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15.10.08

Democrat candidates paint stripes on horse, call it zebra

Regardless of whether it is past performance or future promises, Louisiana Democrats running for reelection to Congress keep trying to say one thing and hope you don’t look deeper to find out what they say they are and what they truly are in fact are different things.

Both Sen. Mary Landrieu and Rep. Don Cazayoux keep trying to run from their liberalism, carefully choosing their rhetoric to shield themselves from reality. But their actions and words keep tripping them up.

Landrieu’s actions belie the “centrist” label she keeps trying to claim, even as it has fooled some otherwise intelligent, attentive people. She will spout off how the for 2007 the publication National Journal rated her at the median of senators on her voting record and how she votes with her liberal party the second-least of any senator.

But looking at Landrieu’s relative standing among her peers obscures the fact that she is very liberal, by her record, because even if she is among the least liberal of all the liberals she’s still being very liberal. Or another way to look at it, put Landrieu-endorsee for president Sen. Barack Obama, and his associates the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the Rev. Michael Pflegler, and admitted terrorist Bill Ayres together in the same room, and Obama might be the most “centrist” of the bunch. Yet that does not change the fact that he was rated in 2007 by the National Journal as the most liberal senator as he is scored as extremely liberal.

Landrieu the magazine ranks on the liberal side, if not by much, at 53.7 (100 being perfectly liberal) in 2007. However, Landrieu has a history of sliding towards to center in the years leading up to an election. A better indicator comes from the American Conservative Union’s scorecard of her, which shows she has a 22.4 lifetime rating (1997-2007, where 0 is the perfect liberal score), but remove the years 2001, 2002, and 2007 where she scored 28, 35, and 40, respectively, her average when she thinks she isn’t being watched is an 18. Somebody who votes the liberal line when uninfluenced by electoral politics 82 percent of the time simply is no “centrist” or “moderate.” (Her liberalism is mirrored if not better shown in the ratings put out by the Americans for Democratic Action, where, for example, she scored an 80 of 100 for liberalism in 2007.)

The same applies to her party defection rate. Maybe she’s second-least loyal in the Senate, but when you vote with your party about 78 percent of the time, that’s still being pretty loyal to a party a minority of Louisianans voted for in eight of the nine latest statewide elections. Landrieu’s rhetoric on this matter simply attempts to con voters.

While Cazayoux doesn’t have Landrieu’s record because he’s hardly spent any time in Congress, it’s his talking out of both sides of his mouth which gives him away. At a recent candidate forum, he, who also has endorsed Obama, stated he was against tax increases, for cutting the federal budget, and saying any increased spending would have to be offset by cuts elsewhere (known as “PAYGO”).

Of course, these stated preferences run counter to his party’s articulated goals and, most importantly, against Obama’s who has promised tax increases that will end up affecting negatively most Americans, over a trillion dollars of new spending supported mainly by tax increases (which would not come close to finding that amount of revenue), and, in something Cazayoux hasn’t seemed to have heard yet from his own party, PAYGO is dead.

Cazayoux can’t have it all ways, but that’s obviously something he won’t tell voters. And it’s probably not going to be his way anyway, because if the Democrats get control of both branches of government, the leadership will breathe down his neck to vote their way on these controversial issues, needing every vote it can get to pass such radical changes. Chances are, if he could get reelected, he will end up voting for tax increases and spending increases and probably the only budget cutting he’ll get a chance to vote for is cutting off funds to win the war in Iraq.

At least his opponents state Rep. Michael Jackson and state Sen. Bill Cassidy are honest about who they are and what they’ll do. But, like Landrieu, Cazayoux knows the only chance he has of winning is to appear to be something that he is not. And thus we get this convoluted exercise from both of painting a pale horse with stripes and calling it a zebra.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

You sure do love the American Conservative Union. A review of their "ratings" reveals that they are based upon 25 "key votes."

http://www.acuratings.org/2007senate.htm

I am sure these 25 votes represent a true reflection of the issues that face lawmakers, and that it just happens to work out such that the average score for a Republican is 80.94%, and a Democrat, 5.9%. Right...

And by their calculations, Landrieu's 2007 score of "40" would mean that she is 6.7X more conservative than the average Democratic Senator! Even her "life" score of 22 would make her 3.7X as conservative.

And with regards to the Americans for Democratic Action, their ratings suffer from a similar loaded scale, and you forgot to mention Landrieu's 65 rating in 2006.

Throwing around a statistic like voting "with your party about 78 percent of the time," and making no attempt to detail exactly what issues separate Landrieu from the rest of her party, I would say, is pretty much the definition of attempting "to con voters."

But then again, I guess voters know what they're getting when they read "between the lines."

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