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22 November 2003

Oh well 

Even the best of us can't be right all the time. Admittedly my prediction of a 33-27 Ole Miss victory was a little off, but you can't punish a guy for dreaming. I'll talk to you guys later.

We're all human 

Just when you thought Josh Marshall was a respectable journalist he goes and puts up a post about feeling old. Since TPM so rarely posts about his personal life outside of a few remarks as an aside of a larger post, it's almost strange to remember he's just like the rest of most bloggers around the world. It's kind of sweet.

I've been drinking too much. . .

21 November 2003

All apologies 

Sorry for light posting today, but I can't seem to stop playing this game.

Thanks for nothing to the folks at b3ta.com

Welcome to Timshel 

Mark Adams introduces himself in comments to take offense at my characterization of the US government as "mobsters demanding protection money." I maybe should have been more clear that I was characterizing Lileks reaction to Salam's lack of gratitude, not the US government. But it's hard to call the US anything other than an occupying power right now. They are doing their damndest to install Ahmad Chalabi as the head of any kind of quasi-democratic Iraq, because they're terrified that allowing the Iraqis to pick their own leader would result in anti-American radicalism sponsored by Tehran. The situation is a real mess, and I've avoided the subject on this blog because I don't feel comfortable writing about something that I don't know all the ins and outs of. However if Iraqis aren't exactly pleased with what American sponsored "freedom" has spawned so far, it's hard to get too mad at them.

Ken in comments considers that Lileks' anger is directed at Salam's snarky attitude regarding the whole affair and how he seems to have come out on top now that he's in London, but is still criticizing the American effort. Fair enough, but that's not the impression I got from the Lileks piece. I'll leave it at that though.

I wrote this to welcome to Mr. Adams to the growing community of Louisiana bloggers. Even if he doesn't like the way I talk about our fine country he's welcome to stop by here any day. His blog is called is called Down to Piraeus and he appears to be getting down to business somewhere around Alexandria. He unfortunately isn't using the same template as Timshel, Naked Furniture, and the 2millionthweblog, but I'll forgive him for that. I'll add you to my blogroll as soon as I feel like dealing with it again. You go in my section at the bottom reserved for righties though.

Narcissus 

The blog world went crazy over James Lileks' open letter to Baghdad blogger Salam Pax today. Here's one view from the right and another from the left. It's hard to argue with Drezner's logic:

Hey, James? Fuck you. I know you're the talented writer-blogger whose dyspeptic rants make Dennis Miller look like a washed-up sports broadcaster. In this case, however, you're absolutely correct on one thing -- you know a hell of a lot less about this subject than Salam Pax.

You're absolutely right -- Salam and his buddies would never have taken up arms to overthrow Saddam. Of course, that may have something to do with the fact that back in 1991, when President Bush encouraged ordinary Iraqis to overthrow Saddam, the results weren't so good.


He goes on from there, but that's the gist of it. There's nothing like demanding gratitude from the people you "liberate" in occupation. It's vaguely reminiscent of mobsters wiping the run of the mill crime off the streets and then demanding money from the local businesses for protection. Oh well, just go follow the flap for yourselves.

Getting this out of the way. . . 

I don't talk about much football in this space besides the occasional update on the status of my beloved New Orleans Saints. However, since this is agruably the biggest game in the recent history of either LSU or the University of Mississippi, I feel like I have to spend at least a minute or two putting a post together about the LSU-Ole Miss matchup slated for this weekend.

I've been exchanging emails with a few friends from LSU over the last few days and all but assured them that the Rebels of Ole Miss will vanquish the LSU Tigers hope of a national championship when they meet Saturday afternoon. The responses I got were LSU 24-Ole Miss 14; LSU 46-Ole Miss 10; and LSU 35-Ole Miss 28.

