Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Voters in LA01 are the real losers . . .

Pearl and I spent the last two weekends at JazzFest - every day but one and we spent that showing some friends from the Big Apple around the Big Easy. So, after voting early Saturday morning, we didn't know the news until late Saturday night; and we almost didn't tune in because we were anxious about the outcome.

Gilda Reed is/was such a great candidate for the LA01 seat. She's the first in many years that all of us could really love, believe in and support with our heads and our hearts. And for the first time in 30 years, we in LA01 could have had a representative in Congress who truly cares about us, and would courageously work for the common good of the folks in LA01. There was more than just a glimmer of hope for the miracle.

But alas, it wasn't to be. And we are all saddened by the outcome. The 25% Gilda received was better than past selections, but not enough to overcome the apparently locked-in mind-set of the GOPers in this District. Gilda will get over it, and will continue the good fight; and we who supported her will get over it and continue to rage against the machine.

The real loss here is to the rest of LA01, to those who didn't support Gilda, and to those who just didn't care enough to vote. There is no doubt that Gilda was the better qualified candidate, that she was better educated and informed about the issues that really matter to the voters in LA01, or that she was better situated to begin truly working for us on the very first day she entered Congress. But what the voters chose instead is the GOPer's third string bench-warmer, the computer tech who got his turn only because he was loyal enough to the party to step back while their Rhodes Scholar stars - Vitter and Jindal - used LA01 to pad their resumes for higher office.

We all have GOPers friends, or family, and those I've spoken with can't or won't say why they voted for Scalise in this election. When asked about issues, the answers I get are almost all consistent with the positions taken by Gilda. They know better, but they still vote as they are told by the GOPer powers, the business lobby, the insurance lobby, and on and on ad nauseum. Early on in this race, the GOPer controlled Times-Picayune wrote that the State GOP was supporting Scalise in this race, not Tim Burns, who himself was clearly better qualified for the job. Scalise's only qualifications were that he was a 100% rock solid conservative, he was 100% pro-life, and that he voted against all, that is all, taxes. No matter that he had a couple of ethical ambiguities. If he stands by his declared positions, then he takes nothing useful to LA01 to Congress. He will simply be another obstructionist face in the ever dwindling GOP minority; and that precludes him from having any meaningful voice on issues relevant to LA01.

He's said he will follow in the footsteps of Lil'Bobby Jindal and work for recovery aid. But he's even confused on who worked for aid to Louisiana. It wasn't Lil'Bobby, but Mary Landrieu who did the heavy lifting for recovery aid. So if he's really following in Lil'Bobby's footsteps, perhaps he really means he'll be an absentee in Congress while he runs for the Senate after the GOPers abandon Vitter in 2010. After all, LA01 is just a rung on the ladder . . .

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