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December 09, 2006

Comments

Could the House refuse to seat him?

How's that wall repair going?

"What on earth can New Orleans be thinking?"

New Orleans politics has been deeply, deeply corrupt since there's been a New Orleans. So, for that matter, has Louisiana politics.

Obviously, the voters there like corrupt politicians. Maybe the rascality of it appeals to them. Maybe they figure that, given the chance, they'd be just as corrupt, so why hold against Jefferson something they'd all do if they could?

I'm not very suprised at the results. Carter had some pretty strong negatives based on her comments about the West Bank in the Spike Lee documentary AND didn't run a particularly strong campaign.

What on earth can New Orleans be thinking?
For the voters of New Orleans proper this was a very close race. It was really decided in the suburbs (Jefferson Parish) which voted 2-1 in favor of Dollar Bill.

Obviously, the voters there like corrupt politicians. Maybe the rascality of it appeals to them.

Gee, generalize much? Screw you. FWIW, I'm past caring about what the rest of the nation thinks of us. We lost most of that credibility re-electing our incompetent mayor. And we're largely on our own here anyway.

I think what a lot of New Orleans is thinking is that the rest of the country doesn't give a rat's ass about them. They have pretty good reasons to think that.

How can I put this diplomatically? Blatant corruption is not as much of a deal breaker in Lousiana as it is in other parts of the country. We all have our, you know, traditions. Grease is what made the "Big Easy" easy.

The results didn't much surprise me, especially as I started reading some of the local bloggers. The liberal blogosphere political bloggers that swooped in (or just commented from outside the state) never really seemed to have even a slight grasp of things going on there and just gave very simplistic, general (and Carter advocacy) information. Mostly the talk has been about how this will affect the Democrats in DC, but very little about what the issues were/are on the ground. I think this sort of surface coverage does a disservice to the people of New Orleans - as if they'd not had enough to go through already.

Carter was presented as the "progressive", new blood, outsider, "I am not a crook" candidate, but she seems to have had major issues of her own, not to mention being a part of another wing of the New Orleans political machine and considered by some to be the DLC/DC candidate and the 'white' candidate. And the whole Jefferson county thing, too.

Between all the race stuff, the corruption, poorly run campaigns, competing political machine interests, despair, distrust of the federal govt, displacement and whatever else, seems to me that a good number of people considered both candidates horrific and just stayed home.

Some thinking seems to have been that they did not want Jefferson, but at least there is a good chance of getting rid of him soon (indictment, or at least the next election) and getting someone else in there, whereas with Carter they'd likely be stuck with her for at least a few election cycles because of the force of the political machine behind her, once she actually got into office.

Anyway, I not going to pretend that the very tiny portion of Louisiana politics I do sort of understand gives a full view, but I do think this entire race hinged on a lot more than just corruption for the local people.

I'm a resident of Covington, in St. Tammany Parish, north of Lake Pontchartrain. This is the most republican parish in the state. Actually, I believe it is in fact the only parish in the state with a majority republican registration. Thousands upon thousands of Democrats have never botherd to change their registration; they just vote republican most of the time.

I'm not in Jefferson's district, so couldn't vote for Carter.

I think one must remember that if not for the swirling investigation Jefferson would have run unopposed or effectively so. He has not been indicted, and there's that presumption of innocence thing.

It's my observation that Carter ran a poor campaign. Didn't really hit hard enough on the corruption angle (can understand the reasoning, there was a risk involved in that, but think she made the wrong decision). She also did not forcefully make a case for why she would be as effective in Congress as Jefferson has been, (or, at least is perceived to have been).

Then there was the popular Sheriff Harry Lee's insinuation of his
rather odious self (he's rather erratic, good and bad days, but overall that's my view of him) into the mix. This was rather weird. What he did was lambast Carter for her takedown of Gretna law enforcement for their turning back at gunpoint a predominantly black group trying to escape New Orleans over the Mississippi River bridge. Now, you'd think this might help her in the black community, you know standing up for black people who had been forcibly confined in the hellhole that was New Orleans after Katrina. I'm sure this played well for Rep. Jefferson among whites in Jefferson Parish.

Then there also may have been an undercurrent of Carter being too white. Not sure about this, but her strongest support comes from white Uptown New Orleans, so I suspect, though it was not overtly argued, that this may have been a subtext.

Turnout was absolutely abysmal. I think it was less than half what it had been in the general, which was only about 24%.

I must say that I was astonished by the magnitude of Jefferson's victory, and am unclear what signals were being sent.

Thanks to all the local people who have commented -- I assumed there must be other local issues that I just wasn't aware of, and it's great to get some sense of what they were.

