That remark was one where Cassidy compared the Senate leadership of the chamber political head, Democrat Sen. Harry Reid, as overseeing a plantation – orders are given, and the party out of power has no input into any of them, which does violate the collegial norms of the Senate. It’s not a new or even controversial assessment, as political historians have noted that Reid runs the Senate in one of the most closed, iron-fisted fashions ever.
And the idea, proffered by both Reid himself and minor Republican Senate candidate Rob Maness that there’s something objectionable about the terminology Cassidy used – presumably because plantations in America historically used blacks first as slaves and then until only a few decades ago as virtually indentured servants – seems hardly credible. Former Sen. Hillary Clinton used just such an analogy to describe House of Representative’s Republican leadership in 2006 to an almost-exclusively black audience and was asked to apologize by GOP leaders.
That criticism made some sense, because of the audience involved, an outright spoken pandering to racial division intended to rile its members on that year’s Martin Luther King holiday. But Cassidy’s was in print to a general audience without any racial context whatsoever. Nevertheless, Cassidy’s provoked Reid to demand an apology (which he didn’t get).
That Reid showed the audacity to request such is itself a howler, given his consistent record of delivering racially insensitive remarks. The last publicized instance of exhibiting that attitude towards blacks came in 2010 with the revelation that he had said prior to the election of Pres. Barack Obama that Obama would fare well in his White House quest because of a lack of “Negro dialect” and his “light-skinned” appearance. But to show that the leopard doesn’t change his posts and is an equal opportunity lout, just last month he insulted (with lame jokes and to their faces) Las Vegas businessmen of Asian descent. Reid has zero credibility to lecture anybody about presumed racial insensitivities.
Of course, not a peep has been heard out of Landrieu on this matter – and wisely so, because to make any comment about a Cassidy who’s not backing down on this only invites him to tie her to the issue that in 2015 her first vote would be for Reid as Senate leader, and that Reid works hand-in-hand with the non-Negro-speaking and non-dark-skinned Obama to prevent changes to odious policy Landrieu helped them to shove down Louisiana’s throat, and Reid and Obama are only slightly more popular in Louisiana than is Nick Saban. Fortunately for her, she has surrogates outside and a useful idiot inside the contest to do her dirty work for her.
That would be Maness, who made common cause with Reid by making a similar apology request. One reason why Maness continues as a minor candidate is that he’s seen as unserious, as someone who’s bored in his retirement from the military and decided it would be a neat thing to be a senator, and it’s remarks like this that only fuel the impression that he’s a dilettante.
Maness hopped in bed with Reid, with Landrieu the approving voyeur, because one of the twin pillars of this campaign is that, despite Cassidy having a very conservative voting record in the House, that Cassidy isn’t conservative enough (the other critique being Cassidy, like Landrieu, is too Washington, D.C. politician, not Louisiana enough, even though Maness has hardly lived any time in Louisiana and worked for the federal government, completed now with generous pension, most of his adult life). But when Cassidy complains that Reid is such a dictator that government enslaves free people, this concisely captures a conservative brief against liberal Democrats like Reid and Landrieu – that they support oppressive big government at the expense of the liberty of the people.
Do not think that Maness (who once already used this gambit, last year) deigns to be upset over this in solidarity with ethnic studies departments everywhere in academia, but rather he feigns upset because it spoils his narrative about Cassidy not being conservative enough. The remark will make some conservatives who think Cassidy is too soft of a conservative to think again, not because they want to repeal the Civil War Amendments, but because this presents to them a Cassidy that is unafraid to tackle the totalitarian impulse in liberalism that has infected Democrats.
Because in this instance it's not about trying to demonstrate Landrieu's unsuitability for office but to tear down Cassidy instead, Maness fought back in the only way he knew how. Which to the attentive political right – the ones who will get asked who they recommend should be voted for by the much larger subset of voters who are inattentive of the Senate 71 out of every 72 months – only signals he is to be taken as seriously as the Al Sharptons of the world. Meaning this episode reaffirms that he isn’t Senate material and it will not affect Cassidy’s frontrunner status.