Search This Blog


Landrieu race card play signals all in to avoid runoff

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu’s mushrooming desperation over retaining a spot in the Senate is that when she inevitably played the race card, she did not do so in its usual manner, off the bottom of the deck. Rather, she displayed it openly and proudly, as if she thought this was the thing polite people do, without any shame, lacking any self-awareness how by doing so that confirmed she had about as much character as the pictorial symbol of her political party – or that it shows complete surrender to a strategy of that plays to the worst in people that likely will not work to bring her electoral victory.

That when Landrieu declared on national television that unfavorable feelings in Louisiana about Pres. Barack Obama – who had a white mother and black father but who identifies himself as a black American – were as a result of “The South has not always been the friendliest place for African-Americans …. [making it difficult] for the president to present himself in a very positive light as a leader” did not come accidentally at the time in the campaign that it did. With the last dozen polls showing her behind Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy heads-up, early voting not providing any helpful news for her campaign, and just having had the last candidate debate, where Cassidy committed no errors, she really has to go for broke, and the standard (pun intended) Hail Mary play in the Democrats’ playbook is to plead with voters, particularly their base, to stop thinking and start emoting, juiced by scare tactics and attempted delegitimating of those who disagree with you on the issues.

The strategy has the upside of mobilizing that base. It’s a dog whistle to low information voters, particularly blacks, that opposition to the likes of Democrats such as Landrieu and Obama only can result from racist motives, and therefore implies that to allow the opposition to her to win would create more racism in American government. It’s intended to frighten the base enough to get it to the polls to vote for Landrieu.


Plodding Cassidy, again by default, wins Senate debate

So you could watch the decisive game of the 2014 World Series, some of us watched the desperation dripping from Sen. Mary Landrieu as she tried to say anything to capitalize during the second and final statewide televised debate among competitive U.S. Senate candidates in Louisiana, and it’s unlikely any of that changed the dynamics of a contest moving decisively against her.

When one has now run behind in the heads-up choice between her and her main rival Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy for the past 11 polls, it gets to the point where there’s less concern about how credible accusations are against opponents, who also include mid-major contender military retiree/middle manager Republican Rob Maness, and more impetus to throw out there anything hoping it sticks. But just like a football defense that, in order to stop a high-flying passing offense, begins to blitz more, it opens itself up to getting burned by big plays. And it happened more than once to Landrieu during this encounter.

Thus, she accused both opponents either by action or stated intention of wanting to reduce Social Security benefits, not wanting to pay women equally, being against adequate Coast Guard funding, and, in the ugliest moment, insinuating they were complicit in an America rent with racism that keeps racial minorities from enjoying equal opportunity to achieve. Each time, with degrees of success varying from lukewarm to embarrassing her, the Republicans parried – and, perhaps surprisingly, Maness did so more effectively.

Numbers show no last minute surge for Landrieu

Registration statistics are in for eligibility to vote on Nov. 4, and early voting has concluded. Do they tell us whether incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu, who has trailed in the last 11 polls heads-up to challenger Rep. Bill Cassidy but who has won three close elections for the office, could do it again?

Both sides of the Senate contest claim there’s something good about the registration numbers. Republicans point to the fact that their numbers keep growing, although not as fast as no-party/other-party voters, as Democrats’ totals continue in free-fall, while Democrats point that among new registrations since July about half of all new registrants are black, who historically vote overwhelmingly Democrat. Heading in to the election, as a whole registered voters in Louisiana proportionally are 63.9 percent white, 31.5 percent black, and 4.6 percent others, while they are 47.1 percent Democrats, 27.5 percent Republicans, and 25.4 percent no-party/other.

