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Landrieu sham plan, complaint just more gamesmanship

Sen. Mary Landrieu’s apparent pro-oil drilling, pro-additional state revenues advocacy represents just another disingenuous attempt on her part to appear to be something that she isn’t during an election year.

Landrieu addressed two of the biggest issues for Louisianans, increasing domestic oil production and revenues sharing of federal money to the states, in her statement in opposition to her own party’s House colleagues’ plan modeled after one onto which she signed with (now) 19 other senators. Her plan largely is cosmetic and would do little other than shift money from energy consumers in the public to favored environmental causes of Democrats but even so the small difference with the plan backed by House Democrats, revenue sharing removed from theirs, brought her rebuke.

But we must understand the additional sham she is perpetrating other than her original plan. House Democrats leaders say their version can’t include revenue sharing because it would violate the “pay-as-you-go” (PAYGO) rules re-established in Congress at the beginning of 2007 courtesy of Democrat campaign pledges. They sounded impressive: if legislation reduces predicted revenues, spending must be cut to match.

However, PAYGO as a concept has been violated by Democrats so much they would make Storyville of a century ago look like a nunnery. From the start its form was riddled with loopholes and exceptions and since then it has been ignored on numerous occasions. In fact, at the end of last year Landrieu’s Senate Democrats gave up on it, ending the pretense to show its real purpose is to be used as an excuse to prevent permanent tax reductions from being realized while creating the chimera of fiscal responsibility.

Still, the House Democrats continue to prop up this charade which is what provided Landrieu the perfect excuse to try to demonstrate she cares about Louisiana. She knew House Democrats could use PAYGO as an excuse to ignore her, even as they have routinely waived its applicability in the past. In exchange, she comes across making an apparently bold statement allegedly showing she’s not a slave to the party line and bringing more attention to her bogus plan.

If the heat gets too much for Democrats on the drilling issue, their House contingent simply will waive PAYGO again and go along with the plan, making Landrieu look even more heroic which she desperately needs in her quest to fight off Republican state Treasurer John Kennedy for reelection. Voters must recognize the manipulative game she is waging here on two levels: first in trumpeting a plan that does little-to-nothing to bring down energy prices in the short- or long-term, then being made to appear courageous in fighting for federal dollars.

As Landrieu’s lifetime voting record shows, she consistently sticks with the Democrat left contrary to the policy preferences of Louisiana’s majority, even on the issue of more domestic production. No amount of gamesmanship on her part changes that fact.

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