Down in the ultra-conservative southwest corner of Louisiana, Democrats are celebrating the special election that will send State Rep. Donald J. Cazayoux Jr. to the U.S. Congress, yanking away a seat that had belonged to the GOP for 33 years.
However, some Democrats are celebrating more than others. Why? That's almost impossible to figure out from the Washington Post story, which buries and blurs some crucial information that makes this vote more logical.
Here's some crucial info near the top:
With all precincts reporting, State Rep. Donald J. Cazayoux Jr. had 49 percent of the vote to Woody Jenkins's 46 percent, overcoming a barrage of ads from GOP committees that tried to paint Cazayoux as an ally of Obama, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, and of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
Democrats said the result in the Baton Rouge-based district showed that an anti-Obama campaign has its limits and that they are poised for very large gains this fall.
"These Republicans can run, but they cannot hide. Our candidates have proven that they are competitive, that they are viable. This is clearly adding up to a very bad year for Republicans," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Well, that depends. It could be that Republicans are in trouble if they have to run against candidates like Cazayoux in culturally red or purple parts of the country.
But how many other candidates like him are available? And what was the cultural and political formula for this candidate? That's what is hard to find out in the Post report. You read and read and read and then near the very bottom there is this:
Cazayoux, who now becomes a Democratic superdelegate to help decide the party's presidential contest, has declined to say whether he will support Obama or Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) in the race. In the campaign, Cazayoux distanced himself from Pelosi and other leading party figures, espousing conservative positions on gun rights and abortion.
He did what?
Sure enough, Cazayoux is a Democrat who, though he is a superdelegate, will almost certainly be allowed nowhere near a speaker's platform during hearings on the party's platform. Why? Here's the tell-tale press release from April 22:
Today, the Democrats for Life of America (DFLA) announced their endorsement of Representative Don Cazayoux's bid for election in the 6th Congressional District of Louisiana. The organization cited Cazayoux's consistent support for pro-life issues in making the endorsement. ...
In its endorsement of Cazayoux, the DFLA cited his strong support for the right to life. As a state representative, Cazayoux offered one of the strongest pieces of pro-life legislation in the Louisiana legislature and has a consistent pro-life record. As a supporter of the partial birth abortion ban, working to prevent taxpayer funding of abortions and a supporter of restrictions on abortion, he will be a strong voice in the U.S. Congress for pro-life democrats.
It's interesting to note that there is no mention of an outright ban on all abortions, only to his positions on compromise positions -- "restrictions." So his position may be nuanced, but still closer to the majority of conservative and moderate (and a surprising number of liberal) Democrats than to the position carved into the platform.
The Post buried a strong element of the story. The Politico's hard-news report was much better, stating soon after the lede:
Cazayoux portrayed himself as a culturally conservative candidate in the Republican-minded district, citing his opposition to abortion rights and gun control measures and tough talk on border security. ... (The) NRCC and conservative groups repeatedly attacked Cazayoux on taxes, saying he would vote to raise taxes if elected to Congress, but the effort failed to dissuade voters from backing the Democrat.
In other words, he was an economic populist and a cultural conservative. And try to count the churches in that YouTube piece promoting his campaign.
That's part of the story -- a big part.