U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon, who trails badly in his attempt to unseat David Vitter in this fall’s U.S. Senate race, found himself up against the business end of a big stick from the National Republican Senatorial Committee today – and it was a bad beating for the Napoleonville Democrat.
While political attacks are a dime a dozen in America today, normally they don’t break the skin. This one hit home a little more than usual, as it clobbered Melancon for his vote in favor of the ill-fated Obama stimulus bill last year.
“One year after Charlie Melancon voted for the massive $819.5 billion stimulus bill, Louisiana’s unemployment rate has soared from 5.1 percent to 7.5 percent,” said the broadside courtesy of NRSC press secretary Amber Wilkerson Marchand. “Are these the kinds of results that Melancon was ‘proud to support?’ Where are the ‘estimated 50,000 jobs’ that Melancon promised this costly bill would ‘create or save’ in Louisiana?”
The rhetoric was pretty rough, but the NRSC release then went below the belt – by quoting Melancon’s press release from Feb. 13 of last year…
“‘Today, we are facing an economic crisis more serious than any since the Great Depression,’ said Rep. Melancon. ‘Last month alone, almost 600,000 Americans lost their jobs and unemployment in Louisiana has risen to 5.9%. With so many people hurting, we can’t afford to sit back and wait for the perfect solution to come along. We must take bold action now to stop the downward spiral. . . . This plan, while far from perfect, will create or save an estimated 50,000 jobs in Louisiana, invest over $538 million in infrastructure projects for our state, and lay a foundation for long-term growth for our country through innovation and education.”
That 11-month old statement looks even worse in light of Melancon’s remarks following President Barack Obama’s State Of The Union address last night:
“Despite our differences, the Louisiana delegation has always come together to fight for the best interests of our state. Leaders like John Breaux, Billy Tauzin, and Dave Treen have worked across the aisle often made tough choices to forge consensus. They didn’t always get everything they wanted, but they found common ground and made progress for Louisiana.
“Tonight, the President challenged Congress to take that same bipartisan approach to move our country forward. Louisianians want good ideas for creating jobs and growing businesses, and it doesn’t matter if they come from a Republican or a Democrat. Congress needs to break this partisan gridlock and move forward with commonsense solutions that work for America.
“As a fiscal conservative, I welcome the President’s announcement that he will work to make our entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare fiscally sustainable for future generations. Louisianians are worried about out-of-control government spending, and the fiscal commission will find ways to cut the waste while protecting our priorities, as we work together to reverse a decade of run-away deficits.”
Those quotes just scream to be used against Melancon in a 30-second spot.
Melancon seems to be keeping a rather low profile lately, and it’s not a surprise – he’s been so all over the place with his rhetoric and his votes have been so divorced from his preferred image as a “Blue Dog” centrist that he can’t win the argument for losing. But with a 20-point deficit to Vitter, a deficit that proves John Maginnis’ maxim that “It’s going to take more than one sex scandal to bring down a Louisiana politician,” Melancon is going to need to find a way to get himself in front of the public in a way that doesn’t diminish his stature.
Increasingly, it seems like he doesn’t have much to work with.