Senator David Vitter (R-LA) was a disgrace well before becoming a “Birther”

I originally intended to talk about the Tea Parties destroying conservatism, which I think is self-evident but needs to be brought up a considerable amount more.

But Senator David Vitter from Lousiana is really something independent of his despicable “Birther” comments. The comments in question:

Republican Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana says he supports conservative organizations challenging President Barack Obama’s citizenship in court.

Vitter, who is running for re-election, made the comments at a town hall-style event in Metairie, La., on Sunday when a constituent asked what he would do about what the questioner said was Obama’s “refusal to produce a valid birth certificate.”

Such claims about Obama’s birth certificate have been discredited. But with the crowd applauding the question, Vitter responded that although he doesn’t personally have legal standing to bring litigation, he supports “conservative legal organizations and others who would bring that to court,” according to a video of the event.

“I think that is the valid and most possibly effective grounds to do it,” Vitter said, although he later cautioned that the matter could distract from policy issues.

Of course, my first temptation was to point out things like “the crowd applauding” and focus on the mob hysteria that must have been at this event. The worst example I remember seeing was Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE) being pretty much shouted down for saying the President was a citizen, with the crowd ending their tirade with the Pledge of Allegiance. I wanted to ask the question of whether we need leaders who can stand up to crowds, and how we could possibly produce such people.

But Sen. David Vitter wouldn’t be someone who stood up to crowds no matter what. He’s fairly corrupt to begin with:

Despite Vitter’s prostitution scandal in 2007, the freshman senator has seemed set for reelection…. In the past few weeks, however, Vitter has battled a media hailstorm about a staffer arrested two years ago for holding his girlfriend at knife point. Vitter had claimed that the staffer, Brent Furer, had been disciplined, but the issue resurfaced when rumors circulated that Furer has been assigned to women’s issues within Vitter’s office. Vitter fired Furer and denied that the aide had worked on women’s issues, though he did admit that Furer’s portfolio included abortion.

It could be the case that the Birther remarks were made because Vitter might not survive the primary. A well-connected Republican that doesn’t have a prostitution scandal swirling around him or staffers that hold people at knifepoint has entered the race.

Still, I do want to take one more shot at the Tea Parties, which are not being attacked nearly enough by the Right: here’s a case where the incumbent clearly had no business serving in Congress in the first place. Yes, he’s reliably conservative in voting and brings in money to the state, but it isn’t possible to get anyone else who can do that? If there was ever a need for a reform movement directed at replacing incumbents with responsible people – well, this should have been near top priority. Instead there’s a general “unease” with Washington used to justify all sorts of crackpot theories, and note that Vitter isn’t done yet. What if he wins the primary because of low turnout and a small but motivated group of conspiracy theorists he’s pandered to show up? I’ll focus on the damage being done to conservatism and education later. But I do know something has to be said about the very practical problems we face, and our inability to identify those issues in the first place.


  1. It seems that “birthers” and “9/11 truthers” pretty much come from the same gene pool yet are on opposite ends of the political spectrum. Odd is’nt it !!

  2. While I don’t agree that Tea Party Ideals are all bad. I do see the chances for the current Administration to survive in better shape than would be possible without the tea Party Splitting the Vote A’la Perot….

  3. @ David – I agree on both counts: while the Tea Party is no Reform party, it definitely is acting in ways that will split off votes from candidates that can win.

  4. @ ashok – I shake my head whenever I read about “birther” antics, but I must admit that I do not understand your animus toward the tea partiers. When did the tea party become an actual party with an official platform? I thought it was a movement that supports fiscally responsible candidates, irrespective of party.

    I am not seeing the chasm of contrast in the tea partyiers and “the right” as you seem to view. The sharpest contrasts I’ve noted are not in principle, but culture. If the right were to respond to your call to attack the tea partiers more frequently, what would the first volley consist of?

    1. @ Emory – good question. My own thought is that the conspiracy theorists within the movement have to be fully exposed – not just birthers, but the ever-increasing amount of right-wing truthers, the John Birch Society’s newfound emergence, the bringing guns to campaign rallies with “tree of liberty” posters, etc. No one is saying the Left is blameless here, by the way. SEIU’s union thuggery should be exposed and hammered at too. But it’d be a mistake to say that there’s a future in the way we conduct politics now.

      Look, I’m still pro-life, anti-tax, generally supportive of gun rights, for education reform, hawkish. But the Tea Parties definitely go off on libertarian-ish tangents where Ron Paul and his accusing the Fed of being responsible for Watergate (yes, he did this: to Bernake’s face in Congress, too) are waaaaaaay more important than fiscal responsibility. The call to fiscal responsibility isn’t really what the Tea Party is all about: their main call seems to me to be a general charge of “tyranny” that is used to cover for some of the nastiest undercurrents in American politics. That 14th Amendment thing by Rand Paul was no gaffe: I’ve been around conservative/libertarian circles since I was 14. I never thought I would see candidates go public with what usually meets with a groan even in circles where that talk is more acceptable.