Now in the first post I made to this blog I promised to engage in some LSU bashing, and that's what I'm finally going to do right now. LSU has been overrated from the beginning of this football season. The SEC is not as strong a conference as it has been in the last few years, and LSU's loss to Florida showed how a quarterback with even the inkling of a head on his shoulders can exploit LSU's blitz-from-every-direction defense. It's unclear whether Mississippi has the defense to stop LSU surprisingly impressive offense, so I'm expecting a bit of a shootout. My bold prediction is Ole Miss 33-LSU 29. Ole Miss fans tear down both goal posts and Deuce McAllister gets so excited by the win that rushes for 235 yards against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. Any thoughts?

Cannon fodder 

Apparently some cannons that were dredged up from the bottom of the Yazoo River in Mississippi may still contain combustibles. The cannons have been on display for nearly thirty years at the Vicksburg National Military Park.

The Cairo museum was completed in 1980 and is toured by about 900,000 people a year.

At least three of the four cannon barrels Wooten and Verbeck examined contained projectiles, and at least one of those was broken inside the barrel, she said.

Three of the cannons were 42-pound guns with rifled barrels. The other was a 32-pound, smoothbore cannon. Both could deliver explosive shells, examples of which are on display inside the Cairo museum.


Neoconfederates unite!! If one of those cannons goes off you may yet get your chance to refight the Civil War.

Let the games begin 

It appears that the presidential campaign will finally have two parties playing beginning this weekend. The NY Times has the goods on a new GOP advertisement produced explicitly to ask voters to reelect ol' W next November. It is supposed to start running this weekend in Iowa and New Hampshire:

The new commercial gives the first hint of the themes Mr. Bush's campaign is likely to press in its early days. It shows Mr. Bush, during the last State of the Union address, warning of continued threats to the nation: "Our war against terror is a contest of will, in which perseverance is power," he says after the screen flashes the words, "Some are now attacking the president for attacking the terrorists."

By indirectly invoking the Sept. 11 attacks, the commercial plays to what White House officials have long contended is Mr. Bush's biggest political advantage: his initial handling of the aftermath of the attacks.

. . .

The 30-second advertisement gives the first sampling of the powerful array of images Mr. Bush's campaign team will have at its disposal when it begins what is expected to be a formidable advertising campaign.

With somber strings playing in the background, the commercial flashes the words "Strong and Principled Leadership" before cutting to Mr. Bush standing before members of Congress. Intended to call out the Democrats for their opposition to Mr. Bush's military strategy of pre-emptively striking those who pose threats to the nation, the screen flashes "Some call for us to retreat, putting our national security in the hands of others," then urges viewers to tell Congress "to support the president's policy of pre-emptive self defense."

. . .

Bill Dal Col, a Republican consultant who ran Steve Forbes's primary campaigns in 1996 and 2000, argued that Mr. Clinton was a far weaker candidate then than Mr. Bush is now, and was under even greater political fire when he started his campaign.

Still, he said, the new Republican commercial was a smart bid to shape the Democratic debate from the sidelines. "In this case you balance the harsh attacks coming, but you also suck up resources they're raising and force them to spend money now," he said


So expect more straw men about Democrats who want to cut and run from Iraq (admittedly Dennis Kucinich wants this, but he's hardly a frontrunner or a representative of any Democratic Party consensus on this issue) and implications that criticism of President Bush=support for terrorism. This is nothing new, let's just hope that the eventual nominee can successfully counter these misleading attacks.

The story also suggests that this ad will be the first one to try and restate the administration strategy of preemption. I hope that we can have a national debate on this issue, but judging from the distortions that have already been made about Democrats and "the war on terror" I don't have much hope for an honest discussion on the relative merits of preemption. This is a shame because it really is the sharpest foreign policy difference that has come about during the Bush presidency, and we deserve to hear out both sides of this argument.

Finally, the last bit I quoted talks about the GOP election strategy of trying to spend Democrats out of the race by getting to the game early and forcing the DNC to up their spending ante before they'd like to. That seems like smart work for by the RNC group who has decided to produce these ads, but Kos gave us some good news regarding finances and the DNC just a couple of days ago:

Americans Coming Together (ACT) plans to raise $75 million (seeded generously by George Soros), and is well on track of meeting that goal. The AFL-CIO will probably spend $52 million, AFSCME $16 million, SEIU $4 million, Sierra Club nearly $10 million, MoveOn.org $10 million, and People for the American Way about $3 million.

