Friday, 28 March 2014 17:50

Louisiana's Cassidy, Obama's Crimea: Words and actions have consequences

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cassidyThe Senate Race.  Republicans have mastered the art of shooting themselves in the foot and in the process losing elections.  Congressman Bill Cassidy, the Republican hopeful to defeat Senator Mary Landrieu (D), has taken the first step toward suicide by foot. 


According to published media reports, Rep. Cassidy made the following statement about those without health insurance, “the uninsured ‘are relatively less sophisticated, less comfortable with forms, less educated’.”  (The Times Picayune, March 28, 2014.)  The implication of his comment is that these folks will have a more difficult time signing up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act because they are not that smart.  Mr. Cassidy’s critics have jumped all over his statement. 

Now the facts of life are that the poor and less educated probably will have a harder time signing up for nearly free health care.  Since all of the publicity has been about signing up on the internet, those without internet service will have to hunt to find coverage, establish an email address, and maybe even obtain a credit card they do not currently have to pay for it.