Corruption Wins the Day in Louisiana
Democrats aren't sacrificing American lives for profit the way Republicans do. But that doesn't mean we are completely innocent of corruption. Anyone who has read my pieces on Brooklyn politics knows I also fight against Democratic corruption. But Democratic Congressman William Jefferson (LA-2) is one of those very rare cases where a Democrat reaches a Republican-scale of corruption.
And the voters in LA-2 have just re-elected him despite his being caught red handed taking bribes. He had a freezer FULL of bribe money and is very likely going to end up in jail. But the voters re-elected him.
Jefferson won re-election with 57% of the vote.
Although voters apparently are giving him the presumption of innocence he asked for, his victory may further cloud the perception of New Orleans as a place that tolerates political corruption. Since Katrina, the city's boosters have made changing that image a top priority as New Orleans tries to win more help in its recovery.
City Councilman Oliver Thomas said Jefferson's victory will make the recovery from Katrina much more difficult. "People are watching this election all around the country and I can only imagine what they are thinking. It will be very difficult to go back to them and ask them to trust us with the money we need here."
Susan Howell, a University of New Orleans political analyst, said the federal probe will hamper Jefferson and Louisiana's national image. "He's going to go back into Congress and essentially be ineffective. I think it will be terrible for this state's image, and it was already not very good."
Bob Moffet, president of the Alliance for Good Government, a citizens group that endorsed Carter, was more direct. "This is almost like putting a stake through the heart. Who would want to come here and do anything? "You might as well pardon Edwin Edwards and let him and let him run for office."
Corruption was a prime issue in the defeat of Republicans across the nation in 2006. Democrats need to take that lesson to heart. We cannot afford to tolerate corruption among our ranks. I for one, condemn the actions of William Jefferson even though he is a fellow Democrat. I supported his opponent (also a Democrat) Karen Carter. Sadly, corruption seems to have won the day. Why doesn't Congressman Jefferson just go all the way and switch parties. He will be far more at home among Republicans Tom DeLay (indicted), Jack Abramoff (in jail), Bob Ney (plead guilty) and Randy Cunningham (in jail).