Since she was swept into office in the 1996 reelection of fellow Southern Democrat Bill Clinton, Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu has been playing the “moderate Democrat” game. She talks like a moderate back home, dodges big votes (e.g. card check) and votes with her liberal leadership on everything else that matters. She has gotten away with this largely because of weak opposition. However, her strategy has broken down in the Obama presidency as the White House and Senate Democrats have moved left.
She’s now racked up a record identical to liberals Sens. Barbara Boxer of California and Richard J. “Dick” Durbin of Illinois with regard to the first stimulus, Obamacare, the hugely irresponsible 2014 Senate budget, her refusal to repeal the Obamacare medical device tax (79 of her colleagues thought otherwise) and her rubber-stamping of Obama’s two liberal Supreme Court justice appointments and the appointment of the unqualified Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense. Overall, she has earned a 20.5 rating from the American Conservative Union; her Republican colleague Sen. David Vitter scored higher than 90.
On Wednesday — unlike moderate Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Kay Hagan of North Carolina and liberal Sen. Max Baucus of Montana — she voted for the background check amendment. Brad Dayspring, the communications director for the National Republican Senate Committee, remarked to me, “Mary Landrieu seems to have no concept of what the people in her state need, want and expect. She’s been in Washington too long, founding a D.C. chapter of the Landrieu dynasty rather than talking to people back at home. Landrieu’s lost touch.”
Certainly, that will be the argument in her reelection race. In a recent Louisiana poll “37 percent said they would definitely vote for her – nearly identical to the 34 percent who said they would definitely vote for someone. Fifty-six percent of respondents, including 74 percent of whites, said they were less likely to vote for Landrieu because of her support for President Obama’s health care reform.” If they want to flip the seat, Republicans will need a solid candidate who won’t self-destruct — as have too many contenders in what should have been easy pickup seats in recent years.