Thursday, November 03, 2005

Will David Vitter Get to be The White Knight

The Republican leadership seems adamant that the Katrina Reconstruction loans be non-forgivable, yet Vitter sure seems confident that “we’ll be able to work something out” about the terms of the loans.  As I pointed out in my last post, it’s inconceivable that the GOP leadership is all that concerned about the repayment terms on $750M in reconstruction loans.  Since Mr. Vitter seems so confidant, it can be assumed that he’s received some strong assurances from his colleagues.  My guess is that the free spending Republicans will try to look like sound fiscal conservatives by spending a few months pledging to protect their constituents' hard earned tax dollars from those corrupt politicians in Louisiana.  Then at some point next year (maybe in time to make Mr. Vitter the hero of the first post-Katrina Mardi Gras, maybe closer to the fall elections) a deal will be announced giving the White House the discretion to forgive the loans.  National Republicans get to look tough; Vitter gets to look good; Landrieu, Blanco and the Louisiana Democrats get shown up and the state is one step closer to being as solidly Republican as its neighbors.

The question is: will it work?  Or will anyone point out that this gamesmanship will have left the state and several local governments dangling (not to mention slowed down the recovery) for several months?  Judging form past performance, I wouldn’t expect the local press to spoil the party.  James Gill will probably be rude enough to ask what took so long, but he’s our Maureen Dowd: everybody reads him, nobody admits to liking him.  His colleagues at The Times Picayune and Clancy Dubos at Gambit will pose the question in such a way as to trivialize it and conclude with praise for Vitter for ending the impasse.  You read it here first.

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