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No debate over LAGOP's chutzpah and Cassidy's silence
Written by  // Wednesday, 08 October 2014 15:39 //

 politics-money-speakChutzpah.

The debate over the Louisiana US Senate race debates, or lack of them, or no shows continues.  So, does the political chutzpah.

 

For weeks, Louisiana US Senate candidate Bill Cassidy has dodged debates resulting in his two main rivals and the media  almost daily making public statements criticizing the Republican Congressman for not facing the public in the routine high-stakes winner-takes-all election ceremony.

Six years ago, Mary Landrieu had a significant lead over Republican Louisiana Treasurer John Kennedy and the latter complained that Landrieu was not participating in sufficient debates.  Back then, I openly agreed with the Treasurer on that issue.

Fast-forward to 2014.

According to the preponderance of recent polls, Congressman Bill Cassidy leads the US Senate race, now with less than one month to go until the Jungle primary.

In my view, Mary Landrieu is trailing anywhere from 3  to 6 points behind.  Tea Party candidate Rob Maness, has done remarkably well, might be able to beat Landrieu head-to-head but first must make it into the runoffs, thus, besting Cassidy.

Cassidy has received the brunt of the Landrieu and Maness scorn for not “manning up” as one local columnist described the leading republican’s  refusal to show off his debate skills.

Today, the Landrieu campaign continued the Cassidy-won’t-debate drumbeat with another e-blast about tomorrow October 8 television debate in New Orleans.   Cassidy has only committed to two TV debates and has otherwise been AWOL  on the debate and forum trail.

This morning, coming somewhere from the “world of audacity”, the Louisiana Republican Party suddenly entered the game.

The LAGOP Party, who decided to support Cassidy over fellow republican Colonel Maness, sent out an email with its interesting if not oblique stab at Landrieu.

LAGOP:Let Senegal Debate

The Republican Party of Louisiana today called on the state’s television broadcasters to extend an invitation to participate in all future Senate debates to Democrat U.S. Senate Candidate Val Senegal.

Earlier this week, Senegal asked Louisiana media outlets to be included in debates.

“Mary Landrieu has pushed hard to have two Republicans invited to debates, so it’s only fair for her to accept having two Democrats as part of the debates,” LAGOP Chairman Roger Villere said. “Ms. Senegal would bring a different perspective to the debates, and if she wants to be a part of the discussion over Senator Landrieu’s track record and the future leadership of the state, she should have the opportunity to do so.”

Sounds somewhat reasonable, don’t you think?

But, given the Cassidy daily dodge and the opponents’ almost-thrice daily taunt that seems to be going nowhere, I emailed the GOP Exec. Director, Jason Dore, with the following:

Jason,

Thanks.  I agree.  

Does this also mean that the LaGOP is also going to publicly urge Bill Cassidy to debate all scheduled debates-- including the one tomorrow?

Thanks,

Steve

Not knowing if I would hear from Dore but believing more voices should be heard, I then asked the Landrieu and Maness campaigns to respond to the GOP curious press statement.

In short, my e-letters to the Landrieu and Maness campaigns noted that I had asked the GOP if it was also going to ask Cassidy to debate and also said:  

Hi.

I received an email from the LaGOP urging the TV stations to include the other democrat candidate Senegal for the debates.  Specifically, Roger Villere called upon Mary Landrieu to also urge them (the stations) to allow Senegal to be include in the debate.

I personally think that makes sense although obviously, the decision is up to the sponsor (TV station, I would assume).

The GOP email press release said, "The Republican Party of Louisiana today called on the state’s television broadcasters to extend an invitation to participate in all future Senate debates to Democrat U.S. Senate Candidate Val Senegal.

Earlier this week, Senegal asked Louisiana media outlets to be included in debates.

“Mary Landrieu has pushed hard to have two Republicans invited to debates, so it’s only fair for her to accept having two Democrats as part of the debates,” LAGOP Chairman Roger Villere said. “Ms. Senegal would bring a different perspective to the debates, and if she wants to be a part of the discussion over Senator Landrieu’s track record and the future leadership of the state, she should have the opportunity to do so.” 

