Saturday, August 21, 2004

Louisiana Politics: The Big Sleazy

The Near-Infinite Corruption of Louisiana Politics is sometimes hard to fathom even after years of skeptically following that scene. Only last week, Louisiana's sleazy Congressman, Rep. Alexander switched parties, accidentally on purpose, at the last possible moment, in the darkness of the night, increasing the Republican advantage by one in the House, simultaneously diminishing the Democrats by a vote by one, finally nixing any chance of the Dems -- his old party -- an even break to run a challenger against Alexander's new Republican seat. Oilier than a N'Orleans muffaletta.

Now, according to TheHill:

"The Louisiana Republican Party�s endorsement earlier this week of Billy Tauzin III in that state�s 3rd congressional district has attracted intense criticism from some Republicans and led one prominent state GOP leader to submit her resignation.

"Collette Vizier, a member of the state�s central committee, announced today that she would step down as deputy director of Louisiana�s Republican Party in protest of the endorsement.

"Vizier resigned from the state executive committee because she thought the party had deserted her. She did not resign from the central committee itself.

"'I would rather jump from a bridge and commit suicide than vote for Billy Tauzin,' Vizier told The Hill. 'So I�m jumping from a bridge and committing political suicide.'She criticized the process of how Tauzin was endorsed and noted that none of the executive committee members who backed Tauzin are from the Louisiana�s 3rd congressional district."

Now, to keep this criticism in perspective here -- Vizier is a Republican in good standing, trying to run a clean ship. Frankly, Louisiana is just as nasty business with the Dems, but lately the Republican Party has gotten overly bold, overly corrupt, so we're going to break our general air of nonpartisanship to put up the dukes.

"In response to Vizier�s resignation, Tauzin III said, 'It is her right to disagree with the executive committee, just as it is the committee�s right to make an endorsement. Clearly, the party believes that I have the best chance among conservatives to retain this seat.'

"Her resignation came one day after state Sen. Craig Romero, one of two other Republicans in the race to succeed Tauzin�s father, Rep. Billy Tauzin, Jr. (R), said the Louisiana GOP�s endorsement was a ploy to allow the junior Tauzin access to his father�s extensive campaign coffers.

"'It�s all about the million dollars in the campaign account,' Romero said, referring to the almost $950,000 the elder Tauzin still has in his war chest, according to the Center For Responsive Politics.

"'The little boy ain�t going to make it on his own.'

"On Tuesday, Louisiana�s Republican Party broke from tradition and formally endorsed Tauzin III, commonly referred to as 'Little Billy,' even though there are two other Republicans � Romero and physician Kevin Chaisson � in the race.The Louisiana GOP endorsed Tauzin because they thought they had a chance to win in the Nov. 2 general election and avoid an unnecessary runoff, said Jon Bargas, executive director of the Louisiana Republican Party.In Louisiana�s non-traditional election system, the November ballot is open with the top two candidates competing in a December runoff ... If Tauzin wins in November, the Louisiana GOP could focus its money and personnel on other races, Bargas said, primarily Rep. David Vitter�s (R) Senate campaign.

"... The Louisiana GOP�s decision to endorse Tauzin took only 16 minutes, according to the official minutes of the meeting, which were included in an e-mail that accompanied Vizier�s resignation letter.Romero, who had raised more money than Tauzin � $514,661 to $341,441 � said this decision was alienating Louisiana Republicans from their own party.'There�s economic distrust,' Romero said, adding that the RNC has been unsuccessful in Louisiana in past elections, most notably the 2002 Senate race and 2003 gubernatorial races, because it ignores the concerns of state voters.'This money will be used to perform a David Copperfield magic show,' Romero said about the elder Tauzin�s campaign money. He charged the 13th term congressman with trying to fix the election in his son�s favor."

So, now you know. It's no wonder that political insiders call Louisiana by the nickname, "The Big Sleazy."

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