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04 October 2003

late 11:30 update 

Things are looking fantastic for our lady friend from Lafayette tonight. The secretary of state has zero reporting from Lafayette Parish and Blanco maintains a comfortable lead over of Richard Ieyoub. The latest numbers:

Jindal-33 (399,000)
Blanco-18 (220,000)
Ieyoub-17 (203,000)
Leach-14 (169,000)
Ewing-9 (108,000)
Downer-6 (68,000)

With all the craziness, the secstate page is going nuts. I got on earlier and things look very good for Blanco. Ieyoub's home town appears to be completely reported and it doesn't look like it's enough for the Attorney General. I'll probably update one more time, and then I'll be ready to make my own declaration for Blanco. Then I'm going to celebrate for an hour or two.

Did Blanco just pull a Fox news? 

WAFB tv in Baton Rouge is reporting that second place is still too close to call. Also there is nothing over at nola or WWL about declaring Blanco her slot in the runoff. However I definitely just listened to Blanco declare her spot in the runoff. Here are the numbers as they stand by the Secretary of State:

Jindal-33 (374,000)
Blanco-18 (202,000)
Ieyoub-17 (194,000)
Leach-14
Ewing-9
Downer-6

Sorry for the lack of raw numbers on the last three, but they're eliminated at this point and I couldn't copy them down quick enough. WAFB is still saying that it's too close. No word at WWL, and I can't get their broadcast because I'm out of area. Does anyone from New Orleans have any news?

11:00 pm update 

No update just yet, stay tuned for what could be big news. WWL has declared Blanco her slot in the runoff.

10:30 pm update 

68% reporting and no major changes from the last results I posted.

Jindal-34%
Blanco-17%
Ieyoub-17%
Leach-14%
Ewing-9%
Downer-5%

Very interesting with lots of votes left to count. If Leach is pulling enough support away from Ieyoub, Blanco could owe him a big thank you at the end of the night. I'm watching Lafayette and Baton Rouge affiliates and can't get any more than ten percent reporting from Lafayette parish. These should be a lot of votes for Blanco (along with Jefferson Parish (New Orleans suburbs). Still very close and as long as Leach and Ieyoub are splitting up the black vote I'll have my fingers crossed for Lieutenant Governor Blanco.

other races of interest 

Secretary of State: Fox McKeithen declared winner by WAFB. He's polling at 72% with over fifty percent reporting.

Lt. Gov: Landrieu-52%, Holloway-20%, Schwegman-17% This one is still way too close to make a real prediction, but it's looking good for Landrieu

Attorney General Foti-54% (370,000); Terrell 46% (317,000) Looking good for Foti, but there are a lot of votes left, so we'll see.


10:00 pm update 

In the "no shit" move of the night, WAFB just declared Jindal the winner of the primary. No call on the second place candidate yet. Here's the numbers with 55% reporting

Jindal-33 (267,000)
Blanco-17 (134,000)
Ieyoub-17 (130,000)
Leach-14 (106,000)
Ewing-9 (66,000)
Downer-5 (40,000)

Notice Leach kicking up a few notches in his percentage. As I said over the last few days, he and Ieyoub have been underpolling. Ieyoub still is in the best position with Orleans Parish yet to come in. We'll see as the night rolls in.

9:30 pm update 

The Baton Rouge anchor assures me via broadcast that black precincts are slow to report tonight. This news should please Ieyoub. Blanco better find voters somewhere.

Jindal-34 (118,000)
Blanco-18 (62,000)
Ieyoub-16 (55,000)
Leach-12 (42,000)
Ewing-10 (36,000)
Downer6 (19,000)

9:00 update 

The secretary of State must be swamped because I can't access their numbers. I'll update by television until I can get on. Still no results by parish, but I think my predictions from earlier are holding up. This is with 11% reporting.

Jindal-34
Blanco-20
Ieyoub-16
Leach-10
Ewing-10
Downer-6

From what the anchors are saying we still haven't seen results from any of my indicator parishes. As long as Ieyoub stays strong without those numbers, he's my favorite for second place. Be back in about thirty minutes.

17 of over 4,000 reporting 

not giving results by parish just yet, because there aren't enough precincts reporting. With 17 precincts in (don't know where)

Jindal 25%
Blanco 23%
Ieyoub 16%
Ewing 15%
Leach 8%
Downer 5%

Without the origin of these votes I can't make any analysis. I'm just reporting what I see. Keep checking back. Updates every half hour.

where to go 

I can't vouch for this site because it had a lot of problems posting up to the minute results during the Senate runoff last December, but they are billing themselves as the place to go for election results, so you can check them out here.

There's an hour until the polls close and then it won't be long until we see our first returns. I'll try to get the parishes I see as indicators out as quick as possible from what they air on the bottom of the local affiliates, but if you're desperate go to the site above.

