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2.10.06

Chehardy vote signals coming anti-incumbent wave

So were the results of Louisiana’s primary special elections a sign of trouble ahead for incumbent officeholders of any kind, even those running for a different office in 2007, particularly Democrats who comprise the majority of them? You could argue not, but you’d probably be wrong.

Let’s take arguments on both sides:

PRO: Turnout of 22 percent meant a lot of people were turned off by contests headlining old faces; matters will be different next year with regular elections when the abstaining, irritated majority will be mobilized to turn out incumbents.

CON: But in a special election like this with a low turnout usually signals those that did turn out disproportionately were there to toss out incumbents; in a regular election, the less-motivated who feel happy about incumbents will be mobilized to offset the unhappy.

PRO: Libertarian S.B.A. Zaitoon in the Insurance Commissioner’s contest drew 11 percent of the vote, far above the non-major party norm, nearly throwing this contest with two GOP incumbent officials into a general election runoff.

CON: The contest between incumbent Commissioner Jim Donelon and state Sen. James David Cain was so nasty that maybe a majority of votes for Zaitoon were because of that characteristic, eliciting voter disgust, that were specific to that contest and not indicative of a larger anti-incumbent trend.

PRO: All right, then consider the other statewide race for Secretary of State, where the only major candidate who was not a state senator, Mike Francis, got 26 percent of the vote. He nearly made the runoff against two sitting senators, Republican Jay Dardenne and Democrat Francis Heitmeier, who between them only got 58 percent.

CON: But Francis plunked down enough money to seem like an incumbent, much self-financed. The two senators spent the vast majority of the money in the race, sitting on big campaign warchests built up over the years, and next fall few will be as lucky as Francis to have enough personal funds to compete. Besides, Francis still finished third.

In order to make the case that the 2006 elections indicate a rocky 2007 for incumbents, we have to find an instance where a political unknown does well against incumbents solely because she has some name recognition but also has not held elective office. Zaitoon could have provided for such confirmation, except that his showing could be explained away by the “mudslinging” argument proffered above. Francis could have as well, except one could argue his past role as Republican Party chairman and high self-financing make his case exceptional.

But there was such a candidate that could provide this confirmation, in the Secretary of State’s race – Mary Chehardy from Metairie, who spent almost nothing on the race. Only her name attracted votes (being the aunt of longtime Jefferson Parish assessor Lawrence Chehardy and having run twice for the office, picking up 26 percent of the vote in another big ant-incumbent year, 1991). Lost in the election night analyzing was the fact that, running as a Republican, she pulled 9 percent of the statewide vote, again with almost no advertising.

Even more interesting, in the Republican leaning suburb parishes around Orleans, her vote totals were impressive. She hit the jackpot at home with 21 percent in Jefferson, finishing third ahead of Francis, and also finished third ahead of him with percentages substantially above her statewide figure in Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, and Washington Parishes, and fourth above her statewide figure in St. Tammany and Tangipahoa. Had she not run and if even a third of her vote had gone to Francis (and little to Heitmeier), it would be an all-GOP runoff in November. Or, another way to look at it is Francis and Chehardy together beat either of incumbents Dardenne or Heitmeier.

Her totals cannot be explained by a mudslide of Biblical proportions triggered by other candidates against each other or by the efforts of a wealthy party insider. Where her name had some cachet, in parishes around Orleans, her support was a pure protest vote against incumbent senators and Francis who may also have been seen as too closely tied to the existing political alignment. There’s no reason to expect the sentiment that produced this will decline dramatically in 2007.

It’s true that in 2007 voters apathetic to these contests will get mobilized, and they will vote for familiar names disproportionately. But simultaneously, an untapped reservoir of those upset with current politicians exists who did not have enough direction by campaigns to make it to the polls in 2006. With the increased efforts of campaigning present as a consequence of regular elections in 2007, all it will take to activate this bloc is some vigorous electioneering on behalf of newcomers. Because of this, current state officeholders, both executive and legislative, need to be wary regardless of the office they run for next year, for all signs are that an anti-incumbent wave may wash away their political careers.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't pretend to know all the 'ins and outs' of this game of politics but I do know one thing that I haven't seen in my 60 years; people are angry at the current crop of office-holders. I voted for anyone not an incumbent and will do so again. They are no longer part of the solution to this states problems but a cause of the majority of its woes. The mudslinging had no effect on me...I and several of the people I know are just ready for someone to rise up and lead; without the selfenrichment that so many of the current politicians seem to place ahead of the interest of the state.

GrandpaNate said...

Vote Against The Incumbents.
Vati, Vati.

That’s V-A-T-I, with a long ‘A’ and long ‘I’.

The present state of America makes me sick. It actually makes me nauseous to ponder how far this once magnificent country has slipped into mediocrity. When I was a young man, fifty years ago, you could mention just about anything: And America was best at
that. Now we rarely lead the World in anything. We can still claim one title; America is the World's Greatest Debtor Nation.

