For David Vitter, this week is back to the future

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By Robert Mann

For Sen. David Vitter, this one was of those “back to the future” weeks.  Senator, welcome to your 2015 Louisiana’s governor’s campaign.

The leaked videotape of U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister smooching with a female staff member in his Monroe office is creating uncomfortable moments for Louisiana’s junior U.S. senator, who says he will run for governor in 2015. Today, however, he was running from reporters and refusing comment about the McAllister scandal.

That’s something he can’t do when he runs for governor next year.

Vitter, as you will recall, was embroiled in a sordid sex scandal in the summer of 2007, finally admitting to a “serious sin,” which everyone knew meant he had paid prostitutes for sex.

As Louisiana Republican Party leaders from Gov. Bobby Jindal to the Louisiana Republican Party called for McAllister’s resignation, a logical question for many journalists and other observers was: “If simply kissing a female staffer is a moral outrage that should cost someone his seat in Congress, why is it a lesser offense for a U.S. senator to pay prostitutes for sex?”

It’s a very good question and one which neither Jindal nor party officials addressed today after condemning McAllister. Vitter, of course, refused comment, too.

I’ll save for another day a full review of the rank hypocrisy of Jindal and GOP leaders who think it’s just dandy for the morally challenged Vitter to continue serving in the United States Senate, but find themselves absolutely repulsed by the idea of McAllister’s on-camera lip lock.

That’s like forgiving a bank robber, and then throwing the book at someone who writes a bad check.

Regardless, the uncomfortable questions keep coming from reporters, from the Twitter-sphere and elsewhere. Sure, the questions will eventually go away once McAllister himself has gone away.

Yet, that almost every political observer in Louisiana – upon hearing about Jindal’s call for McAllister’s resignation – immediately thought of Vitter’s prostitution scandal should tell Vitter and his Republican allies something.

Vitter may have assumed his sordid past was behind him. It isn’t – and this time next year it may be front and center in the Louisiana governor’s race.

David Vitter can run for now from all those uncomfortable questions, but on the campaign trail and in debates he cannot hide from them. Those uncomfortable questions will eventually hunt him down.

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16 Responses to For David Vitter, this week is back to the future

  1. Stephen Winham says:

    Bob, about Vitter running from the press you say, “That’s something he can’t do when he runs for governor next year.” Candidate Jindal did a good job of orchestrating his press coverage and he continues to ignore the press when he chooses today.


    • Robert Mann says:

      Yeah, that’s true but he never had to try and duck questions about criminal acts. I also think he will face questions about it in debates.


      • Stephen Winham says:

        I do, too, IF he deigns to debate. Debates can only hurt him and he knows it. If his popularity numbers stay high, he may decide not to bother.


  2. John Kline says:

    “If simply kissing a female staffer” Excuse me, but he did not simple kiss the woman. He laid a helluva lip-lock on her.


  3. Robert Mann says:

    Read it again. I didn’t call it a “simple kiss,” I said he was simply, i.e., only, kissing her. We have no evidence of anything else that happened. Not condoning even that, but just saying, that’s a lot less shocking and illegal than paying hookers.


  4. John Bel Edwards says:

    Nice article.

    John Bel Edwards
    Edwards & Associates Law Firm, L.L.C.
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  5. dp says:

    Thanks for writing what everyone I know is saying.


  6. can't say says:

    Note: If he resigns doesn’t King Bobby get to appoint replacement, probably more like the harder line rightwinger McA defeated? That’s all Jindal really cares about.


    • Robert Mann says:

      Actually, governors only get to appoint for Senate vacancies. US House members must be elected.


    • Milford Fryer says:

      Vance ran a warm and fuzzy campaign with his family all around him, so his supporters rightly feel betrayed, not to mention said family. However, Little Bobby and his previously annointed congressional candidate stand to gain from circulating the video, which some people have suggested may have been recorded in violaton of law. But as Bob so accurately pointed out, the same people who are screaming for Vance’s head were hypocritcally quiet when Vitter “embarrassed our party.”

      We have numerous examples of what happens to people who cross the governor.


  7. Fredster says:

    Bob, got a question for you. If McAllister does indeed resign, does Jindal have to call an election to fill the seat? It seems ridiculous to call a special election and then whoever wins, has to run again in November. I’m sure Neal Riser would disagree with that idea though.


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