One of those things I should have known 

The only interesting thing I found in the paper this morning surprisingly came out of the Lafayette's awful Daily Advertiser. It seems that Lafayette doesn't submit partial counts of their vote to the Secretary of State's office. They don't send in a number until they get all their precints in. Normally this wouldn't be a big deal, but Blanco's chance for the runoff could hinge on how strong the Acadiana area comes out in support of her candidacy, and since Lafayette Parish is the largest in Acadiana it could make or brake her chances.

For election watchers, I suggest you look at what kind of support Ieyoub gets from Orleans Parish and the northern LA river parishes where there is a high percentage of black voters. If these parishes are solidly supporting Ieyoub I think my prediction will bear out, if not the whole thing is up for grabs. I'll keep you guys informed as the results come in.

How I voted 

It's no surprise that I pulled the lever for Blanco this morning, but I don't keep secrets, so I'll tell you how I went down the rest of the ballot. We'll compare my voting to the results once they get in. I usually don't do the best job of voting for winners though, so don't think my votes are any indication of how the election will play out.

Gov: Blanco
Lt. Gov: M. Landrieu
Attorney Gen.: Foti
Sec. of State: Al Donovan
Commis of Ag. and Forestry: Bob Odom
Insurance Commis: Robert Wooley
State Senator: Michot and Vidrine on Ballot, did not vote
Sheriff (Lafayette Parish): Mike Neustrom
Coroner: Ed Day
City Parish President: Glenn Weber
Council: Jerry Trumps
Amendments (List only includes numbers I voted "for"): 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12

That's how I voted, and that's who I endorse, so get out and vote early and often. If you're unsure of yourself, just defer to my list because you won't go wrong.

03 October 2003

Bayou Buzz: long on wind, short on predictions 

I enjoy the political analysis over at Bayou Buzz, but you have to hand it to them for not going out on a limb the day before the election. Today they have two of Louisiana's premiere political analysts essentially saying, "I don't know." (Check them out here and here) Well I'm sure that you all, my loyal readers, have come to expect more from me than I don't know, so I'm ready to make some fearless predictions about tomorrow's elections.

Bobby Jindal (R)-29%
Richard Ieyoub (D)-20%
Kathleen Blanco (D)-17%
Buddy Leach (D)-13%
Randy Ewing (D)-11%
Hunt Downer (R)-8%
other candidates-2%

First of all, let me say that I hope I'm wrong here. I've made clear that I want to see Kathleen Blanco in a runoff. I very much believe that she is the only Democrat capable of defeating Jindal head to head, so if I'm wrong and she makes it in, I certainly won't be crying about my poor prediction skills. However, that Kennedy poll that I mentioned this morning really is alarming to me on closer inspection. It's a tracking poll and shows clear loss of support, and I haven't seen her attempt to stop that bleeding in any way over the last few days. Also, I've been contending that Ieyoub (and probably Leach) are underpolling. The reason for this is the support they have among black political machines around the state which polls consistently underestimate when surveying likely voters. It looks like both men are pouring campaign dollars into their canvassing efforts, so you should expect at least solid turnout by black voters tomorrow. I believe that is what will push Ieyoub into second place.

If you're interested I'd love to see your own predictions and your criticisms of what I'm submitting. Feel free to make them in comments or by email. When this is all said and done, somebody could have quite a claim to bragging rights. To tell you the truth, I just don't want to be the only eating crow if I'm wrong tomorrow night.


Get to City Park 

Any Democrats from the New Orleans area who want some free food, drink, and maybe some music should get to Marconi Meadows in City Park tonight at 6:00 pm. Democratic candidates for all offices will be there alongside Senator Mary Landrieu and Mayor Ray Nagin for "an old fashioned Democratic rally." Go show them your support and help get the party faithful riled up to get to the polls tomorrow. Press release

Federal buildings in LA are safe from terrorists this weekend 

Why the title? Because every fifteen passanger van in the state has been rented already.

I've been talking a lot about get out the vote machinery over the last few weeks, and this is what I've meant. Cleo Fields has rented fifty of the large vans just for his organization (they're supporting Leach). He's got them hooked up to a central dispatching unit at his headquarters and will be directing them to neglected precints all around the Baton Rouge area to pick up voters and get them to the polls. Of course Fields is hardly the only political organizer doing this, that's why:

Pity the church youth group or sports team that planned an outing this weekend and needs to rent a big van.
They're up the creek. A check of car-rental outlets turned up not a single 15-passenger van to rent anywhere in the state this week.

Election Day is Saturday, and political organizations need hundreds of those big vans.

A few of those vans are busy delivering signs and other campaign paraphernalia.

