If Republican Bill Cassidy emerges victorious in his bid to knock off Democratic incumbent US Senator Mary Landrieu, it could be said that the beginning of the end took place a few weeks ago at a downtown Baton Rouge bar.
For the GOP gathering at Huey’s marked both the coming together of both camps in the senate race and the various factions in the state Republican party at large and what would be the first of many visits by national figures and potential presidential candidates on behalf of Bill Cassidy, appearances that further “nationalized” Louisiana’s US Senate race to the detriment of Landrieu.
Rand Paul, who Time magazine proclaimed to be the most interesting man in politics, held center stage at the unity rally and his presence and blessing of Cassidy no doubt helped ease hardened Rob Maness supporters into drifting over to the Cassidy camp.
The junior senator from Kentucky’s visit was followed up by former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin- who had endorsed and campaigned for Maness in the primary, and Texas US Senator Ted Cruz, who like fellow TEA Party pol Paul, remained neutral in the first round.
Just last week Cassidy was joined at rallies by Texas governor Rick Perry (an early Cassidy supporter) and the GOP’s biggest “rock star”, Marco Rubio of Florida. Having also been accompanied at events by the GOP’s 2008 and 2012 presidential nominees in the primary, Cassidy could claim active support from practically every major figure in the Republican Party not named Bush.
The contrast in big name party support with the three-term Democratic senator could not be more glaring. To use a Mardi Gras analogy, Cassidy’s campaign would be Endymion and Landrieu’s would be the Jefferson City Buzzards.
Whether by her own choice or abandonment by others, the state’s senior senator has been marooned on a deserted island.
Worse yet, many of her southern Democratic colleagues that she could have showcased as her partners within the Democratic Party’s centrist wing were thrown out of office on November 4th. Trotting around the defeated Kay Hagan and Mark Pryor wouldn’t make for good optics.
Landrieu has the challenge of masking her association with her national party, which has an odious stench with a majority of the state’s electorate, while also trying to gain assistance from them to counter the Republican Party’s full investment in the race.
And it appears the Democrats aren’t even helping Landrieu from behind the scenes.
After the November shellacking at the polls nationally, the national Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee put out a facetious statement that the incumbent senator was “a proven runoff winner” and that they support her 100% while at the same time cancelling $1.8 million in ad buy reservations.
Considering the gulf between their words and their actions, the DSCC should have more appropriately utilized George McGovern’s “1000%” number to underscore how much they aren’t backing up Landrieu.
To add insult to injury, the DSCC put out an email asking people nationally to contribute $3 to help retain Landrieu’s important senate seat after having already announced they were pulling out. According to a seasoned national political operative, the Landrieu email had little to do with helping the Louisiana Democrat and all about prospecting for future donors for 2016 candidates.
In fact if you log on to the DSCC’s website, you will find a brief blurb about standing with Landrieu mixed in with a press release touting the new campaign chairman and another link promoting the advancement of gay marriage. Give in Landrieu’s name today so you can help somebody else in some other state tomorrow.
Even if dumping cash into Landrieu’s longshot re-election is the political equivalent of throwing good money after bad, you’d think she was owed a final $2 million in support.
Landrieu carried a lot of water for the Democratic Party nationally, including being the deciding vote on ObamaCare and toing a line far more to the left than where her constituents’ feet are philosophically planted. That her party has largely turned their back on a senator they were lucky to have ever had in the first place, let alone for 18 years, has to be demoralizing for her effort.
While Cassidy is drowning in an embarrassment of riches when it comes from party support, Landrieu is struggling to keep her nose above water as she feverishly swims away from the national Democratic brand while the national Democratic money sails away from her.