"the world is too complicated for overall despair to be at all plausible"

and as a corollary, the world is too complicated for overall hope to be at all plausible, right?

What happens if Jefferson is actually indicted?

One answer to my question: he gets seated but then can be expelled.

kid b: sure. I am generally mystified by people who decide that everything in the world is (a) great, (b) too awful to bother with, (c) insert virtually any predicate here, with a few trivial exceptions like "everything in the world is something". If I had to go with any substantive claim, 'interesting' would be my choice.

But dismissing the claim that everything is hopeful leaves a lot of room for particular hopeful things, as does its despairing counterpart.

Yes, RF, Mark Kleiman has a post about that as well.

"Gee, generalize much? Screw you."

Huey Long, Ed Edwards, Jefferson, and practically the entire New Orleans pliice department and city government? That's generalizing?

FTR, I'd say the same thing about any city with a long history of electing and re-electing crooked pols. Chicago, frex.

It has no direct bearing on US law, but as I understand it (fuzzily), the precedent for how to deal with such a situation was the Wilkes case in 18th-century England -- which I know about because I wrote an undergraduate essay on it over 40 years ago!

John Wilkes was a real radical, who was elected to Parliament from one of the few genuine working-class constituencies, in London, I believe. Other MPs, who disapproved of everything about him, and deplored (IIRC) the fact that he had been convicted of various crimes against the King's Peace, tried to bar him permanently from Parliament.

But what was eventually decided was that (1) they could expel him from Parliament whenever they felt like it, on whatever grounds, BUT (2) they could not make him ineligible for (re-)election. So as long as his constituents were bloody-minded enough to keep re-electing him -- which they were -- he could always be legally sworn in again as an MP before the rest of the House of Commons got around to expelling him once more.

You gotta love British politics!

(Apologies if an earlier version of this was posted, but I think I inadvertently deleted it, rather than posting.)

Ah, Wilkes, perpetrator of one of the great comebacks in the English language, on the occasion when a preposterous peer sputtered that he wondered which way Wilkes would perish: the gallows, or syphillis ("the pox").

"That must depend," Wilkes shot back, "on whether I embrace Your Lordship's principles, or Your Lordship's mistresses."

I thought that comeback was Disraeli's!

Google attributes the quote to Disraeli in about %80 of the entries; Wilkes gets almost %20. (At least one person tried to give it to Churchill.)

So many examples of what's wrong with the country.

In the summer of 2003, shoppers in Southern California began getting a break on the price of milk. A maverick dairyman named Hein Hettinga started bottling his own milk and selling it for as much as 20 cents a gallon less than the competition, exercising his right to work outside the rigid system that has controlled U.S. milk production for almost 70 years. Soon the effects were rippling through the state, helping to hold down retail prices at supermarkets and warehouse stores.

That was when a coalition of giant milk companies and dairies, along with their congressional allies, decided to crush Hettinga's initiative. For three years, the milk lobby spent millions of dollars on lobbying and campaign contributions and made deals with lawmakers, including incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.).

Last March, Congress passed a law reshaping the Western milk market and essentially ending Hettinga's experiment -- all without a single congressional hearing.

"They wanted to make sure there would be no more Heins," said Mary Keough Ledman, a dairy economist who observed the battle.

But I suppose this is the "acceptable" corruption.


a

Could you give a link to the source of that quote?

Via google news. Seems like another case of govt subsidies to big industries, the kind of thing I hope Democrats will do away with. bril didn't choose this snippet:

The first challenge to Hettinga came in late 2001, when Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) proposed a measure that would have forced Hettinga to pay in to the pool that Shamrock was governed by.

Shamrock's chairman, Norman P. McClelland, had contributed thousands of dollars to Kyl, beginning with Kyl's first House campaign, in 1986.

"Seems like another case of govt subsidies to big industries, the kind of thing I hope Democrats will do away with."

Cough. Remember Senate 'hero' Jeffords? His payment for the party switch was in milk subsdies. That is a lot of hope you've got there. :)

As for Jefferson, he and corrupt Louisiana politicians like him are precisely why the state has been such a disaster area for decades. Katrina didn't just cause a disaster. It exposed one.

bril: Is it your view that anything I don't comment on is something I don't care about?

"I am generally mystified by people who decide that everything in the world is (a) great, (b) too awful to bother with, (c) insert virtually any predicate here, with a few trivial exceptions like "everything in the world is something"

you splitters.
you're all the same.