All of them should be busy all day Saturday, zipping around the state's major cities, transporting campaign workers or carrying voters to the polls.

Calls to several Baton Rouge rental agencies drew chuckles. They had no vans in the area and no vans in Shreveport, New Orleans or Lake Charles.


This is the kind of in-the-trenches work of politics that can decide elections, and I find it pretty fascinating. If you're in Louisiana on Saturday, keep your eyes out for the Fields vans. You may be able to hitch a ride to your precint, then do me a favor and vote for Blanco.


Ieyoub runs disgusting ad, maybe Limbaugh will campaign for him next 

Ieyoub is being criticized today for a truly insulting ad that ran on New Orleans radio stations over the last week. Read about here. Essentially the ad is a criticism of Leach over the past allegations of vote buying against him, but this ad is so terribly offensive it's hard find words to describe it. I'll quote the narration and let you decide:

There's a man from the past who ruled in Vernon and Caddo, which lie in the shadow of the Klan, which is where this man got indicted for buying votes--as in buying black folks as if we were for sale.

People went to jail, but Massa Claude went free.

[He] comes off his plantation with some lame explanation about helping black folk. "Here's a dollar boy, vote for me. You'll see. I'll be your friend."

"You ain't my friend, Massa Claude. Trying to buy my people, steal our votes, kill our dream, then make it seem like you the man."


Ieyoub has since pulled the ad, but this is the culmination of some pretty nasty stuff going on between Leach and Ieyoub. What they could end up doing is driving down black turnout enough that neither one of them has a constituency with the strength to push them past Blanco tomorrow. I doubt this is the case, but both candidates really should be ashamed for the way they've patronized black voters in this election with their insidious ads.

Leaked poll numbers 

These numbers from Verne Kennedy's Marketing Research Insight poll are more consistent with other recent polls than the Mason and Dixon poll I showed you yesterday. The news should still concern Blanco who has seen a steady drop in her support over the last two weeks, but she at least has something to be optimistic about after yesterday's alarming numbers.

I'm a pessimist, so I'll stick to my gut feeling yesterday and repeat at this point that the second slot is still Ieyoub's to lose regardless of what the Kennedy poll says. I hope I'm wrong, but sometimes you've got to get your fears out in the open. I honestly don't even know what Blanco can do to shore up enough percentage of the electorate for second place except pray that lots of black men don't vote tomorrow. From what I've read she doesn't have a lot of canvassing activity around the state; she doesn't have a lot of vans going to pick up her voters; and she doesn't seem to have any major events scheduled the day before the election. Things are not looking good.(disclaimer: I think everyone should vote and wouldn't wish any particular group of any kind to stay home tomorrow. I'm simply making a statement about what it will probably take at this point to get Blanco into the runoff)


by the way, here are the numbers for those who don't like to use hyperlinks.

Jindal-23%
Blanco-16%
Ieyoub-11%
Ewing-10%
Leach-9%
Downer-6%

A full quarter of the voters are undecided, but a third of those are blacks who will likely be split by Leach and Ieyoub, leaving about sixteen percent of the field up for grabs come tomorrow. Blanco's only hope may lay in undecideds who still haven't made up their minds when getting to the polls and then vote for the name they've known and trusted over the last twenty years (see I can be optimistic too).

Impressions from last night 

Radiohead was fantastic last night. They're quite a sight live and on stage. I'm exhausted after a late drive back to Lafayette and an early rise this morning, but my dedication to you, the readers, knows no bounds. So I'll be hitting you with all the latest LA election news as stories develop over the next two days.

By the way, anyone who enjoys rock music should avoid concerts in NOLA like the plague. I've been to three or four shows now at UNO Lakefront Arena, and the crowds there are always dead. They stand on the floor like stoned sloths, waiting for some indication to cheer. If I didn't like Radiohead so much and enjoy their live act, I would have been very disheartened. That's all I'll say about it.

02 October 2003

Gone for the day 

I'm on my way out to New Orleans for tonight's Radiohead concert, so I probably won't have any new posts for the rest of the night. I might get something out in the wee hours, but don't count on it because I doubt I'll be interested in reading about Rush Limbaugh's drug problem after a two hour drive at 2:00 in the morning.

Thanks to the encouraging words from some of the readers about the content on Timshel. If you have any requests please feel free to email me, but until then keep coming by to check out the blog. I appreciate all the support.

Is someone at The Advocate reading Timshel? 

I doubt it, but take a look at this post and then go look at this story. I'm glad that Scott Dyer can see that Jindal is trying to have it both ways in the election, and his story is a lot more comprehensive than my post on the subject. The moderates who have hope in Bobby Jindal need to look at the divisive campaign he's running on talk radio stations around the state and seriously consider where he stands. This demonizing of liberals has got to stop, and Jindal is only exacerbating it.

