Monday, October 26, 2015

Everybody dreads Vitty

Everybody hates David Vitter. On the occasions when they aren't also in debt to or afraid of him, they will come out and tell you so. Otherwise, they fall in line.

It was really interesting on Saturday night, watching which Louisiana Republicans made sure to show up at the Vitter after-party to pay tribute.  Congressman Charles Boustany, for example, who very much would appreciate Vitter's blessing to run for his Senate seat should Vitter become Governor was the first one in the room. State Treasurer John Kennedy who enjoys a brand among fanboys in the media as a "principled independent" also made an extra special effort to be seen on camera at the Vitter party. I wonder what sort of favor he's trading.

I hope the Treasurer would have the presence of mind to keep the receipt.  Many have found out the hard way that Vitter is not always to be trusted.
If history is a guide, expect Vitter in particular to be a barroom brawler. In each of his races, he has run against something — former Gov. Edwin 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.

This time, as Vitter showed Saturday, he will be running against “the politicians in Baton Rouge,” even though Jindal is a Republican and Republicans hold majorities in the state House and Senate.

John Treen has never forgiven Vitter for his unrelenting attacks against his brother in that 1999 election, after Vitter and David Treen, at Vitter’s initiative, agreed not to attack each other. Keeping that deal was important for Treen, who was known among Democrats and Republicans alike for his honest and honorable approach to politics.

Vitter, however, went on the attack, according to John Treen and two others who were part of that campaign, in fliers with different messages to white and black voters that the Treen campaign found far outside the bounds of fair play.

“To distort my brother’s record, I thought, was despicable,” John Treen said, adding that his brother, who died in 2009, never fully recovered emotionally from the defeat. “The idea that someone made a deal and broke his word got to him.”
In other words, "David Vitter killed my brother!"  Holy crap, John.  People really do not like David Vitter. Treen is far from the only person with these kinds of hard feelings.

But he's also out of politics and doesn't really have anything to lose or to trade.  These guys, on the other hand... 
During the primary, Vitter and a super PAC allied with him savaged his two Republican rivals — Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle and Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne — with attack ads. Both men cried foul.

“Sen. Pinocchio,” Angelle called Vitter.

The opening image on the Dardenne campaign’s website Sunday morning continued to consist of the words “SENATOR LIAR” stamped over a grainy photo of Vitter. “The more David Vitter spends on television ads the less truth they contain,” reads the opening line of the top link on the Dardenne website.
Angelle and Dardenne obviously are in position to help tip the scales of this election now. Despite their strong language during the primary, and despite the obvious fact that the two of them, like most humans, can't stand David Vitter, it isn't clear what, if anything they're actually going to do.

Dardenne has already said during one of the debates that he will not make an endorsement in the runoff.  On election night, Angelle told supporters, "You will hear from me again."  On the surface that looks like Dardenne is abstaining and Angelle might come out and attack Vitter some more. The horse trading game is funny, though. Yesterday, on the parallel internet, Lamar shared this quote from one of the great treatises on Louisiana politics, A.J. Liebling's Earl of Louisiana
It is unusual for a candidate to win first time around, and if one does he arouses a certain amount of resentment as a spoilsport. After the first primary, each beaten candidate and his backers trade off their support to one of the two men who are still alive, in exchange for what he will bind himself to do for them in the way of legislation, patronage or simple commercial advantage. Naturally, the runoff candidate who looks more likely to win can buy support at lower political prices than the other fellow, but by trying to drive too hard a bargain he may send the business to the underdog. Many a man has beaten himself that way. A Louisiana politician can't afford to let his animosities carry him away, and still less his principles, although there is seldom difficulty in that department.
Everybody may hate Vitty.  But he's made a career out of making sure that they, at least, fear him.

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