The Baton Rouge Advocate reported on Tuesday that the national Republican Slime Machine has opened its Louisiana franchise with the stated goal of gaining GOP control of the Louisiana Legislature in the 2007 elections.
The group tips its hand by all but naming itself after Tom DeLay's disgraced operation. The operating moniker: "The Louisiana Committee for a Republican Majority."
New Orleans developer cum post-Katrina land-grabber Joseph Canizaro is the head of the group, but it's clear that this is the Louisiana version of the national operation that was so successful in the earlier portion of this decade but which has fallen on harder times in 2006. Canizaro is a Bush Pioneer. So, too, is Boysie Bollinger (and he's got the fat contracts for work that didn't pan out on the Coast Guard fleet 'up-grade' to prove it!).
But, the piece that nails this down as a national power grab in Louisiana is the presence of Bob Perry of Texas as a maximum contributor to the new PAC. Perry, you may recall, is the money behind the group that 'swiftboated' John Kerry and in 2004 presidential race. His group's track record in 2006 was less successful, but no less slime-filled.
The group has, The Advocate reports, $600,000 of its goal of $2.5 million that it wants to have in-hand by the time qualifying rolls around in August. The objective is to get Republican majorities in the Louisiana House and Senate. There are 144 seats in the two chambers (39 in the Senate; 105 in the House). If they had a candidate in every race, the PAC could spend more than $17,000 per race. That might not seem like a lot of money but, in a district race, it would be huge.
The story, though, says they intend to be active in only about 37 or so races. Let's say 40 just for rounding purposes. That means they will have the ability to pour more than $60,000 into each of those races!
The group says it will play favorites among Republicans. Must have plenty of ex-Democrats in the group, no? ;-)
So, what does this mean?
Well, the past is no direct guide to the future but it can be instructive. Recall that Tom DeLay used his Texans for a Republican Majority as a money laundering conduit that enabled him to elect a Republican majority in the Texas Legislature. He then used that majority to re-apportion the Texas Congressional delegation in ways that created new Republican-majority districts. OK, well it worked in 2004 but came back to bite the party in Texas in 2006.
So, let's assume the GOP game plan goes as planned. The Republican majority in the Louisiana Legislature (working in concert with what they expect to be Republican Governor Bobby Jindal) would reapportion Louisiana's Congressional districts before the 2008 elections. No doubt they'd cite the recent Census Bureau estimate that the state lost five percent of its population in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. They'd target Charlie Melancon and Bill Jefferson's districts, shifting lines to make it more difficult for Democrats to get elected from those districts.
Republican control of the Legislature would also put that party in control of all reapportionment that followed the 2010 Census, including the Legislature (both houses), the Congressional districts, the Public Service Commission, the state Supreme Court, BESE districts and other state districts.
In short, this is an outside directed attempt to re-order Louisiana politics, capitalizing on the demographic shifts as a result of the storms, using techniques developed in Texas and on partnerships developed inside the corrupt national Republican establishment.
It should be noted that DeLay was forced to give up his seat in Congress as a result of the ethical and legal troubles his Texas power grab brought him. No doubt there will be similar hubris and over-reach in this endeavor.
Then, again, we see this one coming.
Break out the slicker suits, the Republicans have committed to taking Louisiana at all costs. It's going to get nasty.