Should We Be Grateful That Cassidy Is A No On Ketanji Brown Jackson?

It seems like we’re down to a very basic, lowest-common-denominator set of expectations for Bill Cassidy and what decisions he’s making on our behalf in Washington.

You would have thought, for example, that when Cassidy voted against the constitutionality of a post-presidential impeachment of Donald Trump in January of 2021 it was a pretty good indication Cassidy – who ran his 2020 re-election campaign as the Trumpiest Trump who ever Trumped – was not going to vote for impeachment.

But then he did.

There is no real way to explain how you would take a position that something the government does is unconstitutional, and then turn around and support that unconstitutional thing. That’s basically a bright-line violation of your oath of office, which would be more than just an incoherent position which smacks of back-room dealing and corruption.

Cassidy’s conduct since then hasn’t helped him repair the destruction of his credibility, and a little more than a week ago a JMC Analytics statewide poll found his job approval badly underwater at 38-49. It was even worse, 36-52, among Republicans.

But the Jackson nomination for the Supreme Court seat coming open with Stephen Breyer’s retirement has emerged as a strange test of that credibility.

Given Jackson’s record as a below-average federal district judge who’s had her decisions overturned on appeal more often than not, her less than a year on the appellate bench, her bizarre pro-criminal record and specifically her solicitousness to child pornographers and pedophiles, not to mention her deep dive into the idiocy of Critical Race Theory, a vote against Ketanji Brown Jackson ought to be a no-brainer.

And yet the idiotic Baton Rouge Advocate, which seems to be simping for a potential Bill Cassidy gubernatorial run next year, spent two weeks in a campaign aspiring to encourage Cassidy to vote to confirm Jackson.

There was never much suspense about whether she would be confirmed. There are too many Stupid Party Republicans in the Senate to stop a Supreme Court nomination, and even if all 50 had stood strong the Democrats would still break the tie with Vice President Kamala Harris giving her the 51st vote. We didn’t even get that, since Mitt Romney, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins proved their worthlessness by announcing they’d support her. Murkowski is likely to be gone from the Senate in this fall’s election, though that isn’t set in stone. It’s almost inconceivable to think Romney would be re-elected in Utah in 2024. As for Collins, we’re stuck with her until the 2026 cycle, just like we are with Cassidy.

So you could make the argument that Cassidy had a free shot at a “yes” vote given that he wouldn’t be controlling the outcome.

But why would he want to?

This was the reasoning the Advocate offered a week or so ago…

In the meantime, many political insiders are keenly watching whether Cassidy will vote to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first Black female U.S. Supreme Court Justice. The Senate is expected to vote on her nomination in early April.

“The senator’s vote on Judge Jackson will be a signal to either the moderate voters he might be hoping to court or the hard-core right-wing voters that are currently upset with him,” said Eric Holl, a Democratic political consultant in Baton Rouge. “If he runs for governor, he wants moderate Democrats — White and Black — to be part of his coalition.”

One big donor who has encouraged Cassidy to run is Richard Lipsey, founder of Lipsey’s, a sporting goods and firearms distributor in Baton Rouge. Lipsey has mostly favored Republicans but has also supported Edwards, a Democrat.

Lipsey said Cassidy believes he could help move Louisiana forward as governor.

“He is considering it, but I don’t know if he’s decided,” Lipsey said. “If Bill would run, he will win. There’s nobody else out there at the moment who would draw from the middle and some from the right and left, like Bill Cassidy.”

That’s what passes for political analysis from The Advocate’s Tyler Bridges. He goes and talks to Holl, a John Bel Edwards flack who mostly spends his time spouting insults on Twitter, and Lipsey, who hasn’t been in touch with Republican voters since he followed Jay Dardenne into Edwards’ camp back in 2015. Somehow this was the basis for thinking Cassidy would vote to confirm Jackson?

Based on nothing. Based on wishful thinking from white Democrats who are starting to realize their irrelevance in Louisiana politics and are trying to find Stupid Party Republicans they can bamboozle into giving them a seat at the table.

Had Cassidy joined Murkowski, Collins and Romney that 36 percent approval number among Louisiana Republicans might have been cut in half. It would be the greatest gift to Billy Nungesser imaginable, because it would have cemented Nungesser as the moderate/RINO hopeful in the 2023 governor’s race.

Cassidy’s team is anything but the most politically savvy, but they’re nowhere near stupid enough to take advice from Eric Holl.

Another theory posited to us last night was that the Cassidy-for-Jackson talk was a ruse intended to lower expectations among Republican voters in Louisiana and thus make him look heroic for voting with his party among conservatives. We’re not persuaded by that one, because while our opinion of The Advocate couldn’t be any lower we’d struggle to believe even their editorial staff would buy into the idea it was sellable.

After all, the majority of Louisiana’s voters aren’t going to start liking Bill Cassidy because he voted with 46 other Republicans against a Supreme Court nomination that was a foregone conclusion. An old, vulgar-but-hilarious Chris Rock standup routine about demanding credit for performing basic duties comes to mind.

But what all of this hype surrounding an obvious decision even Bill Cassidy had no choice but to make clarifies is just how dishonest and dim some of the media and political class in this state really are.

Cassidy’s vote on Jackson is now going to be used to tell us how “severely” conservative he is.

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