The DNC plans on raising and spending $100 million in hard dollars (donate to ePatriots, link on the left column). That would put the effort at $270 million.

Our nominee should be able to raise money. If it's Dean, $100 million is not out of the realm of possibilities (he's shooting for $200 million). Other potential nominees should also be able to raise significant funds (but only if he opts out of public financing).


Good news is always just around the corner. Those are words to live by if you're a committed Democrat these days, and they became my mantra around the time last week that Blanco's polling numbers began turning around. Whatever happens next November I always love a good election. Hopefully this will be no different.

20 November 2003

So that's how it all started. . . 

From today's Altercation:

You know, you can trace the entire history of neoconservatism to the time when the then-still liberal Norman Podhoretz was having lunch with George McGovern about three decades ago, and they were picking a table to eat at and McGovern said something unkind about the looks of a woman at one table spoiling his appetite that I fear even included a canine reference. The woman turned out to be Decter, Podhoretz’s wife, and the rest is history.


I don't the validity of the claim, apparently recounted by liberal hero Sid Blumenthal, but it's too funny not to post.

I think I've died and gone to hell 

I don't think CNN has gone to a commercial since the King of Pop was apparently flying in to California on his lear jet. There hasn't been a single bit of worthwhile news on in the entire time period. I guess the other news stations are doing the same thing, but this is unbelievable. You'd think the Queen of England had died with all the non-stop coverage.

Update @ 3:41 pm: It'a miracle. Bitch and moan on a blog for a few minutes and you get results. Crossfire has just started.

and again @ 4:43 pm: After three-quarters of an hour of ceaseless Jacko coverage on Wolf Blitzer reports, Blitzer just had the gall to say something like, "and we're not neglecting other important stories: when we come back a bombing in Istanbul and President Bush in Britain." I'm glad Wolf is on top of things over there.

Go buy this 

One of the great aspects of political journals is found in their correspondence sections. Case in point is December's Harper's, which arrived in the Prado mailbox in Lafayette yesterday. It's not available online yet, but you should immediately go to your local Barnes and Noble and sit down to read it. The first letter published is from Michael Isikoff, whose coverage of the Clinton years, among other things, was reviewed by Gene Lyons in last month's issue. I'll spare you the details of their argument, but here's the heart of Isikoff's beef:

Gene Lyons falsely accuses me of journalistic deception in "The Media Is the Message" [Reviews, October]. He claims that I concealed "documentary evidence" that undermined Paula Jones's lawsuit in 1994, only to reveal that I had this evidence buried all along in a footnote in my 1999 book, Uncovering Clinton.


There's more to his defense, but like I said, I'm trying to spare you the boring details to get to the good part, which is Gene Lyons response. This may be the best thing written in the entire edition of a fine magazine:

Silly me. I plead guilty to underestimating Michael Isikoff's disingenuousness. Like Nabokov's Lolita, Isikoff's Uncovering Clinton has an unreliable first-person narrator with a hidden agenda. And as in Nabokov's Pale Fire, the real story emerges in the footnotes, which acknowledge that persons called liars in the book's text may have told the truth. What I failed to grasp is how closely Isikoff's newspaper reports followed the same pattern.


Oh well, I think it's pretty funny, but looking at it in my own writing takes some of the fun out. Another great piece in the magazine is Jeff Sharlet's reporting on Clear Channel Communications and what their growth represents to music and musicians (as well as society in general). Like I said above, just go pick up a copy at a local bookstore and read them yourselves. You don't have to take my word for it.

