William Jefferson's Re-Election - Oh, Get Over It:
The analysis and fingerpointing over the re-election of Democrat William Jefferson of New Orleans to the House of Representatives, even after the FBI found $90,000 in a freezer at his house, even as he's under investigation for bribery, is hilarious to anyone who's ever paid any attention to the history of Louisiana and its politics. The fact that the state almost sent an unrepentant racist (which included pictures of said candidate in a Nazi uniform) to the Senate is just about the least appalling aspect of Louisiana politics.

'Cause, you know, c'mon, Louisiana is a state that honors, on multiple levels, a goddamn slave-trading pirate, Jean Lafitte. The old thief, who tried to establish a personal kingdom in southwest Louisiana and gave tons of money and goods to those who would protect him, has a town, a parish, and a festival named after him. Motherfucker has so many streets named after him, you'd think that he did something more than steal slaves from others and sell them by the pound (no, really). Instead of deploring and distancing the state from the buggering bastard, Louisiana sees him as some kind of Errol Flynn-type devil-may-care roustabout. Instead of just a thug.

Where d'ya wanna go from there? Huey Long? Fat bastard was Karl Rove crossed with Karl Marx, and for everything that he did for progressive politics and for the poor, he was a power-hungry savage who bathed in the dollars of patronage. Of course he was elected to the governorship and senate in Lousisiana. (It helped that the people who were trying to destroy him were far more reviled than Long could ever be.) Edwin Edwards? So beloved by blacks and Cajuns in the state that after being indicted for bribery and obstruction of justice, after a reputation as a proud Vegas gambler, he was elected for a fourth term by running against the aforementioned racist. In his final term, he worked tirelessly to get casino gambling widespread in the state. He's in jail now.

So what's the lesson here? We could go with the easy answer here: that Louisiana's just fucked-up, a mini-Florida just one fiasco away from madness. Or maybe we could go with something a bit more complex: the people of the state don't like to be bullied. And they don't like outsiders and political operatives telling them who to embrace (with the knowledge that Jefferson, Long, and Edwards all took full advantage of those who believe this). And that post-Katrina, in New Orleans, who the fuck cares what the federal government says is good and bad, right and wrong?

Besides, every cloud has a silver lining of cyncial opportunism. If there's a case to be made against Jefferson (and, really, c'mon, how can there not be?), then taking down a black congressman on their own would establish major street cred for the Democrats in Congress and for Nancy Pelosi to show she's serious about ethics reform. Or maybe he'll just be a sacrificial lamb to cover up for other, larger, deeper crimes. Either way, it's a win-win situation.

And since only 16% of eligible voters bothered to cast ballots, fuckin' get over it.