Call it Round 3 in the Great Bumper Sticker Wars of 2011. First the Louisiana Republican Party responded to a speech by Democrat Caroline Fayard in which she said, "I hate Republicans" with a bumper sticker that read "Caroline Fayard Hates Me." Within days, the state's Democratic Party parried with its own sticker: "Anybody But Bobby" (Gov. Bobby Jindal, of course).
Now, two weeks later, Fayard has responded with her own bumper stickers: "Caroline Fayard Loves Me," as well as "Caroline Fayard Loves Children," "Caroline Fayard Loves Louisiana," "Caroline Fayard Loves Students" and "Caroline Fayard Loves Seniors."
It was a typically feisty response from the candidate who surprised many when she captured 43 percent of the vote in last year's lieutenant governor's race against Jay Dardenne, a veteran state senator who became secretary of state in 2006. Feistier still was a defense/manifesto Fayard wrote and posted on her website, www.geauxcaroline.com. Its title was, "I am a daughter of Louisiana and it is here I take my stand," and in it she said high-ranking state Republicans (without mentioning names) had asked her to flip to the GOP.
"I guess they figure if they could not switch me or bully me they would try to smear me," Fayard wrote. "They have wrongly claimed that I said that I hate all Republicans. That's not true. I don't hate anybody. I love America. I love Louisiana, and I love Louisianans. I love going fishing with my little brother on the Tickfaw River, to church on Sundays, and to a Saturday night in Tiger Stadium."
Emphasizing her bipartisanship, she added that one of her earliest childhood memories was writing to President Ronald Reagan for a signed photo, and concluded, "I've planted my flag in Louisiana, and it is here I take my stand for the state that I love. I am unbowed, unbossed and unbought. I won't be bullied and I won't run scared."
Meanwhile, climbing down from the bipartisan fence this week was former Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao, the Republican who served the largely Democratic 2nd Congressional District from 2009 to 2011. Cao says he now intends to run for Louisiana attorney general this fall against current AG Buddy Caldwell (who switched from Democrat to Republican earlier this year). While in Congress, Cao was fond of pointing out the times he crossed the aisle to side with President Barack Obama, but since his defeat he's been putting plenty of air between himself and Obama, who remains unpopular in Louisiana.
Since leaving office, Cao took a job with oil spill claims czar Kenneth Feinberg's office, offering his expertise in outreach to south Louisiana's Vietnamese fishing communities. That job ended in March after only two months. Cao says he was fired after questioning the red tape in the Gulf Coast Claims Facility process. — Kevin Allman