Cannibalism 

The Republican Party of Louisiana candidates have always been pretty hapless competitors in statewide races despite having the advantages of an electorate that tends to lean their way on social and economic issues. Now Jeff Crouere over at bayoubuzz.com is telling us that some major fractures could split the Party resources in 2004:

Because of these losses, some in the Republican Party

are calling for a change of leadership. The next State Central Committee meeting will be held on December 15. It should be volatile, as the current leadership does not want to relinquish their positions. For years, the Louisiana Republican Party has been divided into two groups -religious right and social moderates. Both groups are economic conservatives.

. . .

[N]ow these State Central Committee members will face the voters in March of 2004. Both groups are raising money and locating candidates to try to take control of the party before the 2004 presidential election.


Granted that this seems like some informed but idle speculation on Crouere's part, but here's to the internecine warfare within the halls of the GOP that prevents them from delivering Louisiana to Bush during the 2004 election anyway. Go ahead and devour yourselves guys. Every electoral vote counts in a close election, and I'd love to Louisiana's share go to a Democrat when the time comes.

Warning! Angry white male ahead 

And this one has advanced degrees and a weekly column over at politicsLa.com. You may remember columnist and "eminent" political scientist Jeff Sadow from this post I made a few weeks ago. This week he's at it again, and though he isn't being blatantly racist, he is being fairly dishonest and throws in some irresponsible charges to boot. I don't like this blogospere phenomenon known as Fisking, but I guess I'll get involved in a little of it today.

His column is titled, "Blanco's election signals more of the same--less of what the state needs," so just from there you could probably guess where I stand on it. Anyway, I'll be quoting it pretty liberally to try and show you just where our friend Prof. Sadow goes wrong.

[After the good GOP news in other governor races outside of LA] Louisiana reverted to form, a manifestation of the same attitudes that have made this state the economic laggard and most educationally deficient in the Union, by its retreat into the past by electing Blanco governor.


So has eight years of Foster been good or bad for this state? Sadow is unclear on this point, because I'd say that Blanco almost definitely represents some stark differences from Foster's administration, and no one with a brain could be comparing her to Edwards, who was the last Democratic governor of Louisiana, and who shares only common party affiliation with the newly elected Governor.

Next the professor makes a good point about Jindal's race helping Blanco in places like north Louisiana, where Jindal did not do as well among the white voters who Republicans normally carry to the polls in droves. Unfortunately he ruins it by throwing charges of race baiting around about the state and national Democratic Party:

Jindal’s problem came in North Louisiana, where Blanco won parishes that, if recent past voting is any indicator, a Democrat had no business winning against a strong Republican.

Regrettably, after having been in the background most of the campaign, this likely reflects latent nativist attitudes. Simply, some voters in this state haven’t evolved to the point that they can put aside ethnicity even when they otherwise would feel more comfortable with that candidate’s issue preferences than any others.

While the Blanco campaign largely kept away from bringing up Jindal’s south Asian, immigrant background, the state’s Democrats did not. Masters of the use of race and race-baiting throughout the state’s history, Democrats keep enough of a low buzz (such as through the racist College Democrat memo circulated right after the primary) on this to have peeled off voters from Jindal who would have voted for a white version of him.


Sadow makes one connection of race-baiting by College Democrats, who were roundly criticized by both the state and national Party, not to mention the Blanco campaign itself. Also, the memo by College Democrat president Ashley Bell was never meant to go public (I'm not making excuses for this. It was a terrible and racist piece of tripe, however the point of it was not to gin up racism among Louisiana residents since it was a private email sent to party activists who might go to LA to turnout voters), it wasn't until a GOP rag got a copy of the memo and plastered it all over the place that Jindal's ethnic background was ever discussed. The point, of course, is that this is the only substantive charge of race-baiting that Sadow makes, and it's pretty weak. I don't think many of the people reading this website, or following the election very closely would agree that the Blanco campaign exploited Bobby Jindal's race in any way, even the dirty underhanded way that Republican's have made famous in places like South Carolina (against John McCain in the last presidential race) and Mississippi (beginning in 1980 with the kickoff of Reagan's campaign and continuing into this year with Haley Barbour's shameful meeting with members of the Council of Conservative Citizens).

