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Fayard pursues politics as usual by objecting to facts

Republican Sec. of State Jay Dardenne, running in the special election for lieutenant governor, did not need in his campaigning to “attack” his opponent Democrat attorney Caroline Fayard, nor did he “attack” her, yet the media narrative has become that he has “attacked” her. Why?

Dardenne has almost everything going for him in this contest: name recognition, the right party label in this election cycle, a demonstrated willingness for voters (in the primary) to prefer the GOP label that produced a majority of the vote, and plenty of funding. About the only thing not in his favor is with distrust of government at high levels, some voters are prejudiced against those already in office whereas Fayard, not having run for elective office, can present herself as “untainted” and also as a blank slate to voters reminiscent of Pres. Barack Obama’s campaign of two years past.

With these dynamics, typically a front-runner like Dardenne need not delve into the presumed personal shortcomings of an opponent and can concentrate just on his qualities he brings to the job. However, Dardenne has chosen to runs an ad that refuses to give Fayard a clear field in presenting a defined image of her choice to voters. In it he points out some liberal issue preferences of hers, that much of her support comes from trial lawyers, that she has been a consistent donor to liberal Democrats, and that she has been aided and assisted by them in the campaign, asserting that her loyalties are more to national Democrats than to Louisiana’s values.

Fayard has taken umbrage at the commercial – even though it is all factual and consistent. In high dudgeon, she claims it is an “attack,” and others in the media have parroted that assessment. But as the Dardenne campaign has pointed out, it’s simply a recitation of qualities about her and her campaign – her “record” of political life. Certainly there has been extensive discussion of Dardenne’s history in office, which Dardenne claims to some extent has been distorted, by opponents for the office and from elsewhere, so it’s entirely legitimate that he should draw distinctions to help better educate voters on the differences between the two (where in other ads he touts his record, by contrast).

It’s telling that Fayard tries to delegitimize the tactic and message to distract votes from its content and reminds us of the quandary Democrats in Louisiana have faced in the past two decades. Knowing that the Democrat and especially liberal label increasingly have become unpopular to voters, they try to present themselves as one thing when their attitudes and behavior would suggest another. Fayard, for all her protestations that Dardenne’s tactics are indicative of the “same old,” is herself trying to follow the “same old” liberal Democrat playbook in the state.

If to the majority of Louisiana voters liberal Democrats and the views they push are dogs (yellow, blue, or any color), since Fayard lay down with dogs, she’s going to get their fleas. Crying foul (and backed in this by her allies) when her opponent points out that reaffirms that her campaign is less about getting new blood into office and more about trying to fool the electorate – the very impetus to turning an electorate feeling deceived in the past two years so decisively against Democrats this election cycle.


Anonymous said...

Let's see, pointing out the character flaws and associates of Vitter is not serious campaigning, but pointing it out about Democrats is just fine.

Then I see on the Times website where you endorse Fleming's idea about no cooperation in Congress and add in your "two cents" worth that the Democrats have no good ideas.

I also read your disclaimers at the top about this not being the opinion of your school, but Professor if you truly believe the one-sided points your raise in these blogs you should be stripped of your teaching position. Anyone who claims that one side is always wrong in politics is either ignorant or working toward a personal political goal. You are not ignorant so your classes should be closely monitored. We don't need the right wing equivalent of a Ward Churchill teaching biased information as fact.

Jeff Sadow said...

Clearly, you cannot tell reasoned argument from bias. Certainly you have trouble with logical analogies. Vitter's "associate" in this case was an employee that he dealt with immediately and appropriately upon revelation of his legal troubles. It's not like Vitter went out and proclaimed he was against lawbreakers, after making a concerted effort knowingly to keep them on staff. Fayard, by contrast, tells us information relevant to the world of politics about herself, even though it contradicts the preferences she stated through her donations to people who hold very different views. Vitter has explained himself satisfactorily on his personnel issue; Fayard has not explained herself on her incongruity and thus leads one to conclude, since you cannot be two different things at once, that she is not being honest.

Also, work on your reading comprehension. In that Times comment, the context was why should Fleming cooperate over the past two years when the ideas coming from the opposition were so demonstrably bad for the American people? If being obstructionist is the only way to prevent this abuse, it is your duty to be so. How does that translate into a universal "Democrats have no good ideas?"

One of the greatest failings of our education system has been the perpetuation of the notion that just because there is controversy over something that we cannot know what is valid or invalid about it. Given facts and the use of right reason, we can identify what are the valid descriptions about how the world is and works and those that are not. That is what I do in the classroom, giving students all the facts, all the suggested conclusions, and then try to prepare them to use their critical thinking abilities to sift the wheat from the chaff. Unfortunately, in academia as a whole an increasing number of my colleagues do not present all facts or all sides or use uninformed and/or illogical arguments to try to invalid certain views. It is why more and more we are seeing such subpar use of reasoning in our society.