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Story Archives: Vitter opponents attempt to interject race into Senate campaign
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|Vitter opponents attempt to interject race into Senate campaign|
President Barack Obama was soundly rejected by Louisiana voters in the 2008 presidential election.
And the president's prospects in the Pelican State are bleaker now than they were several months ago. According to the latest Southern Media and Opinion research poll, President Obama's job performance ratings stand at 45 percent compared to 53 percent in the spring. Fifty-four percent of respondents gave the president a negative rating.
Louisiana rejects the president, as well as his plans for health care. Upset though Louisianians may be, Obama's election last year was the best thing that could have happened for Sen. David Vitter's re-election prospects in 2010. Political insiders are telling me that in order to win, Vitter can and should ignore his announced opponent, Congressman Charlie Melancon, and run against President Obama and his policies. That's exactly what Senator Vitter has been doing.
The strategy serves Vitter well. In the aforementioned poll, Vitter leads his Democratic challenger Melancon 48 percent to 36 percent in a trial heat. Polling also shows Vitter is close to the 50.01 percent needed for re-election.
On issues near and dear to the hearts of Louisianians, Vitter is winning. His opponents have no issues of substance, so they are jumping at every chance they get to manufacture one.
Enter Keith Bardwell, a justice of the peace from Hammond who made national headlines by refusing to marry an interracial couple. Instead of having an open and honest dialogue on the subject, some are trying to turn it into a campaign issue. The leading lights of the Left are demanding that Vitter take a position on what Blackwell did.
Are the actions of a Tangipahoa elected official a matter of life-and-death to the future of the United States? Of course not, and they know that it isn't.
It's a predictable campaign ploy. The Left knows that no issue inflames people more than race, and that Vitter's answer will be wrong no matter what he says. How's that possible? Because interracial marriage is a contentious issue about which there is widespread disagreement, even within the black community.
This morning on talk radio, I heard a prominent leader in the black community condemning Bardwell's action. An African-American woman called in as well. While not condoning Bardwell's actions, she was more sympathetic. She admitted that she thought it was a good idea for people to marry their own race, and it was her preference.
In my lifetime, I've known at least one black person who was unambiguously against interracial marriage, for the same reasons given by the Hammond justice of the peace.
I say this not to defend such views or validate them. I'm merely demonstrating that, rightly or wrongly, interracial marriage is a volatile issue about which there is widespread disagreement. Interjecting it into a U.S. Senate race is a campaign tactic, pure and simple.
Vitter's opposition would love for his position on it to become the defining issue of the campaign because no matter what he says, they will find a way to twist it and distort it to fit their agenda.
Which is why he should say as little about it as possible.
Chad Rogers is publisher of The Dead Pelican, a news web site. The site can be read at www.thedeadpelican.com.