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More Demolition Derby Than Debate

media commons

The U.S Senate debate put on by Raycom television stations Wednesday night tried valiantly to be a civil, civic discourse.

Questioned about making the federal tax system more equitable, Democrat Foster Campbell replied, “If we would make these large corporations pay taxes, instead of moving ‘em offshore, we could go a long way towards balancing the budget and fairing up our tax situation.”

Republican Charles Boustany took the opposite line.

“We need to lower the corporate tax rate,” the Lafayette congressman said. “What we need to do is real tax reform, something we haven’t done since Ronald Reagan was president.”

“Trickle-down economics do not work. It’s been disproven over and over again,” Democrat Caroline Fayard responded.

State Treasurer John Kennedy, asked about his conversion from Democrat to Republican, also invoked Reagan.

“It was possible years ago to be a conservative Democrat. Those days are no more,” Kennedy said. “Wasn’t peculiar to me: Ronald Reagan, I think, went through the same thought process.”

There was the expected sniping between the two Democrats, and Republican congressman John Fleming did a moderate amount of barking at Kennedy, prompting the state treasurer to riposte, “The brain is an amazing organ. It starts working in the mother’s womb and it doesn’t stop until you get elected to Congress.”

Yet the debate often devolved into a demolition derby, due in no small part to the inclusion of David Duke. Duke was asked about a statement on his campaign website, blaming the release of a conversation between Donald Trump and an “Entertainment Tonight” reporter on “CNN Jews.”

“I’m not against all Jews, but I am against Jews or anybody else that is controlling and dominating the media, teaching black people to hate white people and inciting them to violence like the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement,” Duke said.

“All right, your time has expired,” moderator John Snell interjected.

“Because you didn’t like my response, you interrupt me? Look, you’re not one of the debaters here, Mr. Snell! You’re the moderator.!” Duke started shouting. “You’re a typical media hack!”

“Mr. Fleming, go on,” Snell said, attempting to maintain control of the debate flow.

“You’re gonna silence me now? Are you going to silence me?” Duke kept shouting. “You’re going to prevent me from answering this question because YOU want to make a point?”

The moderator, Duke and several of the candidates all tried to outshout each other at that point.

Tuesday, Louisiana voters at least narrow it down to two.