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Out-of-touch Campbell Senate candidacy sinking fast

As it suffers its death throes, the campaign of Democrat Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell has turned increasingly bizarre, lurching into an Orwellian mode entirely tone deaf about why he will lose this election in uncompromising fashion.

With polls showing a healthy lead for fellow runoff contestant Republican Treasurer John Kennedy and early voting trends not on Campbell’s side, he and his allied political action committee Defend Louisiana have banked everything on hopelessly desperate and tellingly self-unaware advertisements and statements. These appear desperate because they spin fantastic assertions that strain credulity and lack awareness because they bring up Campbell’s own vulnerabilities as a candidate.

For example, even though Kennedy has publicly voiced pro-life attitudes since 2004 and has the endorsement of the leading pro-life group National Right to Life, the PAC ran ads claiming Kennedy harbored pro-abortion sentiments more than a dozen years ago. That Defend Louisiana would employ a tactic attacking Kennedy on inconsistency on this issue seems ironic given that the organization initially formed to back Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards last year, who himself evinced pro-abortion sentiments in a contemplated 2006 run for Congress and in 2009 as a legislator supported weakening a pro-life conscience protection bill yet now claims staunch pro-life views.

Campbell, who consistently as a legislator supported the pro-life cause, could have gotten the Louisiana chapter of National Right to Life’s endorsement as well – the group often endorses multiple candidates in contests – but instead chose not to answer its questionnaire because the document did not allow for “expansive” answers, according to the campaign. Whether that constitutes a genuine explanation, it boggles the mind that Campbell simply did not fill out the sheet and then could have posted an expanded version on his website, to prevent completely mooting the point of the ad that, very unconvincingly, tries to make Campbell seem qualitatively more pro-life than Kennedy.

Another ad accuses Kennedy of advocating for a tax increase in the form of homeowners paying more with curtailing of the homestead exemption – only because his boss at the time, former GOP Gov. Buddy Roemer (a long-time political adversary of Campbell’s extending way back to their time in Bossier Parish), at one time stumped for such a measure. Yet Campbell was notorious as a tax-and-spender in the state Legislature, perhaps most infamously for a ruinous tax on oil processed in the state repeatedly rejected that would have had deleterious economic effects, who also voted for 2002 tax changes that increased taxes on the working class later repudiated, and whose campaign continues class warfare rhetoric backing tax increases on the villainous corporations that he imagines.

Campbell also likens Kennedy to the financiers his campaign excoriates as villains, implying Kennedy’s wealth and connections put him in league with them to loot the state. But even as Campbell in his PSC role regularly thunders about the utilities he regulates and the energy industry as a whole, as he has done his entire political career, he became wealthy through astute land deals and royalties from mineral rights on these parcels and takes enormous sums of money from utilities in the form of campaign donations.

In other words, despite these campaign communications from him and his allies, few voters already not die-hard backers of Campbell seriously will believe he’s more pro-life than Kennedy, or more likely to reduce the size of government and allow people to keep more of what they earn, or is any less connected to wealth and wealthy interests. Such is the self-deception of his campaign that, besides these ineffective strategies, it spends its efforts on a beauty products supplier interview and currying favor with trendy lefty fashion magazines.

The reality of how far out of touch Campbell and his allies are with Louisianans will hit home this weekend. Until then, enjoy the crackup.

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