For those of you who do not know, Roger Villere is the Chairman of the Republican Party of Louisiana.
Recently, Mr. Villere and the Republican Party of Louisiana have invested in a couple of smear websites specifically targeting Democratic opponents (and without any mention of the Republican challenger(s) in those respective districts). If you have donated to the Louisiana Republican Party, then you deserve to know where your money has gone.
There is nothing quite like using the iconography of The Sopranos to attack an Italian-American man on scurrilous and unfounded charges. From The Times-Picayune:
It is the GOP’s latest political barb against state Rep. John Alario, D-Westwego, who is running for the 8th District Senate seat against Republican businessman John Roberts. The typeface for “The Alarios” mirrors the red “Sopranos” font, complete with a handgun for the “r,” and features a black-and-white photograph of Alario in dark garb, pulled from the legislator’s own campaign literature.
Alario sees no humor in the piece, saying it is a hurtful jab at his Italian-American heritage.
Alario was never a party in the civil case and has not been implicated, but Republican Party Chairman Roger Villere points out that transcripts of wiretapped conversations in Alario’s Baton Rouge office are posted to the site.
“It’s very degrading. It shows Mr. Villere is more interested in bigotry than he is with issues in the election and getting votes,” Alario said. “Here we are the last week, so it’s not surprising that they would bring out garbage like this.”
I believe the document is entitled FBI_Transcripts.pdf. But the document is not an FBI transcript. The story isn’t about “The Alarios;” it’s about an employment dispute between a lobbyist and a client. And from what I can gather, the document is an amalgamation of things. Despite the fact that the trial court and the First Circuit Court of Appeal all sided with the lobbyist in this dispute, in the document offered on this website, the Louisiana Republican Party dishonestly presents the minority opinion as if it is an official “FBI” record of the case. I am not sure if it is a crime for a political party to misrepresent a document to the voting public as an FBI transcript (when, in fact, it is simply the dissenting opinion of a judge), but it should be illegal. Because it is blatantly dishonest and misleading. John Alario was not a party to this case and, again, he has never been implicated in anything. Moreover, the lobbyist in question actually won this dispute and has been vindicated by the court of law. Yet Roger Villere believes it is acceptable to mock a man’s ethnicity as analogous to “criminal.”
Neil Abramson is an ambitious, Ivy-League educated attorney who graduated first in his class at LSU Law. Nine years ago, Neil was in a car accident, and he incurred around $6,000 in medical expenses. Neil was not at fault in the collision, and although he was not seriously injured, Neil was still hurt enough to warrant a visit to the hospital. The doctors ran some tests on Neil, prescribed him painkillers he’d never take, and sent him the bill. Like most rational and sane individuals, Neil recognized the causal relationship between the car accident and his visit to the hospital; he asked the insurance company of the person at fault in the accident to pay for the medical expenses he incurred as a result of the accident. The insurance company refused. Neil hired a lawyer, took them to court, and won. Then, Neil won again.
Yet if you only pay superficial attention to the website, The Real Deal on Neil, you would believe Neil Abramson was a money-grubbing faker who attempted to pillage the insurance industry (Ironically, the very industry he sometimes represents as an attorney) for more than (a whopping) $18,000 (One supposes he had to pay his lawyer).
The Real Deal on Neil is bigoted and completely misleading. Its use of the “handicapped” sign with the super-imposed face of Neil and the caption “Poor Neil Abramson” should be considered highly offensive by all disabled, elderly, and physically challenged Louisianans, their friends, and their families. It is not acceptable to manipulate a symbol for the physically challenged and juxtapose it with a caption declaring an individual to be “poor.” Such a supposition is rooted in the worst kind of prejudice and bigotry; it is the declaration of superiority over anyone who is physically or mentally challenged, injured, elderly, or disabled.
And it was all paid for by the Louisiana GOP.
Interesting to see the attacks on Abramson. He is a really outstanding, honest guy, super smart and athletically talented. QB at Episcopal High in BR, then Dartmouth College. Quickly rose at a super law firm in New Orleans. You have to wonder why anyone wants to get involved in politics, when this kind of garbage goes on in almost every race. You can see the BS flying in many of the local races.
Thank you for your reporting on these sites. Despite being highly offensive websites, I think the LaGOP has underestimated “Katrina Fatigue” – meaning, New Orleanians have been fighting for survival from the events of Katrina for so long that these sort of attacks just miss the mark and make people feel more alienated. Thank you for noticing what a great person Neil is, and I believe the voters will pick Neil to get to the REAL issues – hard work to help this City and State.
Thank you Kim. I have never met your husband, but everything I hear about him is positive. Politics can be an ugly sport, but the smear website purchased by the LA GOP is truly a new low. And anyone who reads the documents posted will quickly understand how baseless these accusations are.
Keep up the good work.