In other news there are some good roundups of last night's forum from the major papers around the state. You can read them here, here, and here. My general impression is that the candidates played nice, mostly because they didn't have a whole lot of opportunities to address each other. Blanco finally sounded like she wasn't nervous and understood all the issues in this campaign, but it might be too little too late for her at this point.

Finally, has Douglas Manship called off the dogs on Jindal and the Saints? I don't know, but they headline this in his paper this morning, "Jindal Breaks Silence on Saints." I guess Jindal finally stopped stonewalling on all issues of fundraising, but I don't see how he has really changed his message at all. He still seems to be saying that he won't be affected by big donors in the way he governs. That's good news, but did anyone at The Advocate expect him to say anything different, or did they just want another reason to tie Jindal to the Tom Benson in a story two days before the election? You be the judge.

Bad news for Blanco 

The Advertiser reports some very interesting polling data conducted by Mason and Dixon Polling and Research, Inc. this morning. Jindal has extended his lead over the field, and Blanco has lost support while falling into a statistical tie with Attorney General Richard Ieyoub. This does not bode well for Blanco because most of the undecideds voters to be courted are black voters, and Ieyoub polls better than Blanco by two to one among blacks. The poll was conducted Monday and Tuesday night. I don't know much about Mason and Dixon's reliability, but news services all over the country rely pretty heavily on them for polling data. The results show what most experts predicted about this race from the get-go, namely that Blanco initial support was a result of name recognition and whither on the vine after more savvy politicians started heating up their campaigning. After the last week or so, I thought Blanco would prove them wrong. Now I'm not so sure. If you don't want to go read it, here are the numbers

Jindal-27%
Blanco-16%
Ieyoub-15%
Leach-11%
Ewing-8%
Undecided-17%

I don't know why the newspaper doesn't provide a number for Downer, except that he has been polling terrible all along and it's possible that he's not high enough to warrant a mention anymore.

The other race of interest to me is the Foti-Terrell Attorney General election, which will be decided on Saturday because they are the only two candidates. It's a statistical tie right now. Foti is at 42 and Terrell is at 41, so that will be an interesting race to watch come election night.

Things look to be very interesting going into election day. Blanco can still get herself into a runoff, but I think it's Ieyoub's race to lose at this point. I didn't feel that way a week ago, but if this poll has any validity, Blanco should be extremely worried. Ieyoub's got political machinery in place to get out the black vote that Blanco couldn't dream of (remember that according to a very knowledgeable friend of mine in a previous post, I mentioned Ieyoub was probably under polling, well he probably still is). Blanco is going to have to do something in the next 48 hours if she wants to get herself into the runoff. It's possible if she gets more canvassing on the ground and gets an ad blitz out there, but does she have the fight in her? I hope so, because I don't think Ieyoub has a chance against Jindal. We'll know for sure soon though.

Update @ 10:30 am for clarity and to fix links.

01 October 2003

SCLM triumphs over right-wing blowhard 

Give a hand to the So-Called-Liberal-Media tonight. Rush Limbaugh has resigned from ESPN NFL Sunday Countdown. After a brutal day in the press for his remarks about social engineers in the media hyping Donovan McNabb because he's black, Limbaugh issued his resignation to ESPN executives.

Maybe his resignation had more to do with the story about the apparent drug sting against him as reported in Drudge today than it did about his racism. Whatever the reason doesn't really matter to me. I've got no love for Rush and have been quite upset over his recent foray back into the mainstream, so this is great news to me. Rush's sinister dialogue belongs to the lunatics who devour his message on talk radio, not the friendly confines of Sunday morning football analysis on arguably the best sports show on television. Football fans rejoice!

Now if the Saints could just pick up a win.

The Louisiana Republican Party proves that they can google 

Today the LAGOP went to the steps of the state capital to release a gigantic report of "charges" against Orleans Parish Sheriff and Attorney General candidate Charles Foti. Their website, where you can download the 242 page report, bills the documents as a collection of 250 newspaper articles from around the state compiling thirty years of charges against the Democrat. See the press release of the event here.

I don't plan to spend an hour downloading the report from the website, but feel free if you're interested. I just did a google search and Charles Foti registered more than 8,500 results, and I suspect that lagop at least has access to lexis/nexis, so they should be way out in front of my research capabilities. I don't feel like I'm on solid ground here since I haven't seen the report, but I will say that I seriously doubt that it provides an accurate assessment of Foti's seven term career as Sheriff of O.P. By most accounts he spent his twenty odd years in New Orleans cleaning up one of the more corrupt offices in the Parish. With any office that big in a city that big, problems arise, and the boss always gets the blame. There are certainly more than a few charges that should give voters some pause about Foti, but does Suzanne Terrell offer any reason at all to suggest that she is capable of handling the office of Attorney General?

