Friday, August 14, 2009

From Hookers to Health Care

Sen. David Vitter seemed finished after his brush with the D.C. Madam, but his new ploy to provoke the Obama-hating town-hall mobs just might get him re-elected.

Socialism? Can anybody spell Medicare? Social Security?

ObamaCare? Legislation is being crafted in Congress, not by the black guy (well, not openly, anyway, something those placard-holders may have trouble grasping.)

While Democratic members of Congress confront indignant town-hall crowds opposed to President Barack Obama’s health-care policies, Republican Sen. David Vitter is enjoying a Louisiana love fest. Vitter is barnstorming through the Bayou backwoods, hosting town-halls meetings before packed houses of ferociously anti-Obama audiences. They come to praise rather than shout. Billed as public forums to discuss Obama’s health-care proposals, or what Vitter has derisively referred to as “Obamacare,” the pre-screened events appear to be functioning effectively as surrogate campaign rallies for the scandal-scarred senator’s 2010 reelection bid.

Black health care, is perhaps what the Senator and his supporters are discussing.

"Please know that this and any other angry mob is welcome at my town-hall meetings whenever you want to come,” Vitter declared, bringing the audience to its feet with a raucous ovation. In the back of the chapel, an elderly woman waved a placard reading, “Send Obama & congress back to USSR.”

Whip up the natives. The USSR? Perhaps the news has not yet reached the Louisiana backwoods, but the Soviet Empire is no more.

Many of those attending Vitter’s town halls have been shepherded to the events by local chapters of, a supposedly grassroots network of national activists that happens to “partner” with the health-care and insurance industry-funded lobbying firm Freedom Works, which has directed angry mobs to Democratic events. At a town-hall meeting on August 10 in Jefferson Parish, many local constituents were reportedly turned away while Tea Party activists were allowed to enter. When the event concluded, Vitter rushed out of the back door and away from the press and his constituents, guarded by a phalanx of police officers.

Why didn't he invite the mob over to his place for some iced tea?

Vitter has good reason to fear public scrutiny. Had he not pre-screened his audiences, some wily constituent might have asked the senator to address his affair with Wendy Cortez, a high-priced New Orleans escort, or asked how his name showed up on the client list of Jeanne Palfrey, the so-called DC Madam, who killed herself in May 2008 after being convicted of money laundering. The constituent could have framed the question in terms of the health-care debate by asking Vitter why he reportedly wore a condom when he visited Cortez but subsequently tried to introduce an amendment barring health-care providers that offer free STD testing and contraception from receiving federal funds.

Well, he is white, at least.

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