In a state with "Sportsman's Paradise" as its motto, it's not surprising that the Times-Picayune reports that Chris John is playing up his rural good ole' boy roots, talking about growing up in Crowley fishing and hunting ducks. He even challenged the other two to go fishing and hunting with him, to see who'd do better. (Vitter, a dedicated indoorsman, smiled and declined.)
Well, with Kerry out there shooting geese to show what a he-man he is, none of this is really surprising. Then you get to this, which is surprising.
It's unclear how much John's appeal to hunters and fishers will pay off at the polls next month. But a coalition of animal rights activists is trying to make him pay for being what it calls "the go-to guy in Congress for the cockfighting industry."I beg your pardon??? Cockfighting? The one where they strap razor-sharp steel tusks to the roosters' claws, just to make it even more gory? Makes one wonder if John's checked the century lately. Maybe he doesn't realize he's running for U.S. Senator, not Sheriff of Nottingham. I read a defender of this activity (I won't call it a sport) saying that fighting is natural to gamecocks, and that keeping them from fighting would be the real cruelty. I'm sorry, no. In the wild, gamecocks, like many animals, fight to establish superiority, social standing, and (sorry, but I have to) the pecking order. The loser of the contest either signals submission or just runs away. The birds are not trapped in a pit with no way out except by a bloody battle that will leave one bird dead, maybe both.
HumaneUSA's political action committee launched a TV ad campaign in the state's major media markets this week and will send out three rounds of direct mail highlighting John's support for the bloody sport. The group said the direct-mail campaign will target 300,000 independent and Democratic women.
...John defended it as an economic boost to his rural, southwestern Louisiana House district and a local cultural phenomenon akin to NASCAR racing...
This is what I was talking about in this post's title. All across the country people roll their eyes at the phrase "Louisiana politics," and things like this are the reason why. Chris John aspires to the Senate, and may even get there, despite championing one of the most cruel and barbaric blood sports that are still permitted to exist in America, if just barely. Why wouldn't the rest of the country think we're raving loons?
Consider one final point. If you consider the historic list of major presidential candidates, both winners and losers, you find that an awful lot of them were previously state governors. Look at recent presidents: Carter, Reagan, Clinton, Bush II, ex-governors all. The only exception is Bush I, and since he came in on Reagan's coattails, his case is ambiguous.
Since Huey Long considered challenging FDR in the 1930s, before he got assassinated, to my knowledge not one single Louisiana governor has even thought about running for president. If you mention the idea to a savvy Louisianan they just laugh in your face. It's because we all know that in Louisiana what is permitted of major politicians, hell, even expected of them, would be the kiss of death anywhere else in the country. In the New Hampshire primary and the Iowa caucuses, a Louisiana governor wouldn't poll 2%.
Why is it like this? I'm sure there are many historical answers for that. I'm sure it's also in part because the politicians know what their constituents want, and give it to them: the best damn political theater in the whole country.