Traffic is the new sex.
Stick with me. Sen. David Vitter, who recently announced that he is running for governor of Louisiana in 2015, is ahead in a recent poll. You may recall Vitter's apology in 2007 after his phone number surfaced during an investigation of the prostitution ring run by the notorious "D.C. Madam," Deborah Jeane Palfrey, who later committed suicide. The details of his dalliances involved infant wear. He said he committed "a very serious sin in my past for which I am, of course, completely responsible."
His lead in the polls is in keeping with other comebacks by officials caught in sexual scandals. After his own prostitution scandal, former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer got a television show and ran a creditable race for New York City comptroller.
Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford survived trying to cover up his infidelity with a tall tale about hiking the Appalachian Trail and returned to Congress. Bill Clinton, who was impeached for his transgressions, left office with a 68 percent approval rating, and his wife is the leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Compare that with the fate of politicians involved in traffic scandals. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is the subject of multiple investigations for the epic gridlock on the George Washington Bridge. His non-best friend from high school, David Wildstein, whom he appointed to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, is singing like a bird. Kentucky Sen. Paul Rand is pursuing questions about how federal funds for Superstorm Sandy were spent, and several mayors are anxious to tell him. Even Christie's idol, Bruce Springsteen, mocked him on late-night television. Just 35 percent of Americans see the governor favorably, down from 52 percent in a Gallup poll in June. He's gone from a 32 point net positive rating last summer to a 5 point net negative now. Before Bridgegate, he topped many of the polls about potential Republican presidential candidates. A Washington Post/ABC poll puts him in third place now, with the support ojust 13 percent of Republicans, behind Rep. Paul Ryan and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
Republican Gov. Nathan Deal of Georgia also has seen voters tap the brakes over his traffic record. Deal was a shoo-in for re-election in his Republican-leaning state until "Snowjam '14" (it's never good for a catastrophe to get a name) created a crushing traffic jam on the interstate. Deal was missing in action as the snow began to pile up, and he initially blamed poor weather forecasting for the failure to clear roads or stagger closings so that everyone wasn't hitting the freeway at the same time.
The overnight crisis — a baby was born on the interstate, people were trapped overnight in their cars while their children slept at school — attracted national attention. On NBC, Al Roker scolded Deal for calling the storm a surprise when all he needed to do was turn on the TV to find out it was headed his way. Late-night host Jay Leno joked, "Drivers were stranded, traffic was at a standstill for 12 hours, and everyone was asking the same question: 'What did we do to piss off Chris Christie?'"
Now it's the people of Georgia who are ticked off at Deal, who was lunching with the mayor of Atlanta when both should have been glued to the Weather Channel. A survey showed 1 out of 3 people blamed Deal, not Mother Nature, for the traffic nightmare. In a statewide poll, 57 percent of Republicans rated Deal poor to fair.
According to Public Policy Polling, while Deal still holds a lead over his likely opponents who haven't yet begun to advertise, including State Sen. Jason Carter (yes, grandson of), only 36 percent of voters approve of Deal and 41 percent disapprove, a terrible place for an incumbent to be.
He would have been better off having lunch with a hooker. Just ask Senator Vitter.
Traffic is the new sex.
HEY HINK: Obama loses vote in Democrat-controlled Senate
This week, the Senate dealt President Obama a humiliating defeat. His nomination of Debo Adegbile to head the Justice Department’s civil rights division was derailed by a 47-to-52 talley with eight Democrats among the “no” votes. This outcome is tragic for all concerned; the president, the nominee, the Senate and the American people.
CONSIDER THIS: Why does American Indian Cultural Center matter?
We can fulfill an obligation to our Native American brethren, cultures, histories and ourselves by completing the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum.
Women raise their voices for peace, security
International Women’s Day has been observed on March 8 since the early 1900s. From factory workers to abolitionists, women began to speak out against women’s oppression and inequality. They organized to demand better working conditions, equal pay and the right to vote. As 50 percent of the world’s population, our foremothers realized they had a critical role to play in the political, social and economic life of their society and it was time for their voices to be heard.
Education Savings Accounts are worth the fight
Throughout the course of a legislative session, many bills are proposed, discussed and voted on. Lots of times, good bills pass and become law. Sometimes, good bills focused on important topics do not make it to law. For one reason or another, it just didn’t receive the votes. That can even happen to measures that have widespread support.
Shotgun homes stand in Oklahoma
In 1791 a slave rebellion broke out in what was then the French colony of Haiti and over the next several years French citizens fleeing the conflict made their way to New Orleans. Those refugees brought with them traditions that were to have an impact on their new homeland.
They included the custom of constructing small homes that were one room wide and featured several other rooms behind the front one with doors at both the front and back of the structure that in time became know as “shotgun houses.” The term shotgun is said to reflect the fact that a bullet could be fired through the front door and go through every room in the house.
The Kansas City Star: Ukrainian victory turns toward tragedy
The stakes are changing rapidly in Ukraine. The people have spoken in Kiev. But now Russian President Vladimir Putin has spoken more loudly.
By Sunday, Kiev’s new interim leaders charged that Russians had invaded. Putin asserted that his forces were merely protecting Russian interests in Crimea. He appeared undeterred by his 90-minute talk with President Barack Obama on Saturday, leading experts to question if Ukraine’s regime could stave off a military conflict and possible partition.
President’s budget a disappointment
Last month, President Obama filed his annual budget blueprint for fiscal year 2015. While the contents of his proposal have been a major topic of discussion in the news since then, its official release on March 4 will determine the next steps for lawmakers, who must work together to ultimately find a common agreement.
40 modernization proposals win approval
Last week presented the first major legislative deadline. Proposals that didn’t receive committee approval by last Thursday are no longer eligible for additional consideration.
As the chairman of the Government Modernization committee it was my responsibility to sort through a large number of proposals and work with the authors of those proposals to make them both politically viable and practicable for implementation if approved.
This year, the committee considered more proposals than in any other year.
Here are just a few:
HEY HINK: War redefined: Don’t fall for the con job
This week, I’m thinking about shell games and war. Let’s start with war. This is probably the most damaging social convention ever devised by the mind of man. But war is a phenomenon that’s touched the lives of every American. We owe our freedoms to those who won the “Revolutionary War.” The political and economic face of America was forever changed by “The Civil War.” The pattern for the international stage as it exists today was largely defined by “World War I.”
Bits about Bitcoin and why you should care
Many people have no clue about this thing called Bitcoin. This week’s collapse of the Mt. Gox Bitcoin exchange demonstrates, it’s time they do.
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- HEY HINK: Obama loses vote in Democrat-controlled Senate