The Prof. isn't done yet:

If this did not turn out to be the margin of victory for Blanco by itself, surely the gap occurred in tandem with her ceaseless negative campaigning that went beyond an explication of Jindal’s record, veering into distortion and even (as she admitted) fabrication. Perhaps the best example came in the final days, where a “Republican” ranted in a widely-run Blanco TV ad about how, in his exalted opinion, Jindal, all by his lonesome, had caused great misery among the people during Jindal’s tenure at the head of the state’s health system.

Only in Louisiana are there enough people so unsophisticated as to be taken in by a commercial that offers no proof other than a bitter old man, driven by personal demons of which the public can only guess, spewing substance-less hatred.


I have addressed the charge of "ceaseless negative campaigning" by Blanco numerous times in the space on this blog, and I don't see much reason to continue. The fact is that Blanco did very little campaigning at all up until about three weeks before we went to the polls. It was a GOP campaign strategy this year to charge opponents with negative campaigning despite all evidence to the contrary. That's not a big deal to me, but you'd think someone who was at one time the president of the LA political science association would be able to see through GOP campaign spin.

Unsurprisingly Sadow mentions the one ad the Blanco ran on television that was unquestionably an attack against what little there was of Jindal's record. The ad with Steve Howell was perhaps the most effective ad during the campaign, and it was probably run as much as any other campaign creations. Of course Sadow can't make a substantive rebuttal of the ad, just like Jindal couldn't. The fact remains that Jindal presided over the state hospitals as they were forced to make cuts in services and jobs. Of course he wasn't responsible for the fiscal crisis that threatened our state, but the buck stops somewhere, and if not with Jindal during his tenure than where else? He sold himself on his record with state hospitals, so if that record could be called into question than why shouldn't Blanco's campaign do it?

Of course, Sadow takes out his real anger later in that statement, when he blames a stupid electorate for continuing to vote for Democrats. Like the last column I addressed that Sadow wrote spewing vitriol about black voters and their "slavish" allegiance to the Democratic Party, Sadow just can't figure out why voters might align themselves with a Democrat. As the prof continues he makes a reckless charge against the Doctor who made the testimonial in the ad, concluding that he's a bitter old man, and that only "personal demons" could bring him to appear in this commercial. Of course Sadow doesn't know what those personal demons are "the public"--and Sadow I presume--"can only guess." This kind of reckless rhetoric doesn't befit a man who apparently has high-standing in the academic community of this state.

In the end we realize that Sadow's column is no more than partisan sniping:

But we cannot forget that her lengthy political career shows that she consistently has favored the idea that government, rather than the people, know best how to manage their money and affairs.


I clearly don't agree with this restatement of liberal politics, but at least Sadow finally gets to the point that his title suggests. Had he written a lengthy political statement about why the Republican vision is better for Louisiana than the Democratic Party platform, then there would be some room for debate. Instead Sadow writes an entire column misrepresenting the Blanco campaign, the Democratic Party, the voters of Louisiana, and makes reckless somewhat defamatory statements about a man in a commercial. The question is how long will a fairly influential website continue to publish this man?

Update @ 12:01 pm: Sorry I forgot to link to the actual column in my original post. I'm not trying to hide the thing in it's entirety, it was just an oversight on my part. Here it is. Michael has much more to say in comments as well. Lots of computer and Internet trouble today. I'll try to get some more posts up, but I might have trouble with that.

19 November 2003

I think that might have hurt a little 

I'll admit to having a bit of an unnatural fascination with ugly injuries preserved on film (remember Willis McGahee in the Fiesta Bowl last year?), but this is about the ugliest picture I've seen since in a very long time. If limbs (human not tree) bending the wrong way gives you pause you may want to avoid it.

link via Dave Barry's blog

Another unnatural fascination of mine includes a love for this man that I usually only reserve for beautiful women, but I'll save that discussion for another day.

