The Huffington Post has the story of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) expressing “concern” about President Obama’s caving in to Republican leaders on the Bush tax cuts today – and her language is bound to generate a bit of a buzz…
Extending the tax cuts for those making more than a million dollars a year is borderline immoral, Landrieu charged. “I’m going to argue forcefully for the nonsensicalness and the almost, you know, moral corruptness of that particular policy,” said Landrieu, walking into a meeting with Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Democrats. “This is beyond politics. This is about justice and doing what’s right.”
Landrieu was fuming about the deal. On her way into the meeting, she slammed the tax-cut extension as a needless giveaway, adding, “That’s all I have to say.” But it wasn’t. She emerged from the meeting a few moments later to continue prosecuting her case to reporters.
“It’s what I’m calling the Obama-McConnell plan. We’re going to borrow $46 billion from the poor, from the middle class, from businesses of all sizes basically to give a tax cut to families in America today, that despite the recession, are making over a million dollars. I mean, this is unprecedented. Unprecedented. I want to repeat that,” she said. Landrieu added, however, that she had yet to make a decision on the final package and was speaking strictly about the extension of tax cuts for the wealthy.
Landrieu put the tax cuts in the context of the poverty and joblessness facing African Americans across the country. “The median net worth of African-American families — net worth, not income — in this country today, according to our census, is $5,000. You want me to repeat that? $5,000. So we are borrowing money from constituencies, and large segments of the population like this,” said Landrieu. “I want you all to get your heads around this.”
Putting the economic illiteracy of Landrieu’s statements aside, it seems difficult to square her hard-left rhetoric with her attempts to craft an image as a “conservative” Democrat over the years.
But there’s more…
Obama had allies in the Senate who would have fought the extension of the tax cuts, Landrieu said, if only he had relied on them. “Why the president didn’t think there were forty or fifty or sixty of us to defend him on this principle, I don’t know, but he basically didn’t think anybody of us cared much about it. Well, I want him to know I do care.”
If Landrieu is an example of what the post-2010 Democrat Party on the Hill will be, it looks like last month’s elections was only the beginning of the electoral doom for the Dems. Rumors persist that Landrieu has decided not to run for re-election in 2014; certainly, statements like those she made today won’t likely play well with the statewide electorate in Louisiana outside of her brother’s constituents in Orleans Parish.
As an aside, the credibility of Landrieu’s rhetoric and the strength of her convictions has long been an issue – as her meek retreat from the hold she placed on Obama OMB director Jacob Lew’s nomination as a protest of the administration’s offshore drilling moratorium showed. It will be interesting to see whether she follows through on that rhetoric and actually votes to filibuster the “Obama/McConnell” deal.
But the Senator’s bombast today serves as yet another indication that Democrats have learned nothing at all from the carnage of the 2010 elections; voters turned them out in historic numbers on the issues of smaller government and more economic freedom, and yet they are still so wedded to class warfare that nothing else holds their attention.
If Landrieu is what passes for a “centrist” inside the Beltway, it’s clear more housecleaning is sorely needed.