To Karen Carter Peterson: Physician, Heal Thyself

Perhaps it falls to us here at the Hayride to point out a rather glaring bit of hypocrisy uncovered (unwittingly?) by the legacy media in the address by Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, the chair of the Louisiana Democrat Party, to the Baton Rouge Press Club yesterday.

Peterson had little to offer other than a bashing of Gov. Bobby Jindal, who was a few blocks down from the Press Club event at a $2 million fundraiser with Mitt Romney, and calling health care in Louisiana a “joke.”And she specifically decried Jindal’s refusal to sign on to the Medicaid expansion in Obamacare, which she said would cost the state some $7 billion in federal dollars.

“This is a prime example of the governor playing politics,” Peterson said. “He proposes no true alternative (to the federal program).”

Alternatives, did she say? Peterson is chair of the state Democrat Party. One would suspect she’s in a terrific position to present alternatives. When you run a political party, presenting voters with alternatives is your stock in trade, is it not? Except Peterson said something else at the Press Club…

“I am not going to promise that in every (House) race we will have a contender,” Peterson said.

Interesting. So Peterson decries Jindal for not presenting an alternative to Obamacare, which incidentally is a lie since Jindal has been pushing things like risk pools for small businesses, buying insurance across state lines and health savings accounts – not to mention he’s experimenting with Louisiana’s current Medicaid offerings by trying to present private-sector alternatives in hopes of generating savings and improved outcomes. And she’s also claiming that by refusing to expand Medicaid, which some 15 other states have already said they won’t do because even with all that federal money promised to the states they’re still on the hook for lots of other mandatory spending, Jindal is just playing politics rather than governing.

And yet at the same time Peterson says she as the Democrat Party chair won’t be presenting voters with alternatives in the five congressional races Cedric Richmond isn’t in.

So what is Peterson doing but just playing politics if her party doesn’t participate in the electoral process? Like we’ve said recently, this is nothing new for the Democrats. They didn’t participate in the electoral process last year, when all they could offer in opposition to Jindal was a moonbat middle school teacher from Haynesville who had never run for political office before and almost nothing in any of the other statewide races. And while the epic failure in their attempt at political relevance was not Peterson’s fault – she hadn’t staged her coup to wrest party control away from Buddy Leach just yet – it doesn’t sound like she’s working too hard to remedy the situation.

Peterson’s quote might be something of a significant admission. But she’s not exactly being candid here. Other than Richmond, who’s ensconced in the Dollar Bill Jefferson/Congressman-For-Life-Or-At-Least-Until-You-Get-Indicted majority-minority district, guess how many announced Democrat candidates there are at present with less than a month to go before qualifying starts?

None. Zero. Zilch.

Bear in mind that the election is Nov. 6, and the brokest of the incumbent Republican congressmen is Rodney Alexander with over $230,000 in cash on hand – which is a pittance in a House race four months out from Election Day but it’s still a lot of money for a candidate to match from a standing start. Everybody else in the group is sitting on gigantic war chests that can’t even be touched at this late date through Democrat fundraising.

Peterson’s going to the Press Club and running her mouth about how terrible Jindal and the Republicans are for playing politics, and yet it’s already too late for her to offer any realistic alternative to Republican representation of the state in Congress – which is what’s up for grabs this fall. She’s already failed her first test as the state Democrat Party chair, meaning that she can’t offer governance but only politics in her own right.

What’s left to question is whether Peterson – having already failed the test – will even show up to the testing area. Will the Democrats offer so much as a sacrificial lamb in any of the five GOP-held districts? Or will they refuse even that minimal effort?

Peterson says instead that she’s focused on a “grassroots rebuilding of the party” at present. Which is exactly the crap Leach said a year ago when he failed to present credible candidates in the statewide election cycle. It will be interesting to see if Peterson has any different concept of “grassroots” than Leach did. Because in looking at the latest financial disclosures of the current House members in the state’s delegation, we ran across Richmond’s disclosure and found that of the $713,000 he’s raised in this cycle, $440,000 – or 62 percent – have come from political action committees. He’s raised just $268,000 in individual donations. Of the GOP House members the PAC fundraising percentages range from 14 percent (Jeff Landry) to 44 percent (Steve Scalise); one could draw the conclusion from those numbers that “grassroots” doesn’t exist much for Democrat candidates in Louisiana.

And that’s not exactly going to change when you don’t present candidates. If you’re not running candidates, why should anybody care about your “grassroots” efforts?

Peterson might not have created the mess the Democrats are in, but she’s hardly making progress in digging them out of it. Attacking Jindal is fine; it’s what she’s supposed to do as the chair of the opposing party. But find candidates and contest races if you don’t want to be a joke – which, her shots at the governor notwithstanding – is exactly what she and the rest of her party currently are at present.



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