Back then, America enjoyed the best health care, the best schools, and the best working conditions on Earth, while we worked less hours, made more money, and enjoyed a life style never before seen upon this planet.

Our coal mines were producing more coal, our steel-mills smelting more iron, and our assembly-lines led the World in manufacturing beautiful automobiles, refrigerators, wash-machines, dryers, and the hoard of smaller appliances and gadgets (which eliminated most of the drudgery of our daily chores) and introduced us to the life-of-ease, we all now enjoy.

Now, American High School Graduates rank only average (whether tested in Mathematics, World History, Language, Science or any other critical field of expertise) and compared with the test scores of students from other industrialized nations.

Our so-called health care system stinks, it is without question, the most dysfunctional conglomeration of nonsensical laws bureaucrats have ever assembled. It assures illegal aliens and greedy politicians unlimited free health care, while it renders millions of hard
working, honest citizens, incapable of obtaining any kind of health insurance.

The new Social Security Drug Plan deducts a premium for drug insurance, which you can bet will raise every year, from the social security checks, of subscribers. [AARP just raised my premium from $25.25 to $28.50, a 12.87% raise for 2007.] A great many drugs are not covered by this new plan, and it only pays a maximum of about 70% on any drug, a lot less on most. When the total drug bill (what the retiree and the government pays) reaches $2250.00, Grandma gets cut off, has to pay it all herself, until her total drug bill reaches $3500.00. Obviously if Grandma can not afford her drugs, her bill will never get to $3500.00, so she will go without her drugs for the rest of the year. Of course the monthly premium will still be deducted from her Social Security Check. The drug companies formulated this drug bill, got it enacted, and only the drug companies are going to benefit from it. (Our government gives them the premiums.) In short, this Shaft Our Grandparents Bill is nothing but a multi-million dollar windfall for the drug companies.

[AARP also broadened the gap between when they quit paying for Grandma’s drugs, and when they start paying again. During 2006 they quit paying when the drug cost reach $2250, and restarted at $3600, leaving a $1350 gap. In 2007 the gap will be extended to $1450.]

The above bill is sure not the worst medical bill our elected officials have ever enacted. It just happens to be the last that made me angry. Hundreds of anti-consumer bills and amendments are on the books, which benefit only the medical and or the drug industries. Foreign competition to American Drug Companies is nonexistent. If it was legitimized, we could import drugs from reputable foreign drug facilities, for as little as 10% of the extortion we are now forced to pay our American Drug Companies.

Sad to say, but the Medical Cartels and Drug Companies, with their unchallenged power, are not the worst villains when it comes to manipulating our government into giving them a license to gouge us. The international oil and gas conglomerates, the
interstate utility companies, railroad cartels, automobile and airplane manufacturing companies, the cable companies, international shipping cartels and a score of other business concerns all wield as much or more power over our Congress, Senate and
President, than the drug companies do.

Big Business is our real enemy. Big Business controls both our national and state governments, and Big Business is the real reason America is losing ground on all fronts, the reason America is slowly but steadily slipping into mediocrity.

The companies mentioned above, along with a score of Countries and a hoard of other mighty forces, funnel billions of dollars annually into Washington, to influence the Republican and Democratic Party Leaders to legislate on their behalf.

The leaders of the Democratic and Republican Parties, in the Congress and Senate, now have more control over their subservient Congressman and Senators, than a Marine General has over his troops. The Political Party Lords control the pac-money. And the pac-money is what decides who will get elected, or heaven forbid, smeared. The Political Lords can’t just walk down on the floor and tell a congressman or senator that they are fired. But they can have anyone that fails to kowtow to the powers that be, ostracized, and rendered powerless. And by denying pac-money and support, they can keep anyone from being re-elected.

It is crucial to America's future that we, the voters, acknowledge that the Political Lords are running this country. When all the Republicans vote yea, and all the Democrats vote nay, our Congressman and/or Senators are not voting their conscience, and they sure aren't voting the way we want them to vote. They are voting exactly the way the Party Lords have decreed they vote. And folks that’s not Democracy, that’s flagrant Bureaucracy. If we are going to declare war, prudence behooves us to first learn all we can about our enemy.

Now, I just pulled what I have written here off the top of my head. So if you find a mistake, don’t get excited, it is not that important, the overall theme of this opinion is correct. And furthermore it is also correct that with a minimum of research, anyone can ascertain for themselves that this greatest of all nations, is rapidly slipping into mediocrity.

And even the United States of America, the greatest nation that ever existed, can fall from within, if we continue to allow misguided politicians, to barter piece after piece of good government away to any group able and willing to pay for preferential treatment.

