You’ve probably already seen the video of Allison Lundegran Grimes squirming like a cochon du lait before being skewered and roasted. She was asked by the editorial board of the Louisville Courier-Journal if she’d voted for Barack Obama. It was amateur hour as she squirmed, hemmed and hawed and ducked the question. This headless chicken reply was the worst of both possible worlds: she looked weaselly, and nobody believes that she didn’t vote for the President. Twice. It reminded me of when loudmouth bus driver Ralpha Kramden got tongue tied on the venerable Honeymooners teevee show:
I nearly called this post Homina, Homina, but decided to write about a Blue Dog who knows how to answer a question like that, Senator Mary Landrieu. The only way to reply in a place where the President is unpopular is something like this, “Yes but I put my state above my political party and will fight for you.” Now I realize that Obama is even more unpopular in Kentucky than in Louisiana (we have a very large African-American population, and they have lots of Boyd Crowders and Dewey Crowes) but Ms. Lundegran Grimes’ non-answer ain’t foolin’ anyone, especially when she called herself a “Clinton Democrat.” It reminded me when Bill attempted to parse the meaning of is…
The MSM is obsessed with certain Senate races this year: Kentucky, North Carolina, Colorado, Iowa and, more recently, Kansas, and haven’t written and/or broadcast as much about my home state campaign. I’ll try to fill in a few blanks without asking y’all to sharpen a number-2 pencil…
More about the state of the Gret Stet Senate race after the break.
Mary Landrieu is a wily political survivor. Time for a Ratherism: All of her races have been as tight as a tick. She won in a run-off in 1996 by a mere 5,788 votes. Her bible thumping far right opponent, Woody Jenkins, challenged the election and forced a Senatorial investigation. He was suspicious of votes from New Orleans, charging electoral fraud, you know THEM people, they always be stealin’ votes. In each of Landrieu’s races, her opponents have muttered darkly about the fact that votes from Orleans Parish are reported last. It happens every election, we’re not known for our efficiency, after all. New Orleans is also a blue island in a red sea. In Gret Stetwide politics, New Orleans is a code word for blacks, gays, and libruls…
The reason I recapped the 1996 election is to illustrate that Senator Landrieu is *always* in a close race, she was also pushed into a run-off in 2002. She knows how to run such a race and her people are well aware that turning out the African-American vote is the key. One thing that gives me pause is that she reshuffled her campaign’s leadership on October 8th, bringing in some old Landrieu hands. This could be a sign of panic but I’m not a fortune teller so I’ll let others do the tea leaf reading. I don’t even know where my life line is.
Landrieu has always benefitted from weak opponents and 2014 is no exception. Her main GOP foe is Congressman Bill Cassidy from Baton Rouge. His campaign has been so relentlessly negative that nobody knows what he’s FOR. I think that’s a big problem: a candidate needs to give voters a reason to be FOR them, not just agin’ their opponent. It’s one reason we did not elect our first robot President in 2012.
Dr. A and I recently paid a family visit to Red Stick and we drove up Highland Road, which is an oak tree lined street full of large houses and white Republican voters. We only saw one Cassidy for Senate sign and there were a slew of signs for GOP candidates vying to replace him. It’s anecdotal evidence, but it’s a sign of an utter lack of enthusiasm for the stiff, lifeless, and dull candidate.
The Koch Brothers, however, are rabidly pro-Cassidy and have been pouring dough into the state. All of the AFP ads are negative and the candidate is an after thought. Some of them are cookie-cutter commercials that will be very familiar to our readers in North Carolina, Colorado, and Arkansas. This recent ad is my personal favorite because it’s so ham-handed or is that ham-fisted?
It’s also unintentionally funny. I love the notion that it’s courageous for Cassidy to “stand up to Barack Obama” in the land of Jindal and Vitter. The mere acknowledgedment of the President’s humanity would be courageous for a Louisiana GOPer. Cassidy is not about courage: his candidacy is playing it safe all the way, no Les Milesian mad hattery for his campaign.
Back to the ad above, I call it the Bill Cassidy is the whitest of them all commercial. Those three harridans sound like the witches of East Texas to me, so perhaps they’re from North Louisiana.
As you can see, the Cassidy camp is counting on demography. It could be a wise bet but he’s a crappy and overly cautious candidate. There’s a teabagger named Rob Maness in the race and we know what he stands for. There’s clarity in his awfulness as opposed to the “I’m Dr. Bill Cassidy” shtick. Maness was willing to debate Landrieu this week but Cassidy was a no show, choosing to make only two joint appearances with the feisty incumbent and the tea party dude. Once again, Cassidy believes he’s in the lead and is trying to run out the clock. No fake punts or field goals for him, which means he won’t get a Les Miles clap even though the goofball LSU coach is a Republican. I’m hoping that team Cassidy’s clock management skills are as bad as Les’.
The polling of the race has been frustrating. There are too many Cassidy-Landrieu head-to-head match ups and not *enough* three way polls. That sounds a bit kinky but in the last 3 way (ooh, baby) poll Landrieu was in the lead with 42% to 34% for Cassidy, and Maness and undecided tied at 12%. I have a hunch that the 12% for the tea party dude think they’re voting for mayonnaise. She’s won twice in run-offs but both were in the pre-Katrina/Federal Flood era when Louisiana was the purple outlier in the Deep Red South. I used to be convinced that she’d be toast if pushed into a December run-off but I think a victory is possible if Democratic money floods into the Gret Stet. That will only happen if control of the Senate is still up for grabs, but nothing would surprise me this year.
I’ve written before of my frustrations with Mary Landrieu. I’m still not her biggest fan but I’ve moved back to my default position, which is that it’s better to have a pro-oil blue dog Democrat representing us than a Senator who will be a wholly owned subsidiary of the Koch Brothers. It’s not an inspiring choice but it’s mine.
Finally, my blogger buddy Lamar White was granted an exclusive interview with the Senator, which you can read by clicking here, ya hear. The title of Lamar’s post says it all, Sen. Landrieu: Koch Brothers have spent $7.5m in TV ads in Louisiana but “not more than a week here in their entire lives.”
I guess that makes them outside agitators. By the way , this isn’t the first time Mary Landrieu has been called the most endangered Democratic incumbent, it happens every election cycle.