… any punishment for Vitter would have to come from the ballot box. And the public in other instances has shown that, as long as he votes the way they want (he does for a majority in the state) and for the best public policy (his conservative voting record affirms that) that’s where they hold their real trust in him …. Three years provides much time for Vitter to continue to perform in this way to shore up any support which now may be flagging, as long as it is not demonstrated that his past misdeeds went beyond infidelity and that his repentance is sincere (meaning the behavior did stop some time ago). At this point, Vitter would be highly unlikely to leave office early, and must be considered the favorite win to reelection in 2010.
It’s reported that Democrats seem perplexed why Vitter will defeat, probably blowing out by double-digits, Melancon. They blame the state’s media for not being “aggressive” enough about reporting the scandal (Vitter’s phone number appearing on a list of calls to an operation of a woman accused of running a prostitution ring as his subsequent – a view representing a wholesale flight from reality. As I noted previously, a year after his statement, in the previous six months no fewer than 128 mentions were made of the incident in the largest Louisiana newspapers or in wire stories – over two every three days. It hasn’t really abated, either – 89 such references have been made in the previous six months from today, one every other day during the height of the campaign season.
Melancon claims it’s “partisan” politics; “Some people, because he is a Republican, because he isn’t a Democrat, because of what, I don’t know,” have decided the scandal is not an issue, Melancon said. Well, let me clue in this dunderhead, who finally makes sense when he admits it’s because of “what, I don’t know.” OK, here is that “don’t know” you and so many other Democrat operatives have been looking for: it’s the issues, stupid.
What I wrote over three years ago came to pass. Vitter has faithfully captured what the majority of Louisianans want, advocating a conservative agenda the superiority of which has been magnified by the inadequacy of liberalism when translated into policy over the past 21 months, of which Melancon has been a willing and unrepentant supporter. Historically, Louisiana voters have been more willing to concentrate on issues than personalities when they are aware or perceive that their issue preferences have been met.
In days gone by, it was more perception. Liberal populists like Melancon’s one-time boss Prisoner # 03128-095 (better known as former Gov. Edwin Edwards) would create the perception they were doing good by giving away stuff which worked when Louisianans typically were much less educated than now and information sources were far fewer. Thinking they were getting good policy, voters responded by putting the likes of these characters into office despite their ethical shortcomings in their personal lives.
Today, the Louisiana electorate has a greater ability to understand when the issue preferences of the majority are and are not being addressed by candidates. Vitter has done that to its liking, Melancon has not. And Vitter has pulled this off despite the image he has for being the exact opposite of the typical Louisiana politician which enables them to charm voters into casting for them despite having issue preferences that differ from the majority of their constituents.
In a conservative state, the majority favors conservative politicians who deliver. The only apparent reason why Melancon and his ilk can’t see this is sour grapes born of an out-of-touch, blind arrogance where they will blame every other facet for their defeat except the truth: not only are their ideas wrong intellectually, they are wrong for the Louisiana electorate as a whole.