The only question left is, where are you going to place your loyalty, to the Political Parties, whicht you have been blindly supporting, or to America? You can’t serve two
masters, and be loyal to either. We have to take the power away from the Party Lords, to the extent that it allows our elected representatives to vote the way we tell them to vote. Or in thirty years you are not going to be able to tell the difference between Washington and the corrupt Government of Mexico, or for that matter, tell the difference between America and Mexico.

I have been telling people for years; when in doubt always vati. But only in this last year has the urge to really push this concept become obligatory.

Actually, voting against the incumbents is a very viable method of straightening out what is wrong with America. The power of our vote is awesome, if used wisely. Many congressmen and senators win their seats by very small margins, less than 5%. So if just 5% of the voters would vati, we would probably retire near a quarter of our Senators and Congressmen. And you can bet we would get their attention. If as many voters vati-ed, as voted for Ross Perot in 1992, we’d probably unseat about 75% of both houses. Very few politicians win their seats with an 18.9% margin.

Folks this plan definitely has possibilities. Politician’s egos are all wrapped up in their positions. Actually the only thing in the World, politicians love more than pac-money, is their influential positions, their jobs. And on the very day our legislators learn that their electorate is actually threatening to vote them out of office, they are going to be magically stricken with a burning desire to legislate on behave of their constituency.

The only question left is, where are you going to place your loyalty, to the Political Parties that you have been blindly supporting, or to America? You can’t serve two
masters, and be loyal to both. We have to take the power away from the Party Lords, to the extent that it allows our elected representatives to vote the way we tell them to vote. Or in thirty years you are not going to be able to tell the difference between Washington and the corrupt Government of Mexico, or for that matter, tell the difference between America and Mexico.

I wrote this poem more than twenty years ago, and it reverberates my sentiment now as vibrantly, as then.

VATI VATI

As Mighty Rome Fell, America Could Die.
Whether It Falls Or Not, Is Up To You And I.

I worried and stewed, but by-and-by,
came up with a plan, where you and I,
can put America the a road, to a brand-new high.
Just blame the politicians, get blood in your eye,
and vote against the incumbents. Vati, vati.

Now just voting won't do it, we've got to vati.
That's v, a, t, i, with a long "A", and long "I."
Vote Against The Incumbents, and you vati.
Things will never get better, until we vati.
Vote against the incumbents, Vati, vati.

There is no time, to just set and sigh.
America will fail, without you and I.
The time has come, we must do or die.
We must all vote, and we must vati.
Vote against the incumbents, Vati, vati.

Things won't just get better, by-and-by.
Unless the apathetic voters, you and I,
hit those poles with blood in our eye.
And not only vote, but wisely vati,
Vote against the incumbent. Vati, vati.

We must not buy, some political lie,
the America we love, is about to die.
Politicians no longer, serve you and I,
but all acquiesce, to the powers that buy.
Vote against the incumbents. Vati, vati.

The newly elected may want to serve you and I,
until that powerful pac-money catches their eye.
Then party loyalty becomes, their big lie.
As they vote with the Pac, for their piece of the pie.
Vote against the incumbents, Vati, vati.

Congressmen and Senators are nigh as apt to die,
as meet defeat at the poles, by you and I.
They know we’ll vote for’em, they don’t have to try.
America is declining, as democracy goes awry.
Vote against the incumbent. Vati, vati.

Waxing fat on the apathy, shown by you and I,
politicians became hogs, and Washington's a sty.
But we can change all that, in the blink of an eye,
if we just get off our apathy, and dutifully vati.
Vote against the incumbents. Vati, vati.

If just one out of twenty, of us would vati,
we*d get nigh a forth of that Washington sty.
Now that might he to few, to help you and I,
But we’d darn sure make, the rest of them shy.
Vote against the incumbents. Vati, vati.

And when; "Foul, foul," the politicians cry.
And charge that; "great careers will sadly die."
Stand up and look them, straight in the eye,
And vow; "Losing only makes the truly-great try."
Vote against the incumbents. Vati, vati.

From the County Coroner, to that Washington sty,
if you don’t love the incumbent, always vati.
Help turn America toward, a brand-new high.
Teach your kids and your friends, they must vati.
Vote against the incumbents. Vati, vati.

If the state of America, makes you want to cry,
then help start a revolution, no one has to die.
Our party loyalty sent elections go so far awry.
And we can fix that error, just revolt and vati.
Vote against the incumbents. Vati, vati.

Part your 2nd and 3rd finger; that "v" means vati.
Send this to a friend, who you think will comply.
Let’s all band together and give'em a black eye.
Vati, vati, and hearty bye-bye.

Grandpa Nate @ Rawlins, Wyoming.
Also see: http://grandpanate.com
[If you like this, copy it, and pass it on.]

GrandpaNate said...

Vati Party

VATI is the first letter in "Vote Against The Incumbents,” and that is what it means. Vati means you always vote against the person holding the office, the incumbent, regardless of political affiliation.