Jackmormon,
I think that one is from the WaPo. The WAJ one (behind a subscription wall, but posted here) has this

Feeling Mr. Hettinga's regulatory end run is legal but unfair, dairy-processing giant Dean Foods Co., supermarket chain Kroger Co. and the Dairy Farmers of America, the nation's largest such cooperative, are backing bills introduced in Congress in recent months by California Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, a former dairyman, and Sen. Jon Kyl, a Republican from Arizona. The bills would force the smaller operators doing business in those two states to pay into the pool if they grow to a certain size.

Amazing how an R can render things invisible.

The whole milk thing is just ridiculous. (And that applies to 2% and non-fat milk as well). The government absolutely does not need to be propping up milk profits at the expense of milk drinkers.

SH: "That is a lot of hope you've got there. :)"

Well, I did say "hope", not "expect". I seem to recall we were still in the black, or nearly, when Jeffords became an independent ...

Anyway, compared to the oil and mining and etc giveaways, this is crying over spilt - never mind.

I've been googling the milk subsidies and Jeffords connection, but I'm a bit confused by it, especially since the first two articles I get are by Jonah Goldberg, pointing to a theory that Jeffords left because of pressure, not that he was rewarded (though I guess the Dems could have rewarded him by telling Kohl to lay off on the "Northeast Dairy Compact". (that name cracks me up)

Googling also turns up a whole trove of anti milk pages, with this being the most strident, so I'm wondering if anyone might chime in with more info.

Thanks for the links, guys. My initial reactions to this wholy new topic: Christ, what a mess, and the old milk-cartel (as it were) seems like something to reform with deliberation, rather than allow to collapse willy-nilly.

In general, though, conservatives and libertarians are doing good by pointing out some of weirder effects of agricultural regulations. The economics of agriculture doesn't show up much in the media I'm likelier to read, but it really is important stuff.

bril: Is it your view that anything I don't comment on is something I don't care about?

You're giving bril too much credit.

Jackmormon: I thought that comeback was Disraeli's!

No, Anderson's right: John Wilkes said it, to the Earl of Sandwich. It is a tolerably well-documented comeback, but Disraeli tends to get the credit for it, just as Churchill tends to get the credit for any particularly good 20th century comeback. Disraeli and Churchill (and Oscar Wilde, too) are well known names to whom quotes tend to be attributed when the person quoting can't quite remember who said it.

I guess I hadn't known that "bril" and "a" were the same person. It seems so, anyway.

Hilzoy: bril: Is it your view that anything I don't comment on is something I don't care about?

I accuse bril of not caring about the plight of the takahé: I have never seen bril mention takahé, not ever.

I accuse bril of not caring for debate, because bril has habitually dropped this sort of turd in the punchbowl and gone away, never to be heard of again in a given thread.

And this is pretty good

Everyone already assumes bloggers are unemployed losers... thanks for reinforcing that stereotype...
December 10, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMarc

whoops, wrong punchbowl...

Ah, thanks Jes; didn't mean to imply that my citation was above reproach, I just haven't been back to this thread.

I saw the Wilkes quote in a primitive data-storage device called a "book," which I still tend to credit above the misinformation-multiplication of the internet. Probably I saw it in Bartlett's, the Cliff's Notes to Western civilization.

Over at Bartleby's, Bartlett's 10th ed. doesn't seem to have it (1919, too stuffy), but another anthology cites it to Sir Charles Petrie, The Four Georges (1935).

Earl of Sandwich: ’Pon my honor, Wilkes, I don’t know whether you’ll die on the gallows or of the pox.

John Wilkes: That must depend my Lord, upon whether I first embrace your Lordship’s principles, or your Lordship’s mistresses.

Speaking of misinformation, Wiki also gives the quote to Wilkes, and has an article on Petrie, who was a bit of a fascist fanboy but drew the line at Nazis, apparently.

I think what a lot of New Orleans is thinking is that the rest of the country doesn't give a rat's ass about them. They have pretty good reasons to think that.

I think there's a lot of truth to this. I don't doubt that at least some voters picked Jefferson just as a way to give the rest of the country, and maybe the state, (the LA Democratic Party Committeee endorsed Carter) the finger.

After all, the levee breaks are attributed to the Corps of Engineers, and at least some insurers are withrawing because they lack confidence in the repairs. There are also the massive problems with the "Road Home" program, which is under Blanco's supervision. So some rebellious attitudes are to be expected.

Rejecting Jefferson would have been a good way to get positive publicity for NO. I can't understand petulantly electing a crook because the Corps are hacks.

Rejecting Jefferson would have been a good way to get positive publicity for NO. I can't understand petulantly electing a crook because the Corps are hacks.

No doubt there's some childishness there, if I'm right about the motivation. But if the positive aspects of electing Carter - who I understand to be a very capable individual - aren't going to benefit the city then the temptation to give way to petulance is strong.

hmmmm...just testing.

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