More Back-And-Forth In The Landry-Boustany Fight

In a few previous posts, we talked about some of the attacks leveled by the Charles Boustany camp against Jeff Landry, the other incumbent in the redrawn battleground 3rd District congressional race.

But in this one, it’s Landry’s camp who seems on the attack. Boustany’s people would say that Landry’s recent fusillade should get the same lousy reviews we gave to his earlier shots on taxes and Congressional strategy on lame-duck sessions.

The latest is a Landry TV ad which is absolutely brutal, in that it accuses Boustany of supporting “death panels” and being for “80 percent” of Obamacare. Boustany is screaming at the local stations to pull the ad off the air. But KATC told him no, and ran a piece defending that decision…

The thing is, the guts of the Landry ad came from a USA Today piece which is a little tough to run from…

One of the most heated flash points in this year’s health care debate — permitting Medicare to pay for end-of-life counseling — started out as a rare example of congressional bipartisanship.

The measure, contained in a House bill to overhaul health care, has been criticized by former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, a Republican, and others as laying the groundwork for a “death panel” that would push frail Americans into early graves. However, the provision had been a separate bill with Democratic and Republican support as recently as a few months ago.

Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., a heart surgeon and a co-sponsor of the counseling bill, says the legislation is aimed at promoting important discussions between doctors and their patients about critical end-of-life issues, such as having a living will. He says those discussions are a “good medical practice,” and doctors who spend time counseling their patients about their wishes should be reimbursed through the Medicare system, as the legislation allows.

Now, Boustany says proponents may have to “back off” and reconsider the issue “at some point when the temperature had cooled down.”

“Frankly, this thing got really out of hand,” he says.

And a bit more…

Boustany says several provisions added to the House health care bill have given some of his colleagues “heartburn.” Among them: a provision allowing doctors to refer patients to legal service organizations. In the three states that allow physician-assisted suicide, those groups often refer people to doctors or practices willing to provide that service, Boustany says, and “that’s alarming.” The states are: Oregon, Washington and Montana.

“We have to make sure we’re thinking through all the consequences of the language we’re writing,” he said.

Still, Boustany says health care changes should include reimbursement for doctors to counsel patients. He says he’s been in many situations where a critically ill patient hasn’t made his wishes clear, and family members are divided over what kind of medical treatment should be provided. “This happens every day, multiple times, in hospitals across the country,” he says. “It’s a very important issue.”

It’s not that Boustany’s position is necessarily unreasonable. There probably does need to be some sort of legal regime that handles those decisions.

One could make the argument that legal regime is best handled at the state level rather than the federal, though.

Landry’s shot at Boustany isn’t all that nuanced, though. He did an end-of-life counseling bill, and that legislation was largely consistent with the death-panel provision in Obamacare – though perhaps not identical.

The ad isn’t overly specific. It’s a hand grenade rather than a rifle shot, and as such its accuracy isn’t really even intended to be all that precise. Boustany’s playing with the death panel/end-of-life stuff, and as such he’s Obamacare-friendly. That’s good enough for campaign work.

If you’re Boustany’s camp, you’re going to call BS on that. He didn’t vote for Obamacare, after all. So he ought to be able to escape damage from it. And you’re going to say this is an example of how Landry lies – and Boustany’s camp has built an entire website on just such a subject.

And on that site is a rather stirring defense of Boustany’s record where this is concerned…

Jeff Landry’s recent attack on the 100% pro-life record of Charles Boustany shows the dark depths he’ll reach to during this election and exposes just how little he knows about health care.

As a successful heart surgeon, Dr. Charles Boustany experienced firsthand the emotional decisions families and patients face when confronted with serious illnesses.That’s why Dr. Boustany worked on legislation to help doctors discuss health care options with seriously ill patients and to ensure patients’ decisions are honored, including those who want the most aggressive treatments available. The bill does not have death panels, bureaucrats or lawyers making the health care decisions for patients.

Unfortunately, too often, patients and their families are not informed of their full range of health care options and doctors and hospitals are being sued by trial lawyers, like Jeff Landry and his cronies, who take advantage of a patient’s or family’s emotions.

Trial lawyer turned slick Washington politician Jeff Landry needs to look at the facts. In order to pass Obamacare, Nancy Pelosi and President Obama came up with a radical idea to give money to groups that promote physician-assisted suicide and included provisions commonly cited as creating death panels.

Dr. Boustany led the fight to ensure the death panel language and these extreme ideas were excluded from Obamacare.  Dr. Boustany succeeded in fighting against death panels and for the pro-life position. In the end, no death panel provision was included in the 2010 health law due to these efforts. As a heart surgeon who saved lives, Dr. Boustany’s position has always been clear: taxpayers should not be forced to support physician-assisted suicide.

During the debate on Obamacare, Dr. Boustany led the fight to protect life and stop death panels. He rallied opposition to death panels in the Congress with letters expressing concerns about language permitting taxpayer funding for groups supporting physician-assisted suicide.  Working with national pro-life organizations, Dr. Boustany offered an amendment before the House Rules Committee to prevent money going to organizations and groups facilitating assisted suicide.

In addition, Dr. Boustany is a leader in the House GOP Doctors’ Caucus.  He has fought to repeal President Obama’s Independent Payment Advisory Board, the bureaucratic board of unaccountable and unelected advisors would force health care spending cuts on seniors and endangering vital health care access. The National Right to Life Committee endorsed Dr. Boustany’s candidacy. This assault on the 100% pro-life record of Dr. Charles Boustany by trial lawyer Jeff Landry is another of his outrageous lies to South Louisiana and exposes his reckless disregard for the truth.