The majority of our Congressmen and Senators have absolutely no fear of losing their offices. They know that party loyalty [be it Republican or Democrat] of their constituency will assure their perpetual reelecting. In the whole Senate you are likely to have only five or six seats [in the Congress less than 30 seats] that are not securely locked-up by one, or the other, political parties.

And actually, nothing is gained when we do manage to send an occasional new representative to Washington. In short: They are simply gobbled up by the system. They are introduced to pac-money, and the powerful party leaders [Party Lords] and end up cuddling up to Big Business, and voting the party line, for legislation that enhances the Conglomerate's bottom line, to the determent of their constituency, to the determent of America.

Now, a large percentage of Congressmen and Senators win their seats by very small margins, less than 5%, so if just 10% of the voters Vati, we would likely unseat nearly 20% of our Representatives. If we could generate as much support as Ross Perot did, [according to the last election] we would kick out close to 90% of the House and Senate.

But more important than just getting rid of some self-serving politicians, unseating just 10% of the House and Senate would definitely get their attention. And then we could demand drastic change. We could demand a clean break between our Legislators and Big Business. We could outlaw all soft-money, and make any contact between our Legislators and Big Business [except publicized discussion in an open forum] illegal.

We can demand term limits. I am for an eight-year term limit, for all Government Offices. Let Senators serve one six year term or change the length their terms to four years. We can demand secure borders, and that everything entering our ports be inspected. We could demand a rigidly enforced alien worker program, which caters to America’s needs. And demand a viable plan which honorably ends the war in Iraq.

We can let Washington know, anyone who votes against anything the majority of America clearly wants, had better start looking for a new job.

Vatiing is a very viable method of voting to save America, to cure what is wrong with America, a viable way of stopping America’s rapid descent into mediocrity.

The interest in “vote against the incumbents” is growing exponentially. Now we need to get organized, form a political party. Much like any other political party, except we won’t run candidates for office. Our challenge will be to make the other Parties Candidates legislate for American, and America’s People.

If you have any ideas, comments, want to help get organized, or whatever, please leave a message at: http://voteagainsttheincumbents.blogspot.com/

GrandpaNate said...

I speak to a deaf world. And I know not how to gain her ear. America is degenerating at a rapid pace. We are now over $9,210,000.000,000 in debt. That is over $30,275 for every man, woman and child in this country. It would take us over thirty years to pay off this debt, if we installed sane representatives in Washington, and strictly adhered to a balanced budget.

Our schools now rank 28th [28th that’s pathetic,] in the World. We are in a war that we can’t win, in the foreseeable future, and can’t get out of. Our Government is broken. We are no longer functioning as a Democracy. We are operating as a Bureaucracy. The Party Lords tell our congressmen and senators how to vote. And Big Business, mostly International Conglomerates, give the Party Lords [which they buy with Pac-money] their orders.

That should be enough said: Because I don’t really believe that there is anyone in America, who is old enough to vote, that does not know this country is in trouble.

Every day the Republican and Democratic Party Lords work at enacting bills, which cedes one international conglomerate after another some financial quid pro quo, for pac-money received. And nearly all concessions to Big Business prove to be detrimental to America’s working people. Under the present system America will eventually have hungry masses without health care, millionaires, and no middle class. America, as we know her, is at this moment rapidly degenerating.

Changing out Republican for a Democratic, or Democratic for a Republican, or just replacing a Republican or Democratic with what is deemed a better member of their own party, will not help the situation. The new comer will quickly learn how the ball bounces in Washington, and vote the Party Line, as the Party Lords dictate, and business will continue as usual. And that is not Democracy, but Bureaucracy.

But all is not lost: America can still be saved. There is enough energy being wasted fighting our unresponsive system, for various causes, to fix America twice. This is still America, and we still get to vote. So let’s act like a Democracy, band together, vati, [Vote Against The Incumbents.] and send enough Congressmen and Senators home, to get the attention of those who are left.

If just 10% of us would vati, we would get between 20 and 25% of the House and Senate. If 20% of us vati, we would send 75% of both Houses home. And you can bet: You’d have your Representative’s ear.

It really doesn’t matter whether you want to save the spotted owl, secure our borders, protect the giant redwoods, or the North Slope, save some swamp, fight Global Warming, or clean up a river, or whatever, all these things are going to cost Big Business money. And they are not going to allow you to get it done until, unless, we take back the reins of government. And none of you have the power to do that alone. So the answer is simple; whatever your cause, You Have Two choices; either fail, or band together and clean up Washington. Save America, and then you will have a hoard of accommodating representatives to help promote your cause. So start contacting other groups and get the ball rolling. You can do it, and it will work. But! Time is essential. So get at it. Good Luck, GrandpaNate
http://Voteagainsttheincumbents.blogspot.com/