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6.10.09

Unable to win on issues, Democrats try smearing Vitter

It’s no coincidence that as soon as Democrats found a standard-bearer for next year’s U.S. Senate contest, that from different places fellow-travelers would begin to sling transparent mud at Republican incumbent David Vitter in a standard playbook tactic to try to damage his candidacy through a torrent of trivial complaints.

Not long after Democrat U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon declared his candidacy, a left-leaning interest group called Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington complained Vitter should be disciplined under Louisiana’s professional lawyer’s code for criminal conduct. More recently, Chris Whittington, the Louisiana Democrats’ executive director, emerged from seclusion to accuse Vitter of receiving an illegal campaign donation.

Of course, these claims wholly lack substance. Vitter never has been charged with any crime and has never admitted to any crime. The CREW complaint refers to a phone number belonging to Vitter appearing in the records of a woman eventually convicted for running a prostitution ring, and that’s all the evidence there is. The Democrat whining is even more circumstantial in nature: a Mississippi congressman contributed the maximum allowed to Mississippi’s governor, and the same maximum showed up coming from the governor to Vitter days later (legally, a contribution cannot be indirect). The asserted smoking gun? There were few transactions for each of these funds, and the congressman has worked with the governors’ nephews. Vitter did nothing but have campaign operatives accept a check.

This circumstantial tripe would get laughed out of any court but the Louisiana media is more than willing to publicize anything negative about Vitter. For example, since October, 2008, about six months after the trial for the prostitution ring ended, combined the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Baton Rouge Advocate, and the Associated Press state and local news wire have run 128 stories including Vitter and one of the terms “prostitute,” “prostitution,” “escort service,” or “call girl” – more than one every three days. All reported on the CREW complaint and The Advocate and AP dutifully filed stories on the specious Democrat charge.

This highlights the Democrats’ strategy, which is to try to paint a picture of Vitter as an unethical politician because they know Melancon will lose if the campaign is conducted on the issues and Melancon’s record. Melancon also has his own ethical challenges with his exorbitant use of taxpayer dollars on a useless junket, something else from which Democrats wish to divert attention.

You can bet that this is not the last we’ll hear of such drivel, no matter how contortioned and blatantly manufactured it may be, coming in the next year from Louisiana Democrats and faithfully echoed by the media. Vitter’s challenge will be to not to let him get off message of demonstrating his past record and views on present issues are much closer to the Louisiana public’s than have been and are Melancon’s. If he does so and trusts that the voting public will reject the politics of personal destruction, he will have no problem with reelection.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Vitter smears himself by pandering to his constituents.

Take, for example, his resolution to the effect that members of Congress be forced to join any public insurance option that results from a new health care bill. His stated reasoning was that members of Congress should be treated like everyone else by the bill. Guess what? They already were! Members of Congress were not exempted from any of the bills' provisions. In the versions of the bill that had public options, no one would have been forced to take the public option. Vitter's impeccable logic, then, was that in order for members of Congress to be treated like everybody else, we should treat them differently than we treat ANYBODY else. Pure genius. Pure nonsense.

Vitter doesn't think his constituents are smart enough to realize he made a completely illogical resolution just to pander to them. let's hope he's wrong.

Anonymous said...

I get it. Democratic ethical challenges are serious and they are trying to divert attention from them. Much like you, Professor Sadow, are trying to divert attention from Vitter's personal ethical problems and hypocrisy by dismissing them and actually crying foul over Vitter's failure to ever say exactly what his "sin" might have been. Could it be that if he had ever said what that sin was it would have been admitting to a crime. Maybe he was just calling the prostitute to ask her how her day was going.

A rather funny case of the pot calling the kettle black.