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Democrat, GOP leaders would rejoice at Fayard candidacy

Seldom does a high-profile politician come along that both Louisiana Democrats and Republicans fervently hope will run for office. One has emerged as a candidate for governor later this fall – all because, for different reasons and at different levels, she is such a useful idiot.

In fact, as far as these go, former lieutenant governor candidate for Democrats Caroline Fayard is about as useful an idiot as you can get. The term “useful idiot” came from European communist movements, to describe somebody that thinks of herself as an ideological ally of a group but instead is held in contempt by it and used for its own purposes that do not match hers. The modern formation of the classical definition describes well her relationship with state Democrat power brokers.

They face an ongoing crisis as Republicans now hold all levers of power in every single elective policy-making way – all executive branch offices, both chambers of the Legislature, the Public Service Commission and (counting the appointed members) the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Further, the position of Gov. Bobby Jindal in his reelection quest is such that only he can defeat himself, discouraging Democrats from fielding a competitive candidate this fall.

Finding such a gubernatorial candidate they desperately want. You can’t win if you don’t play and the future is unwritten, so, as slim as their chances may be depending upon fantastic fortune for them, these chances are zero if they don’t run somebody who can get more than a handful of votes. Further, having somebody competitive at the top of the ticket can have helpful trickle-down effects on the vote. Somebody with the resources that the party doesn’t, that can stimulate the base to assist out down-ballot candidates that, unlike this person, do have a chance to win their districts and will not without this kind of help from above. Somebody with enough of an ego and own money to not mind the whole exercise.

And here, like a gift from the gods, comes Fayard. With her family’s wealthy connections and Democrat willingness to skirt ethics laws as charged by an ethics complaint and alleged by political observers, a small coterie of supporters can come up with enough scratch for a credible campaign by her to get yellow dog Democrats to the polls. Best of all for party leaders, it’s a freebie, with little expected of it in the way of support other than making sure presumably unrestricted cash that comes into it ends up going out the door to her.

However, Republicans also should be excited about the possibility of her running against Jindal. They know somebody will at some point, because Democrats simply cannot allow Jindal a free pass no matter how unbeatable he seems, as illustrated above, even if they can’t get such a gift horse as Fayard and have to work harder and spend more as a result. Yet Fayard would be a useful idiot to them in a different way than the classic “use-her-for-your-own-purposes” that state Democrats intend.

Simply because, as far as politics goes, she is a literal idiot. It was damaging enough to her credibility that her attempts to present herself as a blank slate and babbling in generalities during her statewide campaign imperfectly covered her liberal Democrat tendencies. This happened even though the lieutenant governor’s contest, by nature of the office’s almost nonexistent duties, is as issueless as can be – the exact opposite of governors’ races where candidates cannot hide from or finesse easily issues. In any run for governor, this reduced credibility means that any attempt not to sound like a liberal Democrat will be disbelieved and her credibility will suffer even further to her detriment on election day, and if she does give full throat to her core liberalism in articulating issue preferences she will sustain a worse throttling at the polls.

But worse, she doesn’t have the temperament or intelligence to even try to act like a candidate who can win. The infamous “I hate Republicans” rant in a public forum (which drew approving noises from Democrat elected officials and leaders in the room), guaranteed to alienate Republican registrants and provide plenty of fodder for the GOP to exploit, cannot be explained away or written off as the expression of the common woman inexperienced in the ways of the political world inexpertly and inarticulately sounding off. This rube, despite already being the veteran of a competitive statewide campaign, reaffirmed with this that she just doesn’t get it, that she is a deeply flawed candidate additionally saddled with the wrong agenda that no amount of money can fix.

That is, a political rube with a lot of money and ego, and that’s why the GOP should be so excited about having her toss her designer hat into the ring. Not only would she turn out as the worst possible candidate to compete, but also with the resources her campaign could deploy she would suck the air out of the room for any other Democrat who might prove to be more competitive and (especially if black) do a better job of stimulating turnout to help the down-ballot Democrats. As history has shown, money alone can turn lead into gold as candidacies go, and hers is such a leaden one that it threatens to weigh down Democrats all the way through the ballot, compared to what others could do who would be doubly discouraged from getting in the race by both Jindal’s and her presence in it.

Surely state Democrat leaders know of this possibility, but they likely would rather go with her than hope somebody else who could do better will manifest, because that person may not come. Plus, from the perspective of whites in the party whose power slippage from them to blacks has reached a tipping point, a Fayard candidacy would provide more help to white Democrats running down ballot than would a black candidate, even if in the aggregate another candidate might produce overall more Democrat wins below the statewide level.

Pretty much the bloom was off the Fayard political rose shortly into the general election runoff for lieutenant governor, and now her rhetoric has hacked off the flower itself. She’s not ready for prime time and if she seriously wants any kind of political future she best lay low to wait for better conditions to appear and reinvention opportunities. Democrats would cut their losses by getting her to run, and Republicans would take satisfaction in that their opponents will settle with her and potentially can exploit her presence further for their own gain. Now the only suspense left is whether she ratifies her status as a genuine useful idiot by actually running for governor.


Anonymous said...

Good article - but, your editing is terrible. Left-out words and other uncorrected problems very much detract from the substance of what you write.

Anonymous said...

Would that he left out more words. In all my experience I've never seen such partisan garbage come from someone with such training. To read the professor you would believe that good is entirely the province of the GOP and evil the entire province of the Democrats.

