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Story Archives: What about the democratic process?
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|What about the democratic process?|
By the time qualifying concludes Thursday, Gov. Bobby Jindal will all but be declared the winner of the Oct. 22 primary election.
That's assuming Jindal's chief opponent – if you want to describe her as that – remains Tara Hollis, a school teacher from Haynesville. Hollis is expected to qualify by Thursday. Other minor candidates may follow suite.
A Democrat who has no campaign organization to speak of and very little money to run on, Hollis is relying on free media to spread her message. In other words, Hollis has been forced to turn to press reports about her campaign appearances to tell voters who she is and what she stands for. It's still unclear what the latter would entail since Hollis spends so much of her time telling us everything Jindal has done wrong in lieu of informing us of what she would do if the people elected her.
Hollis has friends, though. It's not the state Democrat Party as one would think.
Instead, Hollis' friends would be some members of the media, who have tried in vain to breathe life into her candidacy for governor. Remember, Jindal has never been on very friendly terms with many members of the working press, and when members of the working press have been afforded an opportunity to stick it to Jindal, they've done it and will continue to do it at every turn.
Yet, that Hollis is the only Democrat who says she will oppose Jindal isn't the big story in this election year of 2011.
No, the underlying message we're hearing is the state Democrat Party is in such poor shape that it can't field a major candidate to butt heads with an incumbent Republican. Think about it.
Months ago there was talk that former Secretary of State Al Ater was contemplating opposing Jindal. Ater backed off once he realized how much of his own money he would have to front to mount a formidable campaign.
Ater is wealthy, and he got that way by not behaving foolishly with his own checkbook. Besides, I don't think his family would appreciate it.
Then state Sen. Rob Marionneaux tested the waters about taking on Jindal. He abandoned that idea fairly quickly, or probably at about the same time that he realized his ethical issues as a member of the Senate would become common knowledge in every household in Louisiana in a matter of hours following qualifying, assuming he qualified for the governor's race.
That's what the luxury of having some $9 million in the bank to spend on TV advertising will do for you, as Jindal does.
So, we're left to wonder what has become of the Democrat Party in Louisiana.
It's pretty simple.
The party has an image problem. Or a perception problem.
Since perception is reality in politics, the reality of it all is Democrats in Louisiana are perceived as clones of the national Democrat Party, or the party of big government and higher taxes. We've witnessed it first-hand since Barack Obama took office in January 2009, though he has tried and failed to raise taxes in his first three years in office. Make no mistake, he's committed to raising taxes at some point.
The fact remains, though, that Louisiana Democrats must deal with the Obama issue, and as long as Obama sits at the head of the Democrat Party nationwide, Democrats here as well as across the Deep South will suffer because of it.
That's regrettable, too, for a good-old fashioned slugfest between two candidates from opposite ends of the political spectrum is good for the democratic process and it can be entertaining to say the least.
Isn't that what politics is all about?
Even in Louisiana?