Van Tran loses again as Cao beats him to Congress

(Picture courtesy of the New Orleans Times-Picayune)

In all the celebration about the victory of Anh “Joseph” Cao, who became a member of the House of Representatives by beating crooked Democrat William Jefferson, in Louisiana, we seem to have lost perspective.  The real story here is that Republican Assemblyman Van Tran just got punked.  Tran has never hidden the fact that he wanted to be the first Vietnamese American to go to Congress.  Oops!  That dream is dashed now.

In fact I don’t know that Tran will EVER go to Congress – at least not as long as Representative Loretta Sanchez stays in office.  If he ran against her she would beat him like a drum.  And even if she left, victory would not be assured for Tran.  He would have to run through Supervisor Janet Nguyen in a very tough primary.  And I am sure the Democrats would not concede the seat in the general.  They would likely run popular State Senator Lou Correa for the seat.  I think Correa would beat either Tran or Nguyen handily.

In reading about Cao’s victory this morning, in the O.C. Register, I noted that he doesn’t appear to stand for anything in particular, except that he said he is opposed to abortion.  That sounds familiar.  When I met with Janet Nguyen before she started her campaign for the O.C. Board of Supervisors, I asked her what her top three issues were.  She could only think of one – “Small Business.”  At the time I figured she was just being a typical Republican, but now that Cao has voiced a similar lack of beliefs I am beginning to wonder what is up with these Vietnamese American politicians.  How do they not have core beliefs?

I decided to look for more information re Cao.  And I found a great article in the New York Times, which stated that “He is only a recent convert to the Republican Party, having been a registered independent for most of his adult life, and has no position — at least not one he cares to share yet — on President-elect Barack Obama’s agenda. His politics seem less a matter of ideology than of low-key temperament and a Jesuit-inspired desire to “help and serve people,” as he put it.”

Aha!  So Cao has not been a member of the GOP for long.  That is good I suppose and it explains why he doesn’t have much of a belief system.  He was not even a Democrat previously.  He was an independent.

I thought it was weird that he mentioned abortion.  That seems a bit Talibani, but then I read this excerpt from the same Times article:

Mr. Cao said that while he was studying to be a priest in the 1990s, he had “the great opportunity to work with the poor in conditions of extreme poverty” in Mexico and in Vietnamese refugee camps in Hong Kong — children playing in the slums, children behind bars. He wanted to be a missionary.

“From there, the desire to bring social reforms, or to promote certain social change,” Mr. Cao said in an interview Sunday at an outdoor cafe in the Uptown neighborhood here. But, he added, “Politics and religious life don’t mix.”

That last statement is quite reassuring.

Cao actually seems like a decent guy.  Nothing like Van Tran or the equally ambitions Janet Nguyen.  They both seem to be more interested in power and building their respective “teams,” than in actually doing anything positive for their constituents.  And now Cao has beat them both to Congress.  Perhaps nice guys don’t always finish last…

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"Admin" is just editors Vern Nelson, Greg Diamond, or Ryan Cantor sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.