Not sure what he said in the latter part of the article because it became clear he has no insight to add once he made this snide comment -- "a Democrat willingness to skirt ethics laws."

Professor, beyond the simplistic and ridiculous idea that only one "side" skirts ethics laws, your insistence on employing the childish Republican meme of late -- refusing to use the real name of the Democratic Party, and instead substituting "Democrat" Party -- makes me wonder if you present this same type of slanted presentation in your classrooms. Refusing to even factually report the name of one of the two major political parties in this country out of a personal pique, makes anything you have to say suspect.

Shame UNO can't "recall" degrees when the holders abuse the process of factual discussion.

Jeff Sadow said...

On the constructive comment, please point out where such missing words should be. Another reading of it didn't reveal any, nor did my wife, who read this one (as she does with many of them) and teaches writing for a living, indicate any problems with it.

As for the half-baked comment, where do I write about the "Democrat Party?" And you'd have to be, as this commenter clearly is, a blind partisan not to acknowledge the state party and Fayard campaign clearly tried to launder as much money as possible through the party to the campaign, which may not be proven as a legal violation but certainly is contrary to the spirit of campaign finance regulations -- read the link to The Hayride's excellent analysis of this. Writing off the presenting of this as "partisanship" shows a mind closed to logical discourse.

As expected, this commenter also has trouble thinking critically, besides being unable to distinguish among adjectives, nouns, and proper names, as revealed by the presumption that an absence of criticism about Republicans and ethics when mentioning Democrats and such abuse therefore must mean "only one side 'skirts' ethics laws." Stating one does not ineluctably lead to the other and serves as another indicator of an inability to think clearly as noted above.

Rather than disparage them, it appears this commenter could benefit tremendously by attendance in my classes, where he could be helped to use reason and fact rather than muddling emotion in his unpersuasive arguments.

Anonymous said...

Ah, professor, single columns don't exist in a vacuum. I will gladly retract my claims of partisanship on your part when you provide a single column that ever suggests that any of the wrongs you target as "Democrat" willingness, might exist on the other side. You simply consistently shill for one side of each issue. I will point out that the very point you made to my criticisms, can be said of your response. Why do you assume I find no wrong-doing with the Democratic politicians? The fact I didn't mention them when responsding to your childish name-calling about the Democrats doesn't mean I think they are without blame.

Not sure about the half-baked part, it seems to be fully-cooked. You are correct, nowhere did you specifically say "Democrat Party", but here are a few of your uses.

"Democrat power brokers" -- on that one I'd suggest you are the one who needs to brush up on parts of speech and usage.

"liberal Democrat tendencies"

"Democrat elected officials"

I have no problem thinking clearly and reading clearly that in your fairy tale blog world, as I originally stated, evil only comes from Democrats and good only from Conservatives/Republicans.

Surely Fayard is flawed, but so is David Vitter, yet you invaribly refuse to "jump to conclusions" when the facts about the Senator or clear. But, when it is a member of the other party, you set off on a 400 meter hurdle race, jump conclusions every few lines.

If you portray the world of politics to your classes in this manner, only discussing the sins of one side, then no one benefits from sitting under such a misleading presentation. By the way, that little dig about emotion -- I missed the class where flinging insults such as "rube" and "idiot" are considered good usage in logical argument.

Mr. Harris Plutocrat said...

Jeffrey gets bonus points for dragging eastern european communists into the discussion. But may I pause this comment back-and-forth to ask a question?

A "useful idiot" is an ignorant rube located in an outpost far from power, and who party leaders can count on to consistently tow the line as a professional ideologue and to consistently attack whatever boogieman the party leaders need attacked based on whatever meme is pushed.

With that in mind, can anyone here think of a better example of Jeff's "useful idiot" than Jeff himself?

Jeff Sadow said...

>where do I write about the "Democrat Party?"

Thank you for proving my point. Nowhere do you provide an an example of such usage, and what you do list does not serve as such examples, as you admit.

>Why do you assume I find no wrong-doing with the Democratic politicians?

This straw man won't fly, or burn, or whatever they do ... I never wrote that in my comment, but did write that you apparently don't see fault specifically with Fayard's blatant bending of reporting laws. Your sidestep won't work -- she isn't just "flawed," she's unethical.

>so is David Vitter, yet you invaribly refuse to "jump to conclusions" when the facts about the Senator or clear.

I have written on several occasions about why Vitter should be reelected -- if we assume he consorted with and utilized prostitutes for the reason they exist, the fact is it had nothing to do with his performance in office and in particular his voting record. By contrast, Fayard gives every appearance of trying to skirt a law that directly relates to running for an office. Intellectually, they are very different cases.

>I missed the class where flinging insults such as "rube" and "idiot" are considered good usage in logical argument.

Which shows you don't understand logical argumentation well. The labels don't matter if a follows b which follows c which means a follows c. If it walks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck .... But it's an opinion column we're discussing here, not a lecture.

>when you provide a single column

I guess you don't read mine too often. Whenever a Republican is on the wrong side of an issue, I don't hesitate to point that out. It's just that Democrats are much more often on that wrong side because of the flawed worldview they tend to proselytize. Please review even just those from the past few months to disabuse yourself of that notion.

Jeff Sadow said...

>But may I pause this comment back-and-forth to ask a question?

Other than me being the opposite of "ignorant," that my ideas don't reflect ideology but reasoned analysis that leaves you unable to counter except through sputtering name-calling, and that I have no idea whether I am near or far from "power," you question in spot on. So, the answer is "quite the opposite." Ask again if you need help on these.