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GOP should hint thanks, but no thanks to Ieyoub

In one of the strangest deliberations in Louisiana politics, former Attorney General and lifetime Democrat Richard Ieyoub has let it be known that he is thinking about switching to the Republican Party.

Political parties don’t cast anybody aside, with the exception of the very rare David Duke, but there are not many well-known politicians in the state that would be an odder fit than Ieyoub to the GOP. He’s no U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander, who was a card-carrying conservative who criticized the GOP mildly in the years up to his switch. Instead, Ieyoub as recently as his failed gubernatorial run in 2003 did things such as:

  • Called then-candidate, now Gov. Kathleen Blanco a “Republican pretending to be a Democrat” and urged listeners to turn to him as a true Democrat
  • Advocated a tax on tobacco, precisely what the Republicans prevented from being enacted last legislative session
  • Gained the endorsement of the state AFL-CIO which is loathe to give one to any Republican with any Democrat opposition, as well as New Orleans’ Black Organization for Leadership Development, which endorses Republicans even more rarely, so he could kiss those goodbye as a Republican

    This doesn’t count such rhetoric from previous campaigns but, suffice to say, except for a pro-life view, Ieyoub definitely does not fit the Republican profile. Party chairman Richard Villere has voiced noncommittal remarks about this, as well he should. Such a switch would do little to aid the party, and promises of assistance to Ieyoub for a switch need not be considered at all.

    Given his past, Ieyoub only could be interested in running for governor in 2007 or U.S. Senator in 2006 and he could possibly pick off a few votes from the Democrat incumbents by doing so. But the party would have to guard against the distraction Ieyoub might create regarding “true” GOP candidates in these races. Since both Blanco and Sen. Mary Landrieu look vulnerable and are not likely to draw opposition from the left, it would be better to have the party work to clear the field as it did concerning Sen. David Vitter’s 2004 run and removing GOP competitors for these contests.

    This strategy will work because of quality candidates have begun surfacing within Republicans ranks. With more quality, homegrown GOP politicians out there now where it seemed just a few years ago the best the party could do to win statewide office was to send out a RINO, it would serve the party and its conservative base ill to do anything in addition to welcoming Ieyoub on board if he chooses that, and just leaving it at that.
  • 1 comment:

    Anonymous said...

    I have wondered what are the requirements to be a Republican running for office. We have one Senator Cheek in this area with the Republican Letter R after her name who voted against pure Republicans from this area in the 2005 Legislative session. Why does the party contribute to such candidates?

    The State Republican party needs to recognize two types of Republicans. Call one type "pure" and the others "in name only".

    Jimmy Couvillion