She provides no specifics on issues except "tort-reform," and on that issue she parrots the line of insurance companies and the business lobby, who are certainly not interested in the rights of labor or middle-class professionals. I don't see Terrell offering any positive reasons to support her. She did the same thing against Landrieu and she paid the price in defeat. Lets help make this the last office she ever runs for in Louisiana.

But the Bush administration doesn't look at the polls 

Via atrios, we get the news of this WAPO poll regarding the Plame Affair. 69% favor an investigation "with autonomy from the White House," and 72% believed that the leak originated in the White House. It appears that the President has successfully managed to isolate himself from the source of the scandal. Only 34% of the respondents thought he knew anything about the situation "in advance" of the leaks. Surprisingly 52% of Republican respondents also favored a special counsel investigation with autonomy from the White House. You wouldn't know it if you've listened to Rush over the last few days, though you'd know a lot about how hard-hitting he's being for ESPN. There's a lot of information in the accompanying story, so go check it out.

I don't know how much I'm going to get into this Plame Affair except to keep you up on major developments. Generally news comes a lot slower than I would like it to, so reading the blogs about a scandal of this nature can get tiresome pretty quickly. Most of what you read is one blogger refuting the arguments of another blogger as to what will happen next, or why this is or isn't important. I'm not interested in those things. I want to know what happened, so I'll leave it to the major dailies to dig up the truth to this whole controversy. That doesn't mean I'm not going to be reading the blogs, but I won't be commenting on them too much. If you're curious the best source of new information and parsing mysterious reporter speak is at Talking Points Memo; Eschaton is the best for sheer volume and dedication; and Kevin Drum is doing fantastic work destroying GOP talking point arguments as to why this isn't really a scandal. They're doing the great work and get the Timshel stamp of approval.

And down the stretch they come 

Robert Travis Scott has a very comprehensive report of the major issues and strategies facing each candidate as election day approaches. This seems like very good reporting and deserves attention.

Jindal's relentless pandering angers a federal judge 

In July Federal Judge Stanwood Duval blocked the further issuing of specialty plates (not to be confused with personalized plates), because of the way the state approves which plates are produced. Republicans and Democrats were upset about the ruling, but for different reasons. Attorney General Richard Ieyoub put lawyers on the case because he sees the license plates as a particularly lucrative source of revenue. Republicans were obviously pretty upset because they saw it as restriction of motorists rights to express their views on abortion. In his decision Duval wrote:

If the state built a convention hall for speech and then only allowed people to speak with whom they agreed with their message, the state's actions would be in contravention of the First Amendment. There is no significant difference in the case before the court.


Frankly, that seems pretty reasonable to me. To make a simple analogy, if the state issues license plates for Planned Parenthood, what is the likelihood that the Louisiana Communist Party would have the same access to specialized tags? Or what if the Louisiana Democratic Party wanted to produce their own license plate? It is unlikely that under the current system all viewpoints would be protected, and that is the heart of the Duval's opinion.

This has been a cause celebre (poor context?) for right-to-lifers since the ruling went through, and now Bobby Jindal is sending out direct mail attacking the judge who made the decision. According to The Pic his literature reads:

Recently, a judge appointed by Bill Clinton ordered Louisiana to stop issuing new pro-life license plates. Furthermore, this left-wing judge stopped Louisiana from issuing new plates honoring veterans as well. . . . This may seem trivial to some folks. But to conservatives that have grown up in Louisiana, like me, this is just another example of how traditional Judeo-Christian values are under attack.


The judge saw the letter and immediately sent a letter to the Jindal campaign (and the press?) saying that it was insulting. I doubt it will go much farther than that, but it's good to see a reasonable man stick up for himself.

Jindal has been feeding at the trough of right-wing radio approved liberal slurs since this campaign started. We don't see a lot of them in the mainstream press, because he has carefully coordinated his advertising to leave the right-wing pandering to the air-time of radio blowhards like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, where their commercial slots are inundated by Jindal ads smearing liberals and trumpeting his "Christian values." This allows Jindal to appear moderate to people who don't know any better, but shore up his winger-vote with patronizing talk about values and "left-wing" media.

So which is it Bobby J.? Are you a moderate or a dyed in the wool conservative? I hope he doesn't get away with this through the runoff, but I have my doubts about the ability of the LA voters to put two and two together.

30 September 2003

I wonder how much this study costs. . . 

Talk about your pork. Check out this headline from the Old Grey Lady:

Bush-Appointed Panel Finds US Image Abroad is in Peril

I guess I don't need to say too much about that.