Welcome back. . . 

To yatpundit! He's been on an extended blogging break while working on a book about the NOLA streetcar line. Consequently he's got some thoughts on the strange delay of the opening of the long awaited Canal Street line. Go send him some love.

Put it in a bag and toss it in the river 

That's my suggestion to the person who got here asking google "how to" "euthanize a cat". Please, please go see your vet.

So we don't have to 

Salon's Mark Follman compiles the right wing reaction to yesterday's historic ruling in the MA Supreme Court on behalf of the rights of homosexuals (available only to subscribers or those willing to view a commercial. My free day pass was sponsored by the folks producing Hugh Jackman in a PBS broadcast of Oklahoma, so they have my thanks.). Some of it is pretty funny. For some reason John Derbyshire from the corner is concerned about what happens in prisons now:

If 'gay marriage' is legalized, will prisoners be able to marry their cell mates? If not, why not?
In many jurisdictions, a marriage can be annulled if it has not been consummated. What, exactly, constitutes 'consummation' of a gay marriage?"


James Taranto from Opinion Journal is concerned about his parents:

We just hope this ruling has a grandfather clause. It was in Massachusetts that our parents -- a man and a woman, each a different sex from the other -- got married some 40 years ago. If Massachusetts marriage law was unconstitutional, it stands to reason that our parents' marriage is a nullity, and all those readers who've sent us e-mails calling us a bastard are actually on to something


A freeper apparently had this to say, "There is nothing 'normal' about homos. Even the wild animals know better (Except male goats. They're really filthy)."

What a bunch of assholes?

A lot of the folks at Free Republic (I will not link to this site) are spoiling for a political fight on this. I'm with lots of other folks around the blogosphere who say "bring it on." While polls show most folks are uncomfortable with gay "marriage," it seems that they are way more uncomfortable with discriminating against gays. I think Jindal's failure to even acknowledge gay groups during his campaign rubbed lots of the people the wrong way, and it's part of what cost him the election, no matter how socially conservative this state is. This kind of discrimination that the Christian Right prefers (do not ever acknowledge homosexuals because they shouldn't be considered "normal" or acceptable in mainstream society) makes most people pretty squeamish about the Right's agenda.

There is no doubt that Democrats have to be careful in the way they frame this debate, but if the Repbulicans put a marriage "protection" amendment on the table in the 2004 election, I think it will come back to haunt them.

Update @ 3:06 pm: Oops, I see Mary and Kevin Drum both beat me to that Derbyshire quote over at NR. You guys are spending too much time in "The Corner."

Promoting the Community 

I've made some additions to my Daily Reading list. Sorry to the Swing State Project, who I thought I added a couple of weeks ago, for the delay. You'll also find Taegan Goddard's Political Wire and a site I only recently found known as The Library Chronicles. It appears that LC proprieter Jeffrey is another blogger with a Louisiana background, so he deserves a special welcome to my blogroll. Give these fine blogs some of your time when you get a chance.

Where's the beef? 

If you're not getting the progress report from the Center For American Progress in your inbox every morning you really are missing out. Today's report explores the energy bill being pushed by energy industry lobbyists and how it's going to screw the consumers and the environment. Like most other shitty bills, lawmakers who are interested in seeing its passage have attached loads of pork to help legislators move it along. The Times says "[t]he extent of the federal largesse is no accident. The authors cast a wide net to round up votes for legislation that they knew would contain elements many lawmakers would find objectionable."

That brings us to the reason I've found it fit to post. One of the attachments is a multi-million dollar subsidy for an urban development project in Shreveport which will be used to construct a Riverwalk in Downtown Shreveport, "Already confirmed for the Riverwalk is a Bass Pro store and Shreveport's first ever Hooter's restaurant."

I'm sure that Hooter's is on the top of the list of economic development initiatives in Governer-elect Blanco's plan for her new administration. This is just the kind of pork Louisianians need.

