54% may secure an outright victory in a jungle primary, but it is certainly not what Jindal’s supporters both online and in the traditional media will characterize as a “mandate,” a word that not coincidentally rolled glibly off of Jindal’s tongue during the second gubernatorial debate. The term in question is one that circulates in today’s increasingly deceitful political discourse: it is the trope Rush Limbaugh, Karl Rove and other national Republicans deployed in order to render Bush’s loss in 2000 into a clarion call for Republican hegemony, and it was reiterated by all the regular suspects in 2004, when Bush’s slim margin of victory over John Kerry was viewed as a “mandate” for something these people referred to as “morality.” David Vitter’s avoidance of a runoff in 2004 with 51% of the vote was also cited as evidence of this chimerical “moral mandate.” Readers of this and other Louisiana political blogs need not be reminded of the absurdity of this phrase, a phrase Vitter and his Republican Senate colleagues, particularly Larry Craig of Idaho, seemingly interpret as an enantioseme, or what those who prefer Greek call an enantiosis.

So Jindal will parrot Rove, Vitter and Limbaugh and claim he was elected with a mandate, even if 46% of the state cast their votes for someone else. And he will repeat this trope in order to beguile and hoodwink Louisianans into buying his policies and proposals wholesale. But unfortunately for Jindal, at least one legislative chamber will have a functioning Democratic majority, one with which Jindal is obligated to negotiate and cooperate if he intends to represent the people of Louisiana and not just the Republican base who catapulted him into office during an election with low voter turnout. Again, 54% is anything but a mandate.

The chamber in question is the state Senate, where Democrats are already guaranteed 22 of this body’s 39 seats. And the number of seats under Democratic control can only increase in the next month, as four Senate districts will hold runoff elections involving one Republican and one Democratic candidate. If Jindal was delivered a genuine and not a spurious mandate last night, he would not have to contend with so many Senators of the opposing political Party.

17 Democrats and 12 Republicans were elected to the Senate last night. Joining them next month are the 5 Democrats and 1 Republican who will emerge from the following six nonpartisan runoffs:

District 2
Ann Duplessis (D)
Jon D. Johnson (D)

District 5
Cheryl A. Gray (D)
Jalila Jefferson-Bullock (D)

District 14
Jason M. DeCuir (D)
Yvonne Dorsey (D)

District 28
Eric LaFleur (D)
Donald Newton (D)

District 30
Claude “Buddy” Leach, Jr. (D)
John Smith (D)

District 37
Billy Montgomery (R)
B. L. “Buddy” Shaw (R)

While these runoffs will be entertaining for all the typical reasons, attention should be focused on the following seven partisan runoffs, where PACs such as David Vitter’s LCRM will air scabrous advertisements in a cynical attempt to dupe voters and thereby lend financial and electoral ballast to Jindal’s bankrupt and baseless “mandate:”

District 7 – Jefferson, Orleans and Plaquemines Parishes
David Heitmeier (D)
Paul Richard (R)

District 22 – Iberia and St. Martin Parishes
Troy Hebert (D)
“Jeff” Landry (R)

District 25 – Acadia, Calcasieu, Cameron and Jefferson Davis Parishes
Dan “Blade” Morrish (R)
“Gil” Pinac (D)

District 32 – Avoyelles, Caldwell, Catahoula, Concordia, Franklin, LaSalle, Ouachita, Rapides, Richland and West Feliciana Parishes
Bryant O. Hammett, Jr. (D)
Neil Riser (R)

Because David Vitter’s LCRM and the Republican candidates who choose to affiliate themselves with David Vitter’s version of “morality” will invest lavish funds in these runoffs, Democratic victories in these districts will reveal where the mandate truly lies.

7 thoughts

  1. I heard that “Cold Cash”, Dollar Bill Jefferson was out working Jindal’s election.

    Old Cold Cash Jefferson was under the mistaken belief that the Governor could issue a pardon for his soon to happen “Bidness” conviction.

    Hey who knows, maybe Jindal can swing a deal with the Feds and get Cold Cash a cell in the Edwin Edwards wing of that Federal Big House.

  2. Perhaps can get a pardon from Alberto Gonzales. Unfortunately, it will not be worth much, coming from the adjoining cell!

  3. Everyone who writes for this blog casts votes in the fifth Congressional district, not the second. And I have called for the resignation of Bill Jefferson. I also supported one of his opponents in 2006. Although I understand why you necessarily have to invoke his name in this thread, Jefferson is irrelevant to the topic at hand. And if you were so concerned with ethics, you would have cast a vote for someone other than Jindal, who accepted donations from an Abramoff lobbyist and disgraced Congressman Tom DeLay. But ethics, I guess, did not matter to most voters in this election. Or perhaps only certain peoples’ ethics or lack thereof did.

    Speak with me when you are experiencing buyers’ remorse in two years.

  4. PCD, as always, beautiful writing. I’ve been curious if you were planning on making any predictions about the pending 2 years.

    I mean, the 31-point ethics plan (the one already pushed by Baton Rouge’s own Michael Jackson) will most likely die out the gate. And, this is without a doubt, a bad thing.

    But, Jindal’s made no substantive policy declarations at this point, so in many ways, he’s a cipher. I mean, aside from standard GOP water-carrying, what do you (or Lamar) or any of you other fine folks feel is actually going to happen?

  5. Park Bolivar,

    I honestly have no idea what will happen in the next two years. Ethics may pass, but it will be the result of the original sponsors of the bill, Jackson, Cazayoux, LaFleur and Marionneaux, not Bobby Jindal. While Bobby has done a great job taking credit for these Democrats’ work, it will be these Democrats who shepherd this bill through both chambers of the legislature.

  6. Please forgive the oversight, I had not idea that Cazayoux (D-New Roads) and LaFleur (D-Ville Platte) had taken a role in pushing that bill. Very nice indeed.

    And, Marionneaux (D-Livonia) as well, eh?

    How peculiar that this cluster of lawmakers emerged from a strip between Baton Rouge and Alec. The mind reels… I must do some research on all of these gentlemen.

  7. Bolivar,

    Yes, it is significant that these Democrats all hail from a similar region, a region that rejected Jindal’s candidacy. It shows one where the true committment to ethics and to open government lies.

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