New Orleans on the silver screen 

There are plenty of arguments to be made about the literary worth of A Confederacy of Dunces, but most readers find it almost undeniably hilarious. Whatever you may think, I'd say it's pretty good news that after years of talk, it seems that they'll finally start production of the film this spring in the Crescent City. I had heard long ago that (okay maybe not that long ago) that the actor slated to portray Ignatius Reilly was one of my favorites, Phillip Hoffman, but it seems now that Will Ferrell is attached to the project. I don't have any problems with this, since I find Ferrell to be a brilliant comedian, but it sure would have been nice to see Hoffman in the lead role.

Regular readers of Chris Rose in New Orleans probably already knew this, but I post these links at my convenience, and it slipped my mind when I first saw the column. Here it is about a week late.

If you haven't read the book, go to Amazon and buy it. This should be required reading for anyone who has ever spent time in New Orleans. There is no better portrayal of the city in fiction anywhere.

Update @ 11:33 pm to include link and for clarity.

technical problems corrected? 

According to blogger support staff member Steve, they have supposedly corrected the problem that was causing some readers' browsers to only display part of Timshel. If anyone is still experiencing difficulty viewing the entire page please email me at crawlingwestward@yahoo.com

I'm sorry for any inconveniences that this may have caused my dedicated readers. I know how important it is for you all to see my incomparable analysis of state and national politics. Now we can get back to the serious business of saving the world.

There's a terrible week or two ahead for the Bush Administration 

The New York Times puts the story of New Bridge Strategies on their front page today. If you get the print edition it's just a hop, skip, and a jump away from their first story about Valerie Plame and the investigation soon to be launched by the Justice Department.

The story basically sums up the enormous conflicts of interest and cronyism that typify the business of going into business in Iraq. Go take a look at it and then go visit Talking Points Memo. Josh Marshall was all over this story before the weekend started, and he seems to get attributed by virtue of his work on the story for The Hill. Start here and scroll up through the numerous posts about the way they've tried to doctor their website and partnership agreement to avoid looking so bad. I think this is Marshall's final word on New Bridge Strategies, so you can confine your scrolling to those two bookends.

I bet things are just peachy in the White House today. It's one thing after another for them. General Rove won't have enough grenades left to crush the finally attacking wathdogs in the press. I suspect Bush's approval ratings will be dropping into the low forties if this keeps up for another week or two. Terror alert orange, here we come.


The rest of the story from last night's forum 

Before I get into this I should make a correction that last night I stated that this was the last forum between the major candidates. Actually there is at least one more Wednesday night and it will be covered by WWL-TV. Also comments seem to be down today, so if you'd like to reply to any posts, I can't help you. Keep checking in though, because you never know when BlogSpeak will fix them.

Meanwhile The Associated Press, The Times-Picayune and The Advertiser all managed to report on last night's forum and mention the Jindal flap without basing their entire coverage of the meeting on Jindal's ties to the Saints (Jesus, I'm starting to feel like Andrew Sullivan with his constant references to the BBC as the Baghdad Broadcasting Corporation. I'll try to get my posting about this under control, I swear). Go take a look at them and decide for yourselves.

In other news, Secretary of State Fox McKeithen is predicting better than average voter turnout for Saturday's election. He based this on the news of very high turnout for absentee voting. It's hard to estimate what kind of an impact this will have on the race, but it should be noted that the highest parish absentee turnout came from East Baton Rouge Parish, an area where Jindal has found his strongest support throughout the race.

Will The Advocate ever let this story go? 

WBRZ in Baton Rouge hosted a candidate forum tonight featuring the six remaining major candidates for the office. I'd imagine that there was some discussion other than Bobby Jindal's connection to Saints owner Tom Benson, but you'd never know it from The Advocate's coverage. The headline, which will likely appear on page one this morning judging from its prominence on the website, reads, "Candidates attack Jindal's ties to Saints owner." The story manages to quote Ewing, Leach, and Downer piling on the story that the Baton Rouge paper has been driving.

Ewing did so by forcing Jindal to answer a charge made by, you guessed it, The Advocate. (The funniest parts of these forums has been how polite the candidates are to each other when they attack each other, take a look at this one)

"Bobby, I know you've probably been steaming all day about this article in The Advocate, talking about you going down to New Orleans in a big suite and raising $90,000 from (Saints owner) Tom Benson and his buddies," Democratic former state Senate President Randy Ewing said during a forum featuring the six major candidates in Saturday's election.

. . .

"I know you're a decent, ethical person, but it looks like to me you're trying to have it both ways on this deal -- you say in this article that you don't want to talk about your finances, but how do you explain that? Finances and the way we operate are connected," Ewing asked.


The quote the reporters gather from Leach came from an interview they conducted after the forum, and I imagine that he was asked about the situation directly since the way he's quoted seems like a response to a direct question. He said, "it does cast aspersions when you take money from someone the state continually has to bail out."

