Tuesday, 28 October 2014 10:46
Chehardy: Neither Landrieu nor Cassidy are evil, they just have different views
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landrieu-cassidy-manessThe race for Louisiana’s senior Senate seat is almost over.  After what seems like a lifetime of mudslinging by the candidates, voters will go to the polls and make a decision.  Will Senator Mary Landrieu (D) hold on to the seat she has held for eighteen years or will she be unseated by a Baton Rouge congressman, Bill Cassidy (R)?  A third candidate, Rob Maness (R), is playing the role of a spoiler to Bill Cassidy.  There are also a number of minor candidates who will get few votes.

 It is truly wrong that in such an important race voters know little positive about the candidates.  To the contrary, if you listen to the advertising, voters will be choosing between the devil and the devil.  Senator Landrieu has served in public office for a long time and voters should know more about her than her main opponent.  Congressman Cassidy has been around for some time too, but he is from Baton Rouge so most voters who are outside of Baton Rouge don’t know much about him.  Usually in a political campaign the candidates start out by introducing themselves and defining their positions before the opponent can define them.  In this race neither candidate did that.  It was crucial for Mr. Cassidy, the unknown, and important for Ms. Landrieu so that she would not be painted as an Obama puppet.  Instead from day one they each went for the other’s jugular and the result is that voters only know the negative about both of them and whatever good the public may have known has been forgotten.  And this shows up in the polling as both candidates are viewed negatively.  It is interesting to note that the Landrieu campaign is now running positive ads about the good things she says she has done for Louisiana.

Regrettably this election has come down to one and only one issue.  It is a referendum on President Obama (D) who is very unpopular in Louisiana.  The votes that Senator Landrieu cast supporting President Obama’s agenda have been the highlight of Congressman Cassidy’s negative campaign as well as the negative campaigns launched by various third party organizations.  Senator Landrieu has attacked Cassidy’s votes on social security, the border fence, and immigration.  Third party groups have joined in and tried to paint Congressman Cassidy as a right wing extremist who doesn’t like women or seniors.

Truth be told neither candidate is bad like their opponent makes them out to be.  Senator Landrieu does care about illegal immigration, and Congressman Cassidy does care about women’s issues and seniors.  Yes, the candidates are coming from two different views of the role of the federal government in our lives.  But neither candidate is evil.  They just have different political views.

According to the polls and the “experts,” this race will not conclude until a December 6th runoff between Landrieu and Cassidy meaning the dirt you have witnessed on television, on the radio, and in the mail will continue for another month.  And it may get worse.  Bucket loads of money will continue pouring into Louisiana as Democrats and Republicans continue their fight for control of the U.S. Senate.  One thing, however, is for certain.  The winner whether it be on November 4th or December 6th will not have a mandate from voters.  Louisiana like the rest of the country is divided politically, and it would serve our next Senator well if he or she recognizes that neither President Obama, the Senate leadership, nor the political party that he or she belongs to are always right and that holding out for what is best for the people of Louisiana is a better way to go than simply voting the party line.  Blind party loyalty sells Louisiana and America short. 

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Lawrence Chehardy

For thirty-four years Lawrence Chehardy served as Assessor of Jefferson Parish. He has been the leading authority on Louisiana’s property tax laws. In addition to his political commentary and public speaking engagements, Lawrence Chehardy is a founding member of the Chehardy, Sherman, Ellis, Murray, Recile, Griffith, Stakelum & Hayes Law Firm and serves as its managing partner.

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