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

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.

ADDENDUM: A commenter at Daily Kos provided these votes by Sen. Vitter:

Voted against Hurricane Victims Tax Benefit, November 17, 2005.

09/15/2005 Financial Relief For Hurricane Katrina Victims Amendment NV
09/14/2005 Congressional Commission on Hurricane Katrina NV

(NV = not voting)

xpost: 5th Estate

17 comments on “Sen. Vitter, take II: Is the media missing the real story?

  1. It’s always easier to sell sex scandals than substantial malfeasance, Denny. You know it as well as I. It’s something everyone can understand.

    That doesn’t make it right, of course, which is why I’m thankful that we have guys like you out there digging for the real dirt.

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  5. If the MSM is not handed the story and it does not appeal to the lowest common denominator they will not bother to cover it. That laziness(or corporate self interest?) is the reason more and more of us simply dismiss them as not import.

  6. Great article and very salient points! The state of ‘journalism’ in this country is not just sad, its actually become quite dangerous. While our elected representatives continue to suck at the teat of big business (while ignoring their constituents and us, the taxpayers), the ‘news’ organizations have their mouths affixed to an appendage somewhat lower on the corporate body politic. The outright hackery and shameless genuflecting of the mainstream media in service of the disastrously corrupt Bush-Cheney oligarchy is so baldfaced in its obviousness that it makes you want to scream. Citizen journalism, blogs and information channeled via the Internet are our only (and last) defense against a government wildly out of control and a political system that is horribly broken. The scum that is robbing the nation’s treasury and stealing this country of its honor must be held accountable – but don’t look to the broadcast industry to do it. They’ve been bought off and have officially abandoned their compact with the people.

  7. You are so right, sometimes you have to look behind the veil to find the story. This guy sucks badly as well as the majority of our elected (non-elected) government officials.

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  9. “It’s about time the media took a much more detailed look at the senator with his clothes on, not off.”

    I agree. It’s about time that the media look beyond Vitter’s personal, or moral, failings. His record and work in the Senate should be heavily scrutinized …not his phone records. Ultimately, we would all probably be better off if the media would leave the more salacious details for bloggers to cover (or uncover).

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  11. I haven’t seen this anywhere in the blogs or the MSM, but here’s what a contributor to our national “counter-recruitment” news group wrote about Vitter on July 10:

    “How ironic that Vitter’s demise may result from the unintended sharing of his phone number: Vitter was the sponsor of the amendment to No Child Left Behind that forces schools to release students’ phone numbers to military recruiters.”

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  14. Pingback: Louisiana’s Vitter again screwing around with hypocrisy | Scholars and Rogues

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