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|What will conservatives do?|
We'll find out in about month whether registered Republicans in Louisiana's 5th Congressional District are true conservatives or if they simply pay lip service to conservatism like many of their counterparts elsewhere in America.
That's an adequate summation of the campaign between Congressman Rodney Alexander, the incumbent, and businessman Todd Slavant. They're vying for the Republican nomination in the 5th District race. Election day is Aug. 28.
Since no Democrats qualified for the Democratic primary, which would be held Aug. 28 as well, the winner between Alexander and Slavant will be elected to represent the 5th District during the 112th Congress. The 112th convenes beginning in January.
A native of western Ouachita Parish, Slavant owns and operates a land management business. He served in the Army National Guard from 1989-2002. He also is in remission after receiving treatment for the past three years for Chronic Lyme disease.
Like most true conservatives, Slavant believes the country is headed in the wrong direction. He thinks the Congress' spending is out of control, and he believes President Obama and the liberal establishment in Washington and beyond are attempting to socialize America.
To surmise, Slavant is closely aligned with the Tea Party movement.
Slavant's biggest problem campaign-wise is he doesn't have much money to do the things that are vital for any campaign for the Congress to succeed. That means Slavant doesn't have the cash to pay for those glitzy television commercials. He doesn't have the funds to pay campaign workers, and he doesn't have many ties to Republican stalwarts in Louisiana, who can come in handy at election time.
Yet, Slavant has one thing working in his favor. That is his message reflects the mood of middle America. If he can get his message across to more people, he will garner votes on election day.
It probably won't be enough, though, for Slavant to overcome Alexander's advantages. Chief among them is the power of the incumbency and all of the campaign money that accompanies it.
First elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002 as a Democrat, Alexander has very quietly carved out a niche for himself. Being the only member from Louisiana serving on the House Appropriations Committee, Alexander receives all comers from the state who want something for nothing from Uncle Sugar. Uncle Sugar, of course, would be the federal government.
And since Alexander, who became a Republican in 2004, is the only member of the Appropriations Committee from Louisiana, he's in a pretty good position to direct appropriations to pay for projects and other concerns in his district. That means he's popular, even among those so-called conservative Republicans who are as guilty -- in many instances -- as liberal Democrats in having their hands out, wanting something for nothing from Uncle Sugar.
The problem with turning to Uncle Sugar to pay for our wants and needs on the home front is we -- the taxpayers -- will pick up the tab whether we realize or not. After all, there is no such thing as a free lunch.
Slavant knows it. Alexander knows, too, but he hasn't exhibited much initiative to do anything about it. He hasn't because he knows that if he does, many of those so-called conservative Republicans might go shopping for a candidate who would be more than happy to do their bidding on Capitol Hill. In all fairness to Alexander, no one else in the Congress is doing anything about it either.
That's politics, though.
And that's one of the reasons why the country is broken financially and otherwise.
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