Increasingly, it’s difficult to take Democrat Rep. Charlie Melancon seriously about anything he says as he experiences the death throes of his political life. Devoid of having winning issues on his side, his latest tack in his Republican Sen. David Vitter character assassination tour returns to an old theme he applies against political adversaries, calling the incumbent Vitter whose job he wishes to take hypocritical. Since it’s something Melancon typically does when he himself is open to that charge, let’s review where he’s practiced hypocrisy on the issues in the Senate campaign, from remarks given at the Press Club of Baton Rouge.
Even as Melancon argues that this “amazing phenomenon” may dissipate because of the “truth,” the fact is Melancon can’t handle the truth of his situation. His career of saying he is one thing and then doing things inconsistent to that seems about up.
Vitter has not spoken to that organization and appears not likely to want to, and Melancon tried to echo that by calling Vitter a “high tea” sipper disconnected to the Louisiana working class. But he neglected to reveal that, between the two, Melancon has been far less accessible to the Louisiana public than has Vitter, as in the past two years Melancon has made a cottage industry of dodging constituents and concerned citizens inviting them to their rallies.
Melancon is a leader of the so-called “Blue Dog” Democrats who pose as believers of fiscal restraint in government. Instead, Melancon has shown little of that inclination, among other big spending votes having voted for the 2009 spending bill that was the greatest budget-buster in history, and over a year later with its pernicious effects reverberating throughout the economy he’s still a true believer, vowing history (which conveniently means not the past 18 months nor next seven weeks) will redeem his view. This ignorance remains despite the historical evidence both recently and in the past that show such programs do not work, as well as the academic evidence corroborating the invalidity of his statement.
But when it’s convenient – in his case, a chance to redistribute wealth – Melancon suddenly becomes in favor of fiscal restraint relative to increasing taxes on almost half of small business income earned, a preference even the Blue Dogs mostly disavow. Further, he supports this despite knowing – or because perhaps knowing it as his conservative political opponents control Louisiana government – it will cost the state of Louisiana as much as $40 million in reduced tax collections.
This would be consistent with his demonstrated partisanship, which he claimed he does not practice while arguing Vitter does excessively, and dishonesty, again claiming himself pure on this attribute compared to Vitter. Instead, Melancon regularly has made partisan overtures and not been above-board in his political dealings: the controversy over his attempt to subvert University of New Orleans procedures is a recent yet classic example of both.
This claimed agreeableness Melancon asserts makes him a more effective legislator than Vitter. Besides the fact that in-party legislators by definition are going to be much more of that, nevertheless Melancon has shown utter incompetence and inability on the issue of the devastating impact that the moratorium by the Pres. Barack Obama Administration on deepwater oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico has had on U.S. energy independence and the economies of the Gulf’s states.
Melancon claims he’s against it, but in reality attempted to impose a procedural one with no expiration on the exploration industry. And if he’s so much more influential than Vitter, why has he had no influence in curbing the existing moratorium? Or if so much more nonpartisan why has he not disavowed the crude attempt by the Obama Administration to downplay the real economic damage of the moratorium?
Finally, Melancon’s cognitive dissonance on his floundering in the contest approaches the clinical. Every independent poll, including the latest, shows his trailing badly. Rather, he deludes himself by thinking he’s “close” because the result of a vicious Senate Democratic Campaign Committee push poll has him down just 10 points.
Posted by Jeff Sadow at 12:50