  5. One phenomenon that I have become too aware while talking to folks is that there seems to be a huge disconnect between what we speak of as “intelligence” on the one hand and what we might call “political wisdom” or even “moderation” on the other.

    Simply put, really smart people can have ludicrous opinions when it comes to the world of politics. “Rationality” they call their premier virtue. One man who lives nearby, an engineering whiz, is more unpalatable than Glenn Beck.

    Ideology, depending on its subject, disables the ideologue from even attempting to think that anything outside of his preconcieved notions are correct. The politician who most embodies this ideology is “refreshing” or has a “cool head.” This politician does not need to traffic in hate or fear; his veneer of knowledge is enough.

    I can’t tell you how many times I have heard the phrase “Well, that’s what progressivism is” or heard some reference to Stalin. This has got to be the most unoriginal thought in the world, and yet people act as if it were revelatory – indeed, the foundation of their opinion is built upon it. This is no less true of progressives who think they have conservatism all figured out.

    Its almost laughable when I think about it – there are ‘scholarly’ works written by liberals and vice versa in which the author diagnoses the opposing ideology, as if it were a kind of virus. But really, if there is any virus to be found, it is one which feeds off the presumption of ‘knowing what the problem is.’ The best leadership this country has had has consisted in the admission that one doesn’t always have all the facts. That’s where you get JFK’s “best and brightest” or heck, even (and perhaps especially) the generation of 1776.

  6. There are some problems with my post, but let me look at it more when I’m not trying to give people correct amounts of change and such at work!

  7. I suspect that Vitter is also playing to the whims of his constituency. “Educating” those whom you represent might be necessary, but it is very hard to let on that this is what you are doing without sounding “progressive” or “un-American.”

    Vitter is, it seems, not unlike the rest of the Caesarian political class who give those they represent more of what they want. Conservatives (if they are principled) will not ‘give back to their state’ in terms of entitlements (this is arguably false) as a good man of the left would, but they offer consolation in indulging the prejudices and commonly held opinion of the constituents: they reaffirm the preconceived wisdom of the people. Enter the stupid, overplayed debate between rule by ‘elites’ on the one hand and Sarah Palin-like every(wo)men on the other.

    Vitter will continue to have success until the moral conditions are such that those who vote for Vitter no longer consider conspiracy theorists leaders. We can ask for a leadership that would ‘stand up to mobs’ and the like, but ultimately those mobs are, so to speak, the most important part. This is not to say that those mobs are justified by any means, but it is to say that our hopes should not rest elsewhere.

  8. Poor little Birthers (still in denial about their losses), but the Judge will continue to smack down the crazies . To all the birthers in La, La Land, it is on you to prove to all of us that your assertion is true (TOUGH WHEN YOU KEEP LOSING CASES), if there are people who were there and support your position then show us the video (everyone has a price), either put up or frankly shut-up. I heard Orly Taitz, is selling a tape (I think it’s called “Money, Lies and Video tape”). She is from Orange County, CA, now I know what the mean when they say “behind the Orange Curtain”, when they talk about Orange County, the captial of Conspiracy Theories. You know Obama has a passport, he travel abroad before he was a Senator, but I guess they were in on it.

    In my opinion the Republican Party has been taken over the most extreme of clans; the Baggers, Birthers and Blowhards (people who love to push their beliefs on others while trying to take away the rights of those they just hate) and that’s who they need to extract from their party if they real want to win in November. Good Luck, because as they said in WACO, “We Ain’t Coming Out”.

    I wonder if Orly Taitz, is a mail order bride, just like her law degree? She is perfect reporter material for “Fake News”, where unfounded rumors and innuendo reign supreme, unlike a our US courts of law. The way our courts work is that you get a competent lawyer, verifiable facts and present them to a judge, if the facts are real and not half baked lies, then, and only then, you proceed to trial. The Birthers seem to be having a problem with their so called facts that they present. Let’s face it no one will go along with you until you guys win a case, but until then, you will continue to appear dumb, crazy or racist, or maybe all three. A lawyer, dentist, realtor and black belt, WOW I must say a JACK of all trades master of none.

    I heard that Orly Taitz, now wants to investigate the “Republican 2009 Summer of Love” list: Assemblyman, Michael D. Duvall (CA), Senator John Ensign (NV), Senator Paul Stanley (TN), Governor Mark Stanford (SC), Board of Ed Chair, and Kristin Maguire AKA Bridget Keeney (SC), she wants to re-establish a family values party, good luck with that.

    We won the election and now these sore losers will continue to spew their hate with lies.

  9. Seems to me, some sort of anal punishment is in order. How bout erasing his memories, I don’t think there can be more anal a punishment.

  10. David Vitter IS A MAJOR DISGRACE!
    It;s just a matter of time before Mr. Vitter does something really stupid that his high priced lawyers won’t bail him out of!
    David Vitter is no Vince McMahon!

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