Yesterday, Mary Landrieu reported she had reeled in $1.2 million in the first quarter for her re-election campaign, a number which swelled her war chest to an impressive $3.4 million – about a million dollars more than her GOP challenger Rep. Bill Cassidy in next year’s U.S. Senate campaign.
But the Landrieu campaign also scored a coup of sorts when Donald “Boysie” Bollinger, the proprietor of Bollinger Shipyards and one of the state’s largest Republican donors, gave a quote for her press release on the cash haul.
And that quote was as good as gold for Landrieu…
“Any challenger to Sen. Landrieu will have a hard time building support as more and more prominent business leaders back her. People know that at the end of the day, Mary always fights for our state. For me and many Louisianians, that’s more important than anything,” Boysie Bollinger said.
Bollinger Shipyards has a lot of government contracts, of course, and Landrieu sits on both the Appropriations and Homeland Security committees. Bollinger doesn’t really have a choice but to donate to Mary; if he doesn’t, he loses some stroke on those committees which could cost him millions.
That quote, though, was pretty gratuitous.
So if you’re Cassidy, how do you respond? Play the elite card, of course, and remind people of how the inside Washington game works. Here was the e-mail the Cassidy campaign put out this morning…
We have witnessed the federal government creep deeper into our private lives with the passage of mandates in ObamaCare, the lack of mental health services harming our children as those with mental health issues are left untreated, and the lack of support for expanding our natural gas and oil production in Louisiana in favor of failed green energy subsidies.
Americans want a safe place to support their families, live their lives and raise their children. Are we on the right track? Do we want more government, more rules and more taxes?
We have tried and it has not worked. Government has expanded and it is too involved in health care, education and everyday life.
A week ago, Laura and I announced our decision to run for the U.S. Senate seat in 2014. We knew it would be difficult, running against a three-term incumbent Senator who has voted with Barack Obama 97 percent of the time.
There is an elite class that supports Mary across the political spectrum … but most of us are not in that elite class.
Here’s what one of the elites had to say:
Apparently some Republicans support Mary Landrieu despite her voting with Barack Obama 97 percent of the time. Since a majority of Louisianan’s believe the policies of the last four years have us headed in the wrong direction, I am running for Senate to give those voters a clear choice and a different direction for Louisiana and America.
Will you support our campaign right now and help us send a message to the Washington political class?
Bollinger has donated to Cassidy in the past, and he’ll probably donated to him this cycle. The vast majority of his checks have gone out to Republicans, though he makes sure to rain a little on Democrats he needs to keep happy on those key committees.
Which is what you do if you depend on government contracts for a big piece of your business. Washington works on a pay-to-play basis, and it always has.
Is Cassidy promising to end that? Not really. One Senator can’t end it anyway, and Cassidy’s going to need to raise $10-12 million, at least, to be at parity with Landrieu. That means he’s going to take just about anybody’s money. He has to, if he wants to win.
Republicans aren’t inherently morally superior to Democrats where this stuff is concerned, though in the Age of Obama it does appear the graft and corruption oozing out of the nearly $4 trillion in annual federal spending is unprecedented in how brazen and flagrant the players are.
What makes Republicans superior is that at least with a Republican there is (most of the time) some attention paid to the size and scope of the federal government. The only way to reduce the amount of graft and corruption in government is to reduce the amount of government.
Why? Because most people who get into politics are grifters and attention whores. You can make more money outside of elected office than inside of it, or at least you can make more honest money. All the elected officials whose net worth triples within four years of going to Washington, or who end up buying $2.2 million houses in DC on a government salary, aren’t exactly making honest money.
Folks who want to make honest money – and have the ability to do it – are appalled by that, so they generally don’t run.
And the thing is, you don’t want to give too much political power to grifters and attention whores. That’s why when Republicans attempt to limit the size of government, which is an effort to limit the amount of power grifters and attention whores, they deserve support.
From people whose livelihoods don’t depend on the government, that is. If you do depend on government, whether because you get a check on the 1st and 15th of the month or you get a government contract, then you support whoever you have to. That’s how it works in this country.