresolved, we don't need a representative in Congress who is harboring the prospect of a bigger bite at the public teat; and with Scalise there would always be that question in the shadows. GOPer voters may be, should be, looking at that likelihood.
LA01 needs, and deserves a representative who is dedicated to the common good of the LA01 voters, committed to staying in the House and building seniority, and in a position to work with, not in opposition to, the majority leadership. We need someone to look out for us in the long haul ahead. We need Gilda Reed.

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