Update @ 11:36 am: Atrios links to news that Senators Snowe and Collins would support a fillibuster of this awful bill. If it doesn't pass where am I supposed to get my new reels when I'm in Shreveport?


Why does this guy love the General? 

Before I get started on this I'll say that I am a big fan of Wesley Clark. I saw him in the first debate he appeared in and he gave impassioned defenses of social security and a more progressive tax code. In short, he sold me on his Democratic Party beliefs, and he did so in an appealing manner that didn't condescend to voters.

However, sometimes I read the most ridiculous love notes to the general, most often coming from Ezra Clark--oops, Klein (formerly of this site). I generally enjoy Klein's postings at his various websites, but now he's starting to sound a little like Peggy Noonan fawning over Ronald Reagan or George Bush. Consider this:

Wesley Clark, conversely, is exactly what one would expect from a General. He's clearly lean and muscular, his style is commanding and he addresses others by "Sir" and "Madam". Earlier today, he showed that he can muster the righteous fury one would want from a soldier in wartime.


Taken in full, Klein and Digby (who wrote this post, that Ezra links to quite favorably, calling it "one of the best things the Blogosphere has ever produced") seem to believe that the election is all about image, and the only substance that matters is the charges that GOP lapdogs in the press try to stick on you. This somehow leads them to the conclusion that Wesley Clark is the only man capable of defying the stereotypes that belittle most other Democrats. He won't be thought of as weak because he was a general, etc, et al.

But if image is what they're so concerned about, I don't know why they don't consider that Wesley Clark is nothing like most generals who are burned in to the American psyche. The kind of people who would vote for Clark only because he's a general probably don't think of Clark as anything like the guy in this movie or the guy who won that war twelve years ago. That's what Americans think of as generals, not skinny Rhodes scholars who look like they've never been in a bar fight, much less a war.

Before you get started on me, I know that General Clark's biography proves the image wrong, but Digby and Ezra focus their entire arguments for Clark on image, and biographies don't mean a thing when you craft an image for a candidate. That was the whole point with Max Cleeland in Georgia. Ezra says that Cleeland didn't fight back in that Senate race. Frankly I don't know if this is true or not, and judging from the uninformed opinion making on the Louisiana election from casual observers out of state, I doubt if Ezra knows for sure either.

All I mean to say is that Clark's got plenty of problems as a candidate, and latching on to his image as immuned to GOP attacks isn't going to make them all go away. At this point people should pick candidates because we agree with them, not because they look the best on paper. We can all coalesce around the nominee when the time comes.

Vice city 

I wish Loyola would have offered a course like this one when I was there. How come Bobby Jindal and Kathleen Blanco didn't talk about this aspect of the brain drain: Tulane educating native sons and daughters only to send them to Mississippi after graduation?

New places to go 

If you're in the Lafayette area (particularly on the northside) you should be going to the Reef Club. It may well be the best bar I've been to in Lafayette. I was asked to go and watch the Ragin' Cajuns get their asses kicked over there tonight, and the beer prices alone were well worth my visit.

The fact that they have the two best looking bartenders in the whole city working there helped out quite a bit. It's located on Carmel drive just a bit off of Pinhook towards Breaux Bridge. If you're a local this should be your first choice in bars.

17 November 2003

Election: my final analysis 

see update The major analyses I've seen of Saturday's election results have been fairly silent on the racial issues that may have decided this race. The Advertiser went so far as to call the election a vote for change this morning in their lead editorial.

It's hard to imagine race not having something to do with Governor-elect Blanco's strong showing among lots of Republican leaning (and redneck-heavy) parishes in north and central Louisiana. The most interesting map I saw on television on election night was color-coded by Parishes which voted for Blanco and Bush, Blanco and Terrell, versus parishes that went for Jindal (who didn't carry any parish that wasn't also carried by Bush and Terrell. Unfortunately I can't find any map like it on the web, but you can view the results on your own over at the McKeithen's elections site. Here are the results from Saturday; last year's Senate race; and the 2000 presidential election. Most notable in those results is Blanco's very strong showing (in some case where she actually flipped) in parishes that went to Terrell in her loss. Terrell managed to win heavily white and protestant parishes like Lincoln, Jackson, Grant, LaSalle, and Franklin. Blanco carried all of these parishes Saturday night. A notable parish she didn't carry but performed considerably better than Landrieu did last year was Livingston Parish. This one went to Terrell by a nearly 2:1 margin in 2002, but was quite a bit closer Saturday night. That's an important indicator because it was self-proclaimed Duke Country during the '91 gubernatorial election.