Score this one for the Doctor, though if you’re Landry and you’re in a slugfest you might as well fire the “death panel” bullet and see if the other guy can trip over himself trying to avoid it.

But another attack on Boustany which is being attributed to Landry, and which Boustany’s “Landry Lies” site is going kookoobananas over, looks like a mess for both sides, at least to some extent.

The upshot is that FreedomWorks, the Tea Party-oriented libertarian conservative outfit out of DC which has endorsed Landry, printed up a campaign pamphlet assailing Boustany as a faux conservative.

Most of the pamphlet contained some valid hits on the Congressman’s record. But not all of it did…

Landry’s campaign is doing its best to sidestep Pamphletgate, though Phil Joffrion, the campaign manager, gave a very smooth response when the Lafayette Daily Advertiser asked about it…

In an email to The Daily Advertiser, Landry’s campaign manager, Phillip Joffrion, said the official campaign is legally prohibited from coordinating with outside groups like FreedomWorks, but that he appreciates “the support of all groups who want to end Obamacare and stop tax increases.”

FreedomWorks, by the way, is also trying to downplay the issue. Ryan Hecker, the group’s chief operating officer, said the offending literature only had a couple of small mistakes and that now they’ve made the corrections they’ll be putting out “tens of thousands” of copies of the new-and-improved attack pieces…

“This is a guy who is making a side issue out of two typos in a pamphlet that’s overwhelmingly about his record,” Hecker said Wednesday. “He’s obviously refusing to debate his opponent Jeff Landry because he’s noticing a sizable shift in support toward Landry. He’s trying to attack FreedomWorks as a way of avoiding addressing Landry’s questions about Boustany’s moderate voting record.”

FreedomWorks doesn’t mind Boustany attacking it. FreedomWorks is in the 3rd District trying to get Landry elected; they don’t care about being the heavy here.

And Boustany seems to be making a mess of sorts. After all, he’s throwing FreedomWorks out as having somehow ruined a planned debate at ULL, though nobody seems to understand the connection between the two – and he’s doubling down on that line of reasoning where Pamphletgate is concerned. From the site Boustany’s camp put together…

Ryan Hecker – speaking from FreedomWorks’ offices in DC – tried to downplay this serious breach in trust by claimingabortion and taxes are “side issues.”Clearly the inside-the-Beltway Jeff Landry-FreedomWorks campaign is completely out of touch with South Louisiana values. We know the sanctity of life and implementing a fairer tax code are two of the foremost issues. To make matters worse, Joyce Linde, a paid Jeff Landry-FreedomWorks campaign operative, saysthe two FULL PAGE, 16 BULLET POINT misrepresentations of Dr. Boustany’s record are merely “typos.”How dumb do they think we are?

Since we know by now the Jeff Landry-FreedomWorks campaign nowadays is spewing more lies than truth, we also weren’t surprised to hear them lying to cover their tracks on how many of these pamphlets got out.

Joyce Linde says they gave out less than 100, and only at the Festival Acadiens in Lafayette this Sunday. Yet, like we wrote previously, we picked up ours at the New Iberia Gumbo Cookoff, and we know that the Jeff Landry-FreedomWorks operation has spent nearly $300,000 on this propaganda already. It doesn’t help Landry’s case when Washington-based FreedomWorks operative Ryan Hecker brags they will reprint “tens of thousands” of the pamphlets to pollute South Louisiana with before November 6. Tough luck Jeff, but nice try.

It’s time for the never-ending lies by the Jeff Landry-FreedomWorks campaign to end. Jeff Landry and his buddies, like DC insider FreedomWorks, will do and say anything for political gain – even if it means blatantly lying to the people of South Louisiana. Louisiana doesn’t need another good ole boy, self-serving, say-anything politician.

And John Porter, Boustany’s campaign manager, popped out a letter to Landry demanding that he denounce FreedomWorks and ask them to fire Joyce Linde and Hecker and whoever else they can think of…

The letter seems a bit over the top, no?

After such a big donnybrook over the pamphlets, we wish we had one. They sound like juicy reading. See how that works? Nobody cared about them before, and now they’re a big deal. Maybe even a collector’s item.

And FreedomWorks, which outside of the Tea Party crowd probably was an unknown entity in the 3rd District, is now a prominent bunch there which might play a factor in trying to beat Boustany two years from now if they can’t do it this year.

The initial complaint which led to the pamphlets being pulled was a win for Boustany and a black eye – if unfairly so – for Landry. His campaign might not have had anything to do with producing that literature, but when people who are on your side do something stupid it does make you look bad.

But Boustany’s over-the-top reaction to it, and perpetuating the issue as an example of a lie Landry tells, when he’s not the one telling it, is a face plant just as bad as FreedomWorks’ initial mistake.

It might have been better to say the pamphlets were mistakes rather than lies. By doing that, Boustany’s campaign could have painted FreedomWorks as a bunch of goofballs who can’t even read a congressional record and don’t have a clue what they’re talking about – and that way discrediting them. Calling them liars instead of fools adds a level of vitriol which strains your credibility and your likability.

It’s the same mistake the Obama campaign is making by calling Mitt Romney a liar.

But with the Boustany-Landry race, before this is done “liar” might be one of the nicer things the candidates say about each other.

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