Here is what happens when Ronald Reagan's Eleventh Commandment - "Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican" - gets completely hurled aside: The governorship of one of the "reddest" States in the country gets forfeited to the Democrats:
Jay Dardenne, a defeated candidate for governor of Louisiana, has endorsed a Democrat rival for the job over fellow Republican David Vitter. In a news conference this morning at Louisiana State University, Dardenne called Democrat John Bel Edwards a "pro-life, pro-gun" candidate, as apt for the job as Vitter was unthinkable. [???]
Edwards "knows that fear, intimidation and vindictiveness are the enemies of putting Louisiana forward," Dardenne, the State's outgoing lieutenant governor, said. "The Republican brand has been damaged by the failed leadership of Bobby Jindal. A David Vitter governorship would further damage that brand." [emphasis added]
The leadership of Bobby Jindal has not "failed"; the leadership of Bobby Jindal has been exemplary for the entirety of his eight years as governor of Louisiana, highlighted by hands-on handling of the Deep Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico five years ago. The most that could be said in that regard is the not-unusual "fatigue" that sets in at the end of any two-term gubernatorial or presidential administration. Now nobody knows how a Vitter governorship would unfold, or if it would be "Jindal's third term," but the same general rule of thumb applies: any Republican will be better than any Democrat.
So why is Lieutenant-Governor Dardeene defecting to the other side? Evidently because he thinks Vitter started it:
During the primary Mr. Dardenne and another Republican, Scott Angelle, a public service commissioner [and former Lieutenant-Governor], bristled at attacks from the Vitter campaign and, as the weeks went on, gave as good as they got. While Mr. Vitter accused both of being loose-spending liberals, Mr. Dardenne and Mr. Angelle both accused Mr. Vitter of lying and explicitly talked of his 2007 prostitution scandal, in which Mr. Vitter admitted only to a “very serious sin.” [emphasis added]
I'm not going to pretend to be sufficiently familiar with Louisiana State politics to know whether Senator Vitter's assertions are true, or to what extent they are, but (1) Vitter himself has a 95% ACU rating, so he wasn't hurling boulders from a glass house, and (2) I think it's awfully telling that Dardenne and Angelle didn't fire back on policy grounds - because they couldn't - but went directly below the belt.
And it backfired on them, and Dardenne, anyway, is making the mistake of taking his defeat personally, and now he's lashing out with treachery and perfidy, and all John Bel Edwards (not related to the infamous Donk crook governor Edwin Edwards - that would have made this story beyond perfect), the Democrat, has to do is sit back and watch this GOP mutually assured destruction drop the governorship in his lap like low-hanging fruit.
Understandably, the State and national GOP is not happy:
Dardenne's move drew a vituperative response from the national and State Republican parties. "Today, Jay Dardenne became the Nick Saban of Louisiana politics," said Roger Villere, chairman of the Louisiana Republican Party, referring to the former LSU coach who now guides a rival team at the University of Alabama. "It is sad that Jay allowed his personal feelings to cause him to betray his party and State."
Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, cast Dardenne's move as a betrayal of a surging GOP, which registered a surprise victory this week in Kentucky's gubernatorial race. "The party's efforts have been tireless and effective and it would be extremely unfortunate to undo some of that hard work," Priebus wrote. "We do not think you would personally endorse the likes of Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton but supporting Mr. Edwards is one in [sic] the same."
Not surprisingly, Edwards has run out to a big lead over Vitter for the "finals" a few weeks from now, but such was hardly any fait accompli given the "jungle primary" results:
|Louisiana gubernatorial election Jungle Primary, 2015|
|Democratic||John Bel Edwards||444,517||39.89|
The combined Republican vote was 57.25% to the Dems' 41.62%. Which strongly suggests that Vitter should be winning this contest in a walk, and would be if Dardenne wasn't hacking him to death with a verbal scimitar from behind.
Once again I find myself in the position of having to point out that Democrats never set upon each other like ravenous jackals, ripping each other apart in lieu of keeping their attention focused on the true opposition. No, it's only we "individualistic" Pachyderms who indulge in the pasttime of political fratricide and kicking away elections that aren't just winnable but that there is no way we should lose them. And yet we always seem to find a way.
Incidentally, you know who one of Kentucky GOP and Tea Party Governor-Elect Matt Bevin's biggest boosters was in his "upset" victorious campaign? Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
See what is possible when we ALL remember that there is no "I" in "team"?