Jeffrey D. Sadow is an associate professor of political science at Louisiana State University Shreveport. If you're an elected official, political operative or anyone else upset at his views, don't go bothering LSUS or LSU System officials about that because these are his own views solely.
This publishes Sunday through Thursday with the exception of 7 holidays. Also check out his Louisiana Legislature Log especially during legislative sessions (in "Louisiana Politics Blog Roll" below).
No amount of spin emanating from Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu can change the fact that the victory by Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts Senate special election is for her an unmitigated political disaster. The interesting part is in discovering just how stupid she is willing to appear in trying to avoid that.
Landrieu’s subsequent remarks about this betray any one or all of a heretofore-unimagined vapidity, an incredibly stone ear, or a super-sized blithering idiocy. Let’s start with her declaring that the victory by Brown, which deprives Democrats of a chance to be able to break Republican Senate filibusters to prevent a health care reform bill that would raise costs, premiums, and lower quality that Landrieu supported, was “a wake-up call to the wing of the Democratic Party that wants the federal government to overreach and overspend.”
By that statement, Landrieu suggests she is not part of that “wing” of her party. That being the case, if she doesn’t want “the federal government to overreach and overspend,” then why did she vote for a bill that precisely did these things? (And, in another self-negating act, for a spending bill that has done nothing positive for the economy?) Despite numerous constituent outcries in Louisiana against the bill for these reasons (that is, when she could be bothered to listen which appeared to be seldom) to alert her to this fact, she seemed to ignore the reality of what she now admits.
Perhaps that selective attention had something to do with an up-to $365 million inducement that now appears to be gone with the winds of change – Landrieu’s famous bragging that she would vote for the monstrosity after Senate Democrat leaders promised to shovel extra money to the state to fund Medicaid. At the time, it seemed like a shrewd deal – Landrieu knew she was going to support the legislation anyway (as part of pattern of achieving a liberal voting record except immediately before she runs for reelection) but played hard-to-get – except now that she endured all of that unfavorable publicity for nothing, well, stupid is as stupid does.
Then there’s her remark that Brown’s win was not a validation for conservatism. The blonde intoned, “This new senator is quite moderate,” showing her staff had ill-prepared her over the previous day on this talking point. In fact, only on some social issues could Brown be considered close to being “moderate” (and apparently less liberal than Landrieu on these) as throughout he campaigned consistently on themes of opposing the bill Landrieu supported and on tax cuts and reduced government spending. He hardly addressed anything else, as it turned out. So that leaves the question, if Landrieu doesn’t realize that a major part of conservative philosophy is having smaller, less intrusive government, then what does she think it is?
Finally, despite the fact that she argued that overreach was the cause of Democratic defeat, she proceeded to stump for the very bill that she supported which was the poster child of this malady. She said it, the Senate version which among other things has abortion language that the House version does not have, was a good bill that should be passed without change by the House. But Louisiana’s Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao, the only GOP House vote for its version, has said the Senate language was unacceptable and another Democrat vote for it then now is an empty seat. That would make the vote right at the minimum 218 to pass, and that’s not going to happen since about another dozen previously-supporting Democrats echoed Cao’s pledge. Either version of the Democrat version now is dead yet Landrieu is unwilling to face that.
So let’s recapitulate: Landrieu voted for and still supports something that a majority of the country and strong majority of her constituents oppose, that would impose dramatic and disastrous change on the country, even though it has no chance of passing now and she claims was wrong to begin with. Further, the only political reward that could ease the negativity of her constituents, the vote trade, has evaporated. It’s why she continues to cling to the fantasy that the Senate version will become law, because to have suffered all of this very public and obvious inanity without anything – chimerical reform, the Medicaid fix – makes her look like a stooge, unwilling to stand up for her constituents, and desperate to appear to be neither.
The fantasy coming to fruition is highly unlikely. By contrast, from this incident being seen as a liberal ideologue and self-serving politician trying to deny reality seems far more probable. It adds up to even more political damage she suffers over this issue.