TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Jessica Mackler, President, American Bridge 21st Century
RE: Credibility Counts And Other Lessons From Louisiana
DATE: November 21, 2015
Louisianaians have spoken. A Democrat will now take the helm as The Bayou State’s new governor, and ahead of 2016 elections, Republicans should take notice. The GOP has often thought they possessed strength on national security, but what should be learned from Louisiana is that credibility counts on national security.
Going in to the open primary pundits, pollsters, and political watchers assumed Vitter would be Louisiana’s next governor despite his past indiscretions. After trailing in a the polls and with national security fresh in the minds of Americans, again Vitter was believed to pull out a win . After his national security credentials were tested, not even David Vitter wanted to be the one talking about terrorists or using fear tactics to exploit refugees.
Desperately hoping to distract from his serious sin, David Vitter wanted to shift the focus of the race to national security, assuming it would acolyte him in to winning the race. Vitter went so far as to fund raise on Syrian refugees, and penning a letter to the President (we only learned today was faked). Vitter quickly rerouted his strategy, even changing the topic of a press conference he held on the state capitol steps from Syria to the state’s budget.
His poor calculations on credibility caught up to him. In many ways, Vitter’s senate experience could have propelled him to cultivate credibility on national security. Senator David Vitter served on the Senate Armed Services committee in the 112th and 113th Congress. But, Vitter’s ability to use the Syrian crisis for political gain was damaged when it was revealed that he skipped two of the three committee hearings on Syria.
National security isn’t as much about partisanship as it is about having the credibility to lead. Voters were mindful of the fact that Vitter not only skipped hearings important to national security, the red state didn’t take kindly to Vitter’s job absence while still collecting a pay check on the tax payers’ dime.