Now there is no question that the political dynamics of any election can change the way people vote, but it's difficult not to attribute some of Blanco's strong showing in certain parishes to her race. Unfortunately it's very difficult to poll this information because respondents generally won't admit to reasons of race when asked why they vote a certain way.

With racial politics out of the way, I do think the Blanco campaign really ran an effective race towards the last two weeks or so. I think her advertising tying Bobby Jindal to all the problems with the state health care system were very effective. Jindal didn't have any way to respond to them except to claim that the record was somehow being distorted and that he wanted to focus on the issues. My guess is that most voters thought health care was an issue even if Jindal didn't. As Wayne Parent was quoted in The Advocate today (in a story headlined "Women credited with Blanco victory"), "She changed the campaign in the last week to human versus robot."

For the most part that shift in her campaign had a lot to do with her victory. She finally managed to control the message that the media pushed during the race. Early on everyone was busy criticizing Blanco for some nonexistent negative campaigning and when she finally did go negative the press seemed to grow tired of the story and helped push her campaign's theme that Jindal was a pencil-neck who didn't understand the needs of Louisiana residents. I also want to believe that the late (shocking!) revelation that Blanco supported gay rights combined with the high-profile withdrawal of the GLT advisory committee members from Nagin's administration reinforced to some more socially liberal suburbanites that Jindal was a little too conservative for them. That's a gut feeling I have and don't have any evidence to offer for it, so it's up for discussion.

Of course there was the Foster effect as well. Lot's of Republicans really don't like the current Governor. They feel he has been too accommodating to state Democrats. They hated the Stelly Plan, and they didn't have the voice they wanted in his administration. Any chance that they saw Bobby Jindal as a tool of Foster could have hurt Jindal's candidacy. Blanco effectively called into question "who was running Jindal's campaign" during the debates and on the stump after Foster started criticizing her on his radio show and to the press. Had Foster kept his mouth shut he may have helped his candidate.

All these aspects and more may have created an ideal environment for Blanco to win this weekend. She mounted quite a comeback after some very discouraging weeks for me during the runoff. I take back all the things I've said about her as a candidate. She proved me wrong because she won, and that's the only thing that matters on election day. All the errors and slip-ups along the way are cast aside. I suspect that she'll never really need to run for another office again aside from her reelection in four years, where she'll have the advantage of incumbency.

Now she needs to prove to the people who voted for her that we made the right choice. I wish her luck.

At this point I'll let you know that posting will slow way down over this week. I'm not going to stop all together, but I have some other more pressing responsibilities and am a little blocked on where to go with Timshel since the end of the gubernatorial race. I will definitely continue to look at Louisiana politics specifically, but will probably need to take a gander at the national scene a little more since the news out of Louisiana is sure to slow down with the governorship in the bag now. Any suggestions or requests are always welcome, and I'll try to be as accommodating as possible.

Update @ 9:46 am: much more on race in today's T-P by writers Laura Maggi and Jeff Meitrodt with a great breakdown of specific '91 Duke parishes and the white vote that ended up going to Blanco.

16 November 2003

Blanco wins! 

Jindal conceded to Kathleen Blanco sometime around 10:30. My prediction was off by two percent. I'll take it because Blanco still won. She gave a gracious victory speech while Bobby Jindal failed to address his opponent once in his concession. It might be considered shameful. I'll have a long post sometime tomorrow or Monday after I'm done celebrating this fantastic victory.

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