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Sen. Vitter, take II: Is the media missing the real story?

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I repeat: Forget Sen. David Vitter’s penis. I’ve already pontificated about following his money. Now let’s focus on his ability to do his job under the cloud caused by his wandering wanker.

Sen. Vitter and soulmate Wendy met the press Monday but took no questions about his use of a prostitute. Mrs. Vitter offered support for her husband; Sen. Vitter looked forward to the future of “continu[ing] my work in the U.S. Senate to help move Louisiana forward.” Specifically he said he wished to help “finalize a crucial water resources bill to provide much better hurricane and flood protection.”

Sen. Vitter had been a representative in Congress since 1998 before succeeding John Breaux in the Senate. If he wants better hurricane and flood protection for the Gulf Coast now, why haven’t reporters reviewed his House voting record on funding for same before Katrina? Would that reveal a greater hypocrisy?

After all, this is the guy who, 24 hours after Katrina struck New Orleans, said:

In the metropolitan area in general, in the huge majority of areas, it’s not rising at all. It’s the same or it may be lowering slightly. In some parts of New Orleans, because of the 17th Street breach, it may be rising and that seemed to be the case in parts of downtown. I don’t want to alarm everybody that, you know, New Orleans is filling up like a bowl. That’s just not happening.

And this is the guy who knew, or should have known, that in 2001, “the Federal Emergency Management Agency ranked the potential damage to New Orleans as among the three likeliest, most catastrophic disasters facing this country.”

And this is the guy who was in a Republican majority in the House under former Speaker Tom DeLay, a majority that supported President Bush’s cutting money from FEMA and flood-control projects along the Gulf Coast to help pay for the Iraq war.

How did then-Rep. Vitter vote? To support the president or to protect Gulf Coast residents?

Regarding this “critical” bill he mentions while not answering queries about his extramarital relations: Will he release his earmarks that detail specific monies to construction interests that have financially supported his campaigns? Or even the list of requests for earmarks?

Has his penchant for what he calls a “serious sin” compromised his ability to advance legislation in the best interests of his constituents (the ones who need help, not the donors who pay for access). He says he does not plan to resign. Can Louisiana afford to have him remain in his Senate seat?

At his press conference, Sen. Vitter said: “No matter how long ago it was, I know this has hurt the relationship of trust I’ve enjoyed with so many of you, and that I have a lot of work to do to rebuild that. I will work every day to rebuild that trust.”

He’s referring, I suppose, to moral trust. But close inspection of his campaign finances and its correlation to federal spending in his district also suggests a lack of trustworthiness.

Sen. Vitter placed himself under the media’s microscope. It’s about time the media took a much more detailed look at the senator with his clothes on, not off.

Follow his money: Who gives it and who gets it? Follow his votes: Who wins and who loses? Follow his public postures on political issues affecting sexuality, religion and morality. Will they change?

While the media are it, 99 other senators could use a really good look-see, too.

xpost: Scholars & Rogues and 5th Estate

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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

July 17, 2007 at 4:25 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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