To be fair the story briefly makes mention of another flare up between Blanco and Ieyoub that occurred during the forum. Keep in mind though, that this story which is ostensibly about a candidate forum that lasted an hour and a half focused two thirds of a roughly one thousand word story to an exchange that probably took all of six minutes. The other third was dedicated to a distorted charge about Blanco's record as PSC. Fink and Dyer focus mainly on Blanco's defense of that charge, but seem to give its airing a fair shake.

So there you go, you have the last candidate forum before the primary election and The Advocate devotes nearly it's entire coverage--as far as I can tell from the website, this is the only story about the forum in the whole edition, but I'll confirm that for sure when I look at the paper in the morning--to an attack made against Jindal's connection to Tom Benson. Is it possible that there could have been any other news made at this forum. Judging from past gathering I can assure that it's very possible that there actually wasn't, but I seriously doubt that. It looks like it's just another chance to rake Benson and the Saints over the coals. I am not going to vote for Jindal, but the more I see this story about his fundraising in Benson's box I lose respect for the paper which I generally hold to be A number 1 in this state. Why is there no reporting about Blanco and Jindal's cash from Oil companies? They've certainly contributed far more to the candidates for governor than Benson has. For God's sake, Jindal has raised well over a million dollars to run this campaign, and this paper can't stop talking about a piddling $27,000 raised during a Saints game. C'mon guys, you can do better than this.

29 September 2003

Bobby Jindal also regularly changes diapers and helps old ladies cross the street 

Here's the AP's Adam Nossiter on Bobby Jindal. It's got a lot about style and once again raises the specter of the Indian "hordes" funding Jindal's campaign, but at least he manages to put a human face on the fundraising, as he quotes one supporter:

"We all are proud of his accomplishments," said A.K. Mago, chairman of the Greater Dallas Indo-American Chamber of Commerce. "For us living in other states, it's up to us to support him financially. The community as a whole has done fund-raisers for him in every major city."


The story is mostly about Jindal proving LA observers wrong that the state's white vote is too racist to put an Indian in the governor's mansion. Nossiter writes:

"Louisiana is still a racist state," veteran native political consultant Raymond Strother said recently, explaining why he thought it unlikely the moderately dark-skinned Bobby Jindal could be elected.

That was the conventional wisdom when Jindal, a 32-year-old Rhodes scholar with a reputation as a healthcare policy whiz kid, left the Bush administration seven months ago to run for governor.

But Jindal's resume, combined with an in-your-face, hard-right conservatism, has neutralized race as an issue.


I'm all for breaking color barriers, but if the only way to do it takes installing a man who constantly panders to the voters who wish we could get our way back to the good old days of the south, I'd prefer we just wait a little longer before we break it.


Feeding the masses 

Considering it's Monday before a major state election, there is surprisingly little news about anything gubernatorial today. I linked to this article as an aside in my previous post, but I think it deserves a little attention on it's own because it is a fairly interesting article about how the leading candidates for governor are coordinating their canvassing over next five days. For anyone who has ever worked on a campaign it's politics 101, but for others who might be interested in what people do in get-out-the-vote efforts you should give this a look-see. I should be back to more regular posting for the next few days, so keep checking in as I feed you the latest updates on the LA race for governor.

You can't always get what you want, 

and you're lucky when you get what you need. I'll admit that there are a hundred things to be concerned about in the world today. Every morning we wake up to news of Americans lost in overseas engagements; allegations that top White House officials are involved in felonius conduct that literally puts the lives of faceless men and women across the globe at risk; there is an election for governor in a state that has clearly reached a crossroads in it's political and social path to the future. Just these issues are enough to be concerned about, and there are undoubtedly so many more. So with all this on our plates, why can't I get my mind of the goddamned New Orleans Saints?

I invest countless hours every week to following the news of injured players, coaching strategies, practice sessions, and opponents, and the team can't seem to devote three hours on a Sunday to professional conduct. The men in this organization are paid millions of dollars to show a modicum of ability on the field, yet they have consistently played without pride, anger, or seemingly any emotion whatsoever.

I have been to more games at the Superdome than I can remember, but I don't think I have ever seen a performance as absolutely pitiful as the one I witnessed last night. There are no excuses for a professional organization (no matter how many injuries, bad calls, or off-the-field distractions) to put a package together like the one that is being sold to the fans all across the Gulf South who root for the Saints every year. Today is my birthday, and I can't get this debacle out of my head long enough to enjoy myself. I sincerely believe that this team is capable of better play than they've exhibited so far this season, but I'm not getting my hopes up about it any time soon. They still have a lot to prove.

