The plant announced last month that it would shut down for the first two weeks of January. That shutdown was extended this morning to Feb. 15, after a meeting of the plant’s upper management and union representatives.
Shreveport City Councilman Ron Webb, who has worked at the plant for over 25 years, said the shutdown is in direct relation to failure of the auto bailout.
And provides an excuse for many to continue piling on our Junior Senator.
I, for one, don’t understand why, out of all of the issues in the world that David Vitter could champion, he’d be fighting against an auto bail-out, particularly considering the struggling Hummer plant in Shreveport. From the Gannett News Service:
“Shame on Senator Vitter,” said Morgan Johnson, the United Auto Workers president of Local 2166, which represents workers at the GM plant in Shreveport.
“I don’t know what Senator Vitter has against GM, the UAW or the entire domestic auto industry, but he has got to forgive us,” Johnson said.
By all indications, GM’s Hummer division is headed for the chopping block, and although I personally detest the Hummer brand (which at least one member of my family cherishes), I understand that their plant in Shreveport accounts for hundreds of jobs. Furthermore, I have to admit that- if I were the CEO of General Motors- I would have absolutely no incentive, in these tough economic times, to continue operating a loss leader of a plant in a State in which the Junior Senator is publicly and openly hostile toward intervention.
Recessions suck, and so do bailouts. Sometimes, though, we have to suck it up. Yet David Vitter, who, along with Larry Craig, remains as someone with which not a single member of the Senate would want to place their name on a bill, believes that, during this current recession, it’s necessary to filibuster a much-needed intervention in an industry that directly benefits hundreds, if not thousands, of working-class people in his own State. If the GM plant in Shreveport closes, mark my words, the ideological intransigence of one person, Senator Vitter, should share some responsibility.
And though I never, in my life, thought I’d feel the need to reference the wisdom of Jay Leno, he was absolutely correct when he pointed out the hypocrisy of an organization in trillions of dollars in debt (the United States Government) attempting to lecture an industry in need of billions of dollars.
Forgive my cold, calculated political analysis, but considering this position represents Vitter’s first major policy foray back into the national spotlight, I can’t help but consider the basis behind his decision. In many ways, this is an attempt to relaunch his political career and his ideological certitude.
First, it’s important to note that this week Vitter officially announced his intentions to run for reelection. For some bizarre and stomach-turning reason, former Democratic Senator J. Bennett Johnston has decided to help make some money for Vitter’s reelection campaign, which demonstrates, once again, the impotence and incompetence of the Lousisiana Democratic Party. They can’t even hold onto one of their most senior members.
I’ve been biting my tongue on this issue for several months, but now it’s simply too much. When one of the most prominent Democrats in the State decides to raise money for the incumbent and scandal-ridden Republican Senator, you know there’s a problem. And despite what the excuse-mongers may have you believe, it’s not because Senator Johnston was a furtive Republican. It’s because the Louisiana Democratic Party needs to wake up and gets its act together. And don’t get me wrong: I do not and would never cast any blame on the new executive director; I think he’s doing everything he possibly can– and doing a great job. But let me try to explain my point by way of a story:
When I was at the Democratic National Convention, I had the unique privilege of sitting with the delegation as they counted their votes for the nomination. I sat directly under the microphone that was used to announce our State’s votes, and, if you look closely on C-SPAN, you can see me hammering away on my laptop as the announcement was being made.
What I didn’t report at the time was this: They were in total disarray. For some stupid, inane reason, they hadn’t even collected or counted their delegates until, literally, seconds before they were expected to appear on national television. They hadn’t even pre-scripted their remarks, instead compiling, at the last minute, right before the Louisiana Democratic Party’s presentation before a worldwide audience, a series of non-sequitors about Louisiana (“(the home of) shrimp and the recovery from Katrina”); they had to repeat their vote tally because of the obvious confusion:
Perhaps the reason for this confusion is because, believe it or not, Louisiana could not account for the votes of 17 of its 67 delegates.
By the way, Louisiana was, with the exception of (I believe) Guam and perhaps one other small contingency (fact check me, if you will), the only delegation that could not account for all of their votes. Nearly every other state had recorded their delegates votes earlier in the day, but Louisiana was still scrambling until the last possible minute. I distinctly recall and even recorded that Louisiana was still counting votes when the State of Kansas announced (and the announcements are in alphabetical order).
You cannot blame the good men and women who simply volunteered their time to serve the interests of the Louisiana Democratic Party. The embarrassment squarely belongs in the hands of party leadership.
It’s not just performance theater failures. It manifests itself in electoral failures.
Don Cazayoux lost because he was opposed by Michael Jackson, a Democrat who rejected institutional support, raised money from Republicans, and ran as an Independent, effectively spoiling the election and costing Democrats a seat.
The Second District was lost, not simply because of the corruption of “Dollar Bill” Jefferson, but because Louisiana Democrats didn’t have the backbone to sufficiently fund and mobilize a primary challenger. Suffice it to say, if Helena Moreno had ousted Jefferson in the primary, she would have been a Congresswoman-elect.
And Carmouche lost, however narrowly, because… well, I’m going to leave that one to Ryan. As he points out, Carmouche’s decision to introduce himself to the Democratic voters of LA04 as a DINO (Democrat In Name Only) and the State Party’s decision (through the DSCC) to endorse the mailer (pictured below), coupled with Carmouche’s rejection of LGBT organizations, may have led to his demise.
Again, this mailer, however innocuous it may seem to some, implies that Carmouche’s particular beliefs on these issues (most notably, “traditional marriage”) are synonymous with “Louisiana values.” But what is most egregious is that it was paid for by the Democratic State Central Committee. They calculated that it was more important to neutralize Fleming on social issues than it was to expose Fleming’s crackpot economic theories or his ethically questionable campaign payments to his own Subway sandwich business. As Ryan points out:
Gay marriage was NOT an issue in this campaign. And yet, for some reason, it’s in the mailer sent out on behalf of the Carmouche campaign. When contacted by LGBT groups in Louisiana and Shreveport about the mailer, Mr. Carmouche refused to meet with them, or even return their phone calls.
With all of that said, it’s abundantly evident that Louisiana Democrats have lost control of their party. And so, for someone like Senator Vitter, who in any other state would be shunned into early retirement because of his internationally-known prostitution scandal, it is somehow easy to earn the endorsement and support of a former Democratic Senator and selfishly exploit the auto bail-out bill as a way of earning media.