I did send Jason Dore an email saying:

"Jason,

Thanks.  I agree.  

Does this also mean that the LaGOP is also going to publicly urge Bill Cassidy to debate all scheduled debates-- including the one tomorrow?

Thanks,"

Nonetheless, I assume you have received the LaGOP email and if so, have you responded and if not, would Col. Maness have any response, one way or another, to the LAGOP press release and statement?

I am publishing an article about this as soon as possible.  I hope to get the LaGOP reply.

Unfortunately, despite suitable notice and requests, I received no response from the LAGOP.

Nor did I receive a direct response to my email from the Landrieu campaign.

I did, receive the following e-blast from the Landrieu campaign (which presumably it sent to all relevant media):

The Landrieu campaign e-blast started with :

Tomorrow, Senator MaryLandrieuwill face off against Republican candidate Colonel Rob Maness at the first Senate debate of the cycle and — despite calls fromSenatorLandrieuand Colonel Maness,voters, andthe media— Congressman Bill Cassidy will still not be in attendance. Congressman Cassidy and his campaign insist that he will not be attending the debate because he is busy “meeting voters.”

So voters today are asking the obvious question, where exactly will Congressman Cassidy be campaigning during the debate?

“Every time Congressman Cassidy is asked about his campaign schedule, it’s like a scene out of the movie ‘Clueless’ — all we hear are a lot of ‘uhmms’ and it sounds like he’s a child in class just called on without any idea what the answer is,” said Fabien Levy, Communications Director for theLandrieucampaign. “Well, Congressman Cassidy has had more than two months to study for this question, so we’re all just curious what his conflict duringtomorrow night’s debate will be?”

I did receive the responsive comment from the Colonel Rob Maness campaign:

Jon Meadows, press secretary for Rob Maness, “As someone who has accepted more than 20 invitations to participate in debates and forums throughout Louisiana, Rob Maness believes that voters in Louisiana have a right to hear from candidates who are willing to show up and be heard.  That said, it’s a little awkward for the LAGOP to be pushing for candidate inclusion when their hand-selected candidate, Congressman Cassidy, is turning down debate invitations left-and-right."

Meadows calls the LAGOP jab at Landrieu—“awkward”.

Given Cassidy’s refusals to participate in the debates and the GOP’s obvious and cynical ploy to turn the PR tables upon Landrieu, I call the LAGOP’s foray, not awkward, but Chutzpah.

And yes, whether the GOP really believes what they are advocating, I agree Senegal should participate and Landrieu and Maness should join them in opening up the democratic process.  It would be equally compelling if Cassidy would attend these same and as many debates considering presumably he wants to be “part of the discussion over Senator Landrieu’s track record and the future leadership of the state”.

If the LAGOP was really sincere about participatory democracy, it would join the chorus and urge Cassidy's participation in as many forums and debates as possible.  Winning and power is important but short-lived.  The loss of credibility is never forgotten.

More so, the future of Louisiana and of our country is much too important for anyone of any party to be chosen based upon their political ads and the millions of dollars of outside money pouring into the state from all sides of the political spectrum.  Those tens of millions from outside contributors do not vote for our elected officials.  We do.  Yet, in this perverted political powerplay new normal, the outside unlimited pockets have more to say to us about our own candidates than our candidates have to say about themselves, to us.  It is even worse and more troubling when the candidates are mute, fearful of being directly challenged.

So, before ayn candidate wants me to believe their TV ad spin with “I’m with you”, smile, I say prove it.  Show me the whites of your eyes, not while taping a “paid-for”  snazzy TV spot but under the hot lights of scrutiny, discussing the issues and publically defending your positions, especially when challenged by your opponents and others?

And, before any political organization surrogate casts stones for pure political advantages, just maybe it might want to check to see if its credibilities and its chutzpahs are showing.   


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