Adding insult to injury, The Advocate runs the headline on this morning's lead editorial, "No more susidies for Benson's Aints." I guess the editorial board over in Baton Rouge couldn't have been more pleased with the Saint's performance last night so they could fire off another salvo in their on-going war against Tom Benson and his franchise. The editorial states, "Keeping the Saints in Louisiana costs the state $3 million this year under a contract that required the state to pay the team because stadium-generated revenue did not cover the contract commitment." I believe that there is a reasonable argument to be made for ending subsidies to businesses that can't operate effectively in a free-market, but not present in this editorial is any consideration of the economic impact that the very presence of a professional football team has on the state of Louisiana. Just the income tax alone that players pay to the state is worth several hundred thousand dollars. Not to mention the fact that every eight weeks is like having a different far-flung city hold a convention of some of it's wealthier citizens in New Orleans, as their fans flock to the restaurants, commerical districs, and hotels of the metro-area, generating countless tax dollars and commercial revenue for businesses all over the state.

The Advocate has used the occasion of another Saints defeat to take a cheap shot against Benson, who has proven himself at every opportunity to be dedicated to the long-term health of the city of New Orleans, and therefore the state of Louisiana. I'm pissed off at the paper over in Baton Rouge for forcing me to defend a team when I'm so mad about their terrible play, but that's the way it will have to be, I guess. So fuck you, Douglas Manship (publisher of the newspaper), I know you're responsible for this.

28 September 2003

Every time I come around here . . . bling, bling 

One more post before I sign out for my leave to NOLA: The cash money is flying fast and furious for the gubernatorial candidates in next week's election. The Advocate's Chris Fink has a rundown on the finances for the participants. The paper's reporters won't lay off Jindal's out of state fundraising. Check out these grafs:

Republican former state and federal health-care official Bobby Jindal finished the reporting period with $1.35 million on hand -- more than twice as much as any other candidate.

Jindal reported spending only $266,000 during the period that he raised $361,000. He raised another $129,000 after Sept. 14.

Of the $490,000 Jindal has raised since Aug. 26, $122,000 -- or about 25 percent -- came from out-of-state contributors. Jindal's previous reports show about 38 percent of his contributions came from out of state.

His non-Louisiana contributors are primarily south Asian Americans in Texas, California and the Washington, D.C., area.


The only people who have made any hay over Jindal's out of state contributors have been reporters at The Advocate. I'm glad that they are keeping voters informed that Jindal is cultivating ties to out of state interests, but if they have such a problem with it that writers have mentioned the money in consecutive Sunday editions then their editorial board should tell us why. At this point they still haven't.

Instead, the editorial board at the Baton Rouge paper seems to be telling it's readers that they aren't endorsing anyone just yet in the Governor's race or for their local leadership. Two editorials in the paper this Sunday make a point to criticize all the candidates for a failure to address the issues that will really affect Louisiana over the coming years. You can read them here and here. With a week to go and no endorsements from their editors yet, I wouldn't be surprised if we don't get one at all until the runoff. I'll keep you informed as the week goes on, but until then I'll be drinking beer and yelling for Deuce McAllister to run all over Indie's stoppers and for native son Peyton Manning to fall flat on his face against the "vaunted" (I know that's wishful thinking) Saints defense.

Keep this story alive! 

I'll be in NOLA tailgating most of the day and attending the Saints-Colts game tomorrow night, so before I leave I have an obligation to mention this story to the ten or so regular visitors to this site. As most liberals who follow the news and lefty blogs already know, a senior administration official (i.e. someone at the cabinet level, a top adviser, or the veep, or president) leaked the identity of Valerie Plame as a CIA operative. This action put the life of a very important CIA officer at risk for the sole purpose of revenge, and it probably violates various federal laws. If there is truth to this story it characterizes the true mission of the men and women inside the Bush administration: they don't care about the security of this country if it at all diminishes their ideology or their tenuous grip on power. This story has heated up significantly over the weekend because the CIA formally requested that John Ashcroft's Justice Department investigate. This is the key point from The Washington Post:

The intentional disclosure of a covert operative's identity can violate federal law.

A senior administration official said two top White House officials called at least six Washington journalists and revealed the identity and occupation of Wilson's wife. That was shortly after Wilson revealed in July that the CIA had sent him to Niger last year to look into the uranium claim and that he had found no evidence to back up the charge. Wilson's account eventually touched off a controversy over Bush's use of intelligence as he made the case for attacking Iraq.

"Clearly, it was meant purely and simply for revenge," the senior official said of the alleged leak.


Josh Marshall has been on this story all weekend. It's important for anyone who wants to see this administration take any responsibility for their actions over the last three years to understand the ins and outs of this situation and to demand that the media and the Justice Department take an active role in seeking the truth behind the recriminations against Joseph Wilson and his wife Valerie Plame. To get the whole story as it has developed in the media so far, go to this TPM post and scroll up to Josh Marshell's latest comment. I promise it's worth it.

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