As the ever-more-curious James O’Keefe arrest story continues to develop, the Louisiana Democrat Party has now weighed in with a reliably breathless, stupid and illogical statement.
In a release late this afternoon, acting state party head Michael McHale said the following…
“This is a Louisiana Watergate. Louisiana families are shocked and outraged that these men would break the law to carry out their political agenda with this Watergate-like break-in and attempted wiretapping. Given his ties to some of the players involved, Sen. Vitter should immediately denounce the actions of these four men and anyone who may have instigated, supported or assisted them.”
“We call on U.S Attorney Jim Letten to conduct a thorough investigation and to prosecute any wrongdoers to the fullest extent of the law.”
McHale’s statement comes following a relatively more sane communique by the state’s Democratic senator Mary Landrieu…
“This is a very unusual situation and somewhat unsettling for me and my staff. The individuals responsible have been charged with entering federal property under false pretenses for the purposes of committing a felony. I am as interested as everyone else about their motives and purpose, which I hope will become clear as the investigation moves forward.”
(Hat tip: BayouBuzz.com.)
A number of things spring to life here. First, Landrieu is to be credited for her restraint – particularly in light of reports that she wigged out and publicly castigated Vitter at a D.C. Mardi Gras breakfast event over the weekend using language that would make a sailor blush. That she was able to craft a totally reasonable statement for public consumption here is commendable.
Second, we now know why McHale is only the acting state Democrat party director, since he clearly lacks the communications skills to hold down that job. Since he may be aware of the potential penalties for slandering Vitter, he didn’t come out and offer any specifics on why it is that Vitter needs to denounce O’Keefe and his gang, like for example how Vitter is somehow connected to them. Presumably McHale didn’t offer any of that, rather than just to smear Vitter by innuendo in a rather shabby fashion, because he has no such information.
One wonders why McHale would choose Vitter as his target rather than U.S. Rep. Joseph Cao, the Republican Congressman who represents the New Orleans district in which these events occurred, or U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, the Republican Congressman who represents the adjacent district, given that Scalise and Cao are just as up for re-election as Vitter is this fall. Or perhaps McHale would choose Gov. Bobby Jindal as his target; after all, Jindal governs the state in which “Louisiana’s Watergate” took place.
The answer, in all likelihood, is psychological. Establishment Louisiana Democrats and other lefties hate Vitter with a fervor and fanaticism not dissimilar to that which Republicans in the state hated former governor Edwin Edwards. The state’s Democrats first hated Vitter because he’s an unapologetic, activist conservative, and when he admitted involvement in untoward behavior surrounding a scandal involving a D.C. prostitution ring in 2007 it was merely fuel for the fire. Three years later, when it seems patently obvious that Vitter will get re-elected by a state electorate (he leads Charlie Melancon by anywhere between 18 and 20 points in recent polling) willing to forgive his sins precisely because of the unabashed conservatism Democrats hated him for in the first place, it’s enough to have them completely unhinged.
Thus McHale’s stepping on his crank today.
We invite Mr. McHale to contact us at The Hayride and offer whatever comment he wishes to explain what connections he believes Sen. Vitter has to O’Keefe and his group, why he thinks those connections inform a necessity for Vitter to denounce the “Louisiana Watergate” which occurred Monday and why it was necessary to issue a statement at all on the events in question. If he’d like to apologize, that’s welcome. If he’d like to make a case for Vitter being the mastermind behind Flanagan and Basel dressing up like members of the Village People at Landrieu’s offices, that’s fine, too.
As for O’Keefe, it appears there is more to the story than the criminal complaint says. He and his people appeared to be quite confident and happy-go-lucky as they exited official custody today, which would indicate they’re either completely out of their minds or they know something the rest of us don’t. The Associated Press reported that unnamed federal officials made the allegation that Stan Dai, the intelligence community-affiliated member of the foursome, was found in a car with listening apparatus, but that doesn’t exactly jive with other reports which indicated that Robert Flanagan and Joseph Basel, the two operators who barged into Landrieu’s office decked out as telephone repairmen, were not found with wiretapping equipment when arrested.
It might well have been illegal activity, and if it is the Hayride has no objection to O’Keefe and his crew getting the full brunt of Jim Letten’s considerable prosecutorial skill – after all, you can’t roll into a U.S. Senator’s office and try to con your way into the phone closet to do something nefarious. But “Watergate?” Sounds dippy.
Maybe when Buddy Leach takes command of the state Democrat Party we’ll get a little better political discourse.
But don’t hold your breath.