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Vitter's opponents hope wishfully of his quick departure

One may wonder why so much is being made about Sen. David Vitter’s chances to “survive” in office. It’s a combination of frustration, wishful thinking, and vengeance that drives speculation that Vitter will resign his office.

Days ago Vitter apologized for his phone number being on a list released by an alleged purveyor of prostitution, and hinted of past marital problems that could have led to infidelity. But while the incident essentially ends forward progress to his political career, since he did apologize and asked forgiveness for past unspecified transgressions, unless further revelations demonstrate a lack of sincerity to it all, simply he is in no danger of losing enough public support to win reelection in 2010.

Yet a full-bore effort seems to be occurring on the basis of the fiction that somehow his position is imperiled, and it tells us something about those trying to give this credence. One doesn’t reach the U.S. Senate without making a few enemies and Vitter particularly is no exception.

Obviously, his ideological foes among Democrats and in the media see this as an opportunity to try to get rid of somebody who last week would have been considered invulnerable. But it’s a measure of desperation to float the idea that Republican Vitter goes and a deal is worked with Democrat Gov. Kathleen Blanco to appoint a Republican successor. That is absolute fantasy – Blanco never would give up the chance to put a Democrat in and give that person a leg up to win the special election, plus national Democrats with a razor-thin majority in the Senate would not hear of losing a chance to pad their slim lead. To speak of Vitter resigning now in support of this scenario without any additional bad news coming his way is absurd and a product of fevered imagination.

Joining these opponents are ideological friends of Vitter’s but who have clashed with him on a personal level, such as the name floated to replace him, Vitter’s erstwhile Congressional opponent and former Gov. Dave Treen. Marginalized within the GOP as Vitter ascended in power, they see the episode as a way to get back at him and to advance their own interests. However, they ignore the fact that, all things remaining equal, Vitter retains sufficient political capital to continue to win elections. Former supporters may vote against him in three years out of disgust for presumed past behavior, but there won’t be enough of them to keep him from winning and going against him out of a perception of weakness is a sucker’s bet at this juncture.

Definitely the long knives are out to get Vitter, but unless he hands a few more to his enemies, speculation on their part about his imminent departure is but wishful thinking.

1 comment:

James H said...

Am I the only one that doesn't have amnesia on this subject lol.

THe talks about escorts services and all that was a topic that was discussed on State Wide radio way back in the Mike Foster days. I believe LOuisiana voters and his supporters largely factored in this past conduct when they voted for him for Senator.

Now if something comes up post 2004 then he might have a problem