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An average American that has some thoughts on politics, culture, and society with a conservative and Catholic twist.

Location: Louisiana, United States
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Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Bobby Jindal lost because of North Louisiana Racists Myth Continues

This comes from a article dealing primarily with post Louisiana Katrina politics by political Columinist Lou Gehrig Burnett. It appeared in Shreveport news weekly the Forum(Not available online). I shall talk about his other statements in the next post. I do take exception that he appear to be endorsing a theory that for some reason that is now taken as Gospel. That is Bobby Jindal lost the Governor's race against Blanco because North Louisiana folks would not vote for someone that was dark skinned. I continue to say that this utter nonsense.

Burnett says -"There is no doubt Jindal will be a formidable foe. The big question is whether his ethnicity will play a role this time as it did in 2003. In 12 of the so called "David Duke Parishes" in north and central Louisiana(Duke carried all 12 in his races against Edwin Edwards for Governor and Bennett Johnston for US Senate), Jindal won only four of them while Blanco won Eight. Those Parishes are basically rural and Conservative".

This theory largely became gospel because a political science Prof from LSU said it was true in his study. All the national media picked it up so because that happen it became fact basically.

I don't want go to go to much into this but this is wrong wrong wrong.

Why did Blanco do so well in North Louisiana? Because she out worked Bobby Jindal pure and simple. Also she was well liked. Blanco also took advantage of the fact that many North Louisiana voters feel they get ignored by the generally State Wide elected officals who now are most of the time from South Louisiana.

Before Blanco we had a Governor by the names of Mike Foster. Mike Foster rarely even came to visit this part of the State that he governed. In his last four years as Governor he visted the area only 4 times and that was just in Shreveport. His time he spent here could be measured in hours. That was noticed by Republican and Democrat alike. Blanco was had been Lt Governor for 8 years seemed to live here. She is from Lafayette but it seems I couldn't open the paper and not see her at some local event or writing a Column in like the FORUM. She was often at event thats regular people were putting on. She appeared at events the Highland Neighborhood association would put on for goodness sakes. This was when we could barely get Foster to do a flyover of the area. You do that for 8 years and that pays dividends. I was a Jindal voter. But even I felt a little guilt voting against Blanco. Why? Because it was hard not to vote for her so to award the appreciation she had for this part of the State. After a while if a politican shows up at enough events and says "good job" and "I love (insert town or locale) "that adds ups in the vote column after a while. Especially if you have been doing it for 8 years.

The above is important especially when you add the fact that she got votes because of her gender(believe it or not I heard "I think its time for a Woman" more than "I am not voting for a Indian) . Also it must be noted that Blanco was not viewed as some Liberal. She was and still is a Conservative Democrat. In reality, Blanco and Jindal shared a good many positions. Further Bobby Jindal did not respond to an ad in the closing weeks that basically said Jindal had and was going to cut all the funding for the Charity hospitals. An ad that ran 24/7 it seemed. Blanco was always in the top two contenders for Governor all year long. Bobby Jindal started the race at like 2 percent in the polls. I rarely heard about Bobby's race but I did hear concerns about his young age.

One other thing to note? Why is this always framed as the "racist white rednecks". Believe it or not there are black folks up here. Quite a few of them. Blanco got 85 to 90 percent of that vote. But when this question is framed, it is framed as all those racist rednecks in North Louisiana. Why is that? One other thing that must be remembered. This area is conservative but it is not "Tom Delay" conservative. There has been and still is a sort of Blue Dog democrat populist feel to huge areas here. Also Shreveport that is often viewed as a conservative city is a tad more liberal in reality than is commonly portrayed. Those where Blanco voters. ALL this worked to Blanco's advantage.

However none of the above is mentioned. One fact of that race that should be considered. There was a Democrat from North Louisiana that ran named Randy Ewing. Ewing was a democrat but a conservative one. I have the highest regard for Ewing and he would have made a fine Governor. Ewing though could not break Blanco's hold on this area. In any other year, I suspect Ewing would have carried these parishes. However Blanco was so popular that she took more votes than he did. In North Louisiana!!!!! However such complicated analysis of these other factors are never considered or even mentioned. I suppose I know of these factors because when I was volunteering for Bobby, that I saw all the above up close and personal. It is time that this myth die or at least be questioned.

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Anonymous Lou Gehrig Burnett said...

I think you underestimate the racism that still exists in Louisiana, probably more so in the northern part of the state than in the southern part. To be sure, there were many reasons why Jindal lost, but the primary one, I believe, was his ethnicity. Pollster Verne Kennedy said his surveys verified this. In those "Duke parishes," Vitter carried all 12 as did Woody Jenkins in his race against Landrieu. But Jindal narrowly carried only four. Privately, Republicans say they are concerned about Jindal running in 2007. Those attitudes were not washed away by Katrina -- unfortunately. But the issue is open to discussion, and I am pleased to see you bring it up. And thanks for reading my columns.

1:24 PM  

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