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politics

all Politics is national t’s been a truism for decades that  Louisianans view federal elections  about the same way we view elections in Europe. We know they’re important  in the big scheme of things, but as far as  most of us are concerned, they happen  somewhere else. Louisiana seemed to  embody Tip o’Neill’s old maxim that “All  politics is local.”      The Internet and the current political  climate are changing that, however. Consider u.s. sen. David Vitter’s successful  campaign for re-election in 2010. Marred  by a prostitution scandal, Vitter nonetheless coasted back into office by running not  against his declared opponent, u.s. Rep.  Charlie Melancon, but against President  Barack obama. It wasn’t pretty, but Vitter’s  strategy was very, very effective.     And this year, in countless local and  regional races — from the hotly contested  3rd Congressional District race in Acadiana to local school board contests — the  national elections loom large. Everything  from turnout to party affiliation matters.  And in one local school board race (for  District 3 in orleans Parish), one candi-

date has received thousands of dollars in  “national” donations.     At the top of the ballot, GoP nominee  Mitt Romney will easily carry Louisiana.  The only question is whether he’ll top John  McCain’s 58.6 percent of the vote in 2008.  Put another way, can President obama  crack 40 percent this time? (In 2008, he fell  just short at 39.9 percent.)     While the Democratic ticket won’t come  close to winning Louisiana’s eight electoral  votes, the president’s presence on the ballot this Tuesday will drive black voter turnout  across the state. That will have a huge  impact on local elections. Conversely, his  absence from the Dec. 8 runoff ballot will  figure significantly in the outcomes of any  elections that are not settled this week.     Another interesting twist on the national elections, one that has an intangible  local connection, is the impact of Hurricane sandy on the presidential race.  Initially, I thought the storm would hurt  obama’s chances because it hit coastal cities hardest — cities that are Democratic strongholds.     Now I’m not so sure.

If the race is as close as it was in 2000, we could see a second storm surge — of lawyers filing election contests.     The storm knocked out power to millions  of citizens, and some precincts will have  to rely on generators to open. To the extent  that voters have been displaced or just had  their worlds turned upside down (which  could cause some to “forget” or otherwise  fail to vote), the storm could still wreak  havoc for one or both candidates. If the  race is as close as it was in 2000, we could  see a second storm surge — of lawyers  filing election contests in states where the  margin was small.

    otherwise, the president generally has  received high marks for his response to  sandy, even from Republican New Jersey  Gov. Chris Christie. (The glaring exception to those praising obama was former  FEMA Director Michael “Heckuva job,  Brownie” Brown, but you have to consider  the source in his case.) We must note that  obama was going to carry New Jersey  anyway, by a wide margin, but Christie’s  praise got lots of national play. so did  New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s  endorsement of obama. Bloomberg is a  Republican-turned-Independent.      obama also will carry New York easily,  but that’s not the point. Praise from guys  like Christie and Bloomberg could help the  president in some of the hotly contested  northern swing states — maybe even in  hurricane-prone Florida, where Romney  has led but where things tightened up in  the final days.     sandy won’t change any outcomes here,  but the storm did reemphasize how vulnerable all Americans remain.     And all of this should remind us that all  politics is now national. 

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Gambit New Orleans: November 6, 2012  

New Orleans news and entertainment

Gambit New Orleans: November 6, 2012  

New Orleans news and entertainment