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16.4.07

With Breaux out, Dems may play defense against Jindal

So now what for Louisiana Democrats? With Maryland resident John Breaux wisely out of the running for governor after having accomplished the party’s objective of pushing out unpopular Gov. Kathleen Blanco, only two such declared candidates, Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell and Rev. Raymond Brown, at this point remain, and the latter, a member of the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, thereby only can be regarded as a crank.

While more serious, Campbell’s candidacy also has limited upside. He keeps hitting just one note, and a rather unconvincing one at that about how Big Oil can fund Louisiana government without anyone else having to break a sweat. Even if he can raise the $3 million he says he can, it won’t make any difference. With Rep. Bobby Jindal having already over $5 million in the bank, with businessman John Georges promising to get into the race with almost as many of his own bucks, and state Sen. Walter Boasso willing to throw in a couple million of his own, there’s not enough money out there to counteract these funds that could make Campbell a serious threat.

Other Democrat benchwarmers have their own problems. In order of their chances of winning from marginal to none, Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu will face the same dynamic that defeated him in the New Orleans mayor’s race last year, being associated with his sister Sen. Mary Landrieu and the uneasiness people have in giving that family too much political power. Former Congressman Chris John didn’t show much and was soundly defeated in the 2004 Senate race. A year earlier, former Atty. Gen. Richard Ieyoub showed even less in his defeat for governor. While they might have the best chance of winning, Rep. Charlie Melancon and Treasurer John Kennedy can’t because they won’t.

As bad as this lineup’s chances are of winning, they are worse by the presence of Campbell in the race. Without a major Democrat running to consolidate votes around, Campbell will siphon votes from any of the above benchwarmers, the benchwarmer really won’t eat into Republican votes, and this looks set to cause a real chance for Jindal to win outright in the primary. Campbell is not strong enough to be the Democrat around which to consolidate, and he ruins the chances for any other Democrat to assume that role.

Which is perhaps why state Democrats should eject their secondary goal of the enterprise, winning the Governor’s Mansion, and concentrate instead on what has been their primary goal all along – stop Jindal. He currently represents not only the biggest long-term threat to the state party’s interests, but perhaps to the national party’s interests as well – an articulate, genuine conservative who (curses!) is an ethnic minority. This means the national Democrats will get involved but not by backing somebody they see as an almost sure loser.

Rather, they would fund efforts to defeat Jindal instead of promoting a candidate. Their goal would be to get Boasso elected as he appears to have the most upside and would be the least conservative of GOP challengers. (Jindal’s high poll numbers, favorability ratings, and cash position means Georges never will be able to build any meaningful support.) They will let Boasso spend his own money to support himself, but they will use some of theirs to launch negative broadsides against Jindal the ferocity of which has yet to be seen in American politics. As long as Jindal doesn’t win, any national aspirations he has could be permanently sidetracked.

But if this fails and Gov. Jindal takes office next year, as a fallback remaining Democrat dollars will go to legislative candidates, to elect a hostile, uncooperative legislative majority designed to take any luster it can off of Jindal, and to supporting endangered Mary Landrieu’s endangered seat as the last bastion of statewide resistance to GOP forces in general and to Jindal’s otherwise unimpeded political future in particular.

Barring a miraculous turn of events where a sow ear’s gets made into a silk purse regarding a Democrat candidate, look for the governor’s contest to be made into a referendum about Bobby Jindal and his political future.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Prof. Sadow, you state that John Georges has almost as much money in the bank as Jindal and in fact, he has more, $5.5 million cash on hand as opposed to Jindal's $5.2 million RAISED (we do not know what is actually on hand). Georges, not Boasso is the one to watch because he has a statewide network and is the only candidate who is not from Government.

Anonymous said...

Curse Mike Foster. Every dim-witted millionaire thinks he can and should be governor. No one cares about John Georges except the political operatives who stand to make a little quick cash feeding his ego.

Lizzie said...

Dim witted -- obviously you have never met John Georges. He holds an accounting degree from Tulane and was state president of YPO -- Given his strong service on the Board of Regents, the way he grew his small family business from a $10M a year company to a $300+M a year company and his leadership at Holy Trinity Cathedral after the storm, he presents a formitable challenge and he will not be beholden to his donors --

nolatoowell said...

a small "family" business. liquor, cigarettes, video poker and who knows what else.

Anonymous said...

The people of this state missed an opportunity in the last election to have one of the best minds in all of American politics today as the govenor of our very own state of Louisiana. Instead we elected Blanco and we have further stagnated as a result. In my opinion, there is only one choice for the next govenor of Louisiana, and that is, Bobby Jindal. If Jindal is somehow kept out of office this time around my young family and I are pulling up stakes and leaving the state. I firmly believe this state will continue to slide in every meaningfull category that it is not already ranked last if he is not elected. John Georges is not the answer.

Ashley said...

Good lord are you a schmuck...

You're the guy that said there was no way that Nagin could win, right? Let's hope you keep your prognostication record in the black.

Anonymous said...

John Georges??? Get real. Who ever heard of him outside of New Orleans.... and lets remember that there isn't much in the way of voters left in New Orleans area itself. Also, Louisiana is NOT New Jersey or Massachusetts, and the voters in Louisiana are not interested in a rich country club Republican with two first names "buying" his way into the Governor's mansion.

Not to mention that John Georges is not the most Republican of sorts anyway. Just ask his old friend "EWE".

Anonymous said...

Well, excuse me ... I didn't realize Mr. Georges had an accounting degree. From Tulane no less.

Considering that, I think he's an excellent choice to be Governor of Louisiana.

See what I meant by dim-witted?

Jeff Sadow said...

As dysfunctional as the Louisiana electorate has been, it's not in New Orleans' class making its behavior more predictable and rational. Don't count on me (and largely the same cast of fellow prognosticators) missing this one, you nimrod.

Anonymous said...

Is the fact that he's an articulate conservative what interests you, or that he's an articulate minority? Americans elected a non-articulate, non-minority conservative to the White House, but they'll demand perfect English from a minority, I guess? Or something?