Republicans rightly celebrate their increases at the expense of Democrats. With 171,000 fewer of the latter than in 2008, of which 165,000 were white with blacks increasing about 8,000, using a rule of thumb that two-thirds of all white Democrats voted for the incumbent and now running for reelection Democrat Landrieu as did all blacks, she has lost a base of 102,000 voters from when she had a winning margin of 121,000 – in an election that was higher-stimulus for her supporters then than now. Keep in mind also that registration is not the same as self-identification, and as far as that what was a 10-point advantage for Democrats in 2008 is now down to four, among all voters. Further, 45 percent identify as conservatives, as opposed to just 17 percent liberals. Finally, she appears to have only 25 percent of the white vote at present.


Lie of Cassidy liberalism serves both Landrieu, Maness

Republicans, conservatives, and their Senate standard-bearer Rep. Bill Cassidy would rather win that seat sooner than later. Democrats, liberals, and their standard bearer Sen. Mary Landrieu are desperate to keep him from doing so. Mid-major candidate Rob Maness, running as a Republican, and his supporters just want to be relevant. And thus the machinations last week concerning these.

As much as Cassidy, who has led head-to-head compared to Landrieu in every of nine polls since the end of the Tour de France, would like to win outright on Nov. 4, increasingly it appears he will not because of the presence of Maness, who claims he is more and genuinely conservative than Cassidy and not a creature of Washington, D.C., with enough voters buying that to look as if a runoff will be forced between Cassidy and Landrieu on Dec. 6. Except, what if Maness is not what he claims?

That’s the assertion made by his former campaign manager in a note sent to activists but then forwarded by the Louisiana GOP, and denied by his current campaign manager, but nevertheless adding fuel to the rumor that he is a “Maness-churian Candidate” in the race to aid Landrieu. The left’s idea is that his conduct during and after his campaign will be one to impugn Cassidy among conservatives in the hopes that they consider him a Landrieu clone and won’t vote at all, in enough numbers to hand Landrieu the win. The note stated that Maness really was not an anti-big-government advocate but figured he needed to appear that way in order to win support.


LA should reduce amendments allowed per election

Yes, voters are getting plenty of rest ahead of Nov. 4, in order to complete the sprint that will be required of them to get through the ballot in the state-law-allotted time, while dreaming about how there has to be a better way of doing this – and there is.

When I hit my precinct sometime that day, I’ll have 24 items on which to make a selection. State law gives you exactly 3 minutes to make your marks (if not disabled), or for me a grand total of 7.5 seconds each. Some jurisdictions may have as few as six seconds apiece.

The real inflator here is the 14 constitutional amendments (voting recommendations here), the most since 2003 but still shy of the Oct. 3, 1998 record of 18 (and two more were considered on Nov. 3 of that year). That election featured only amendments, but three others with partisan contests on theirs had as many as 15 propositions to amend (these records set relevant to the latest 1974 Constitution). With the fourth longest constitution among the states, the element of distrust of government and politicians within Louisiana’s political culture encouraged throwing everything possible into the Constitution rather than by accomplishing these things by statute, and thus picayunish things often have to be addressed by the voters if they wish to make policy changes.


Data confirm increased teacher evaluation rigor needed

As the state continues to review accountability measures for teachers and schools, new data out last week confirms that greater, not reduced, objectivity in measurements shows the way forward to genuine improvement in Louisiana’s delivery of elementary and secondary education.

COMPASS scores came out for schools and teachers, allowing for comparisons of changes from last year in evaluations of these and to other data indicating student progress, as measured by performance on standardized tests. These data, comparing teachers to students, showed that teacher performance rose at a faster rate than did student achievement (and administrators’ performances even more in many cases), and in comparing teachers to schools, that higher performing schools on the basis of student scores that used more objective data in assessments of teachers tended to grade theirs more harshly.

The explanation was that, because of transitioning to new curricula statewide, districts were given latitude to increase the input of subjective measures. Higher-rated teachers were more prevalent at schools that used more subjective measuring, even as student performance at these schools tended to be lower. This lead state superintendent John White to call for schools to increase standards and rigor in teacher evaluation, noting the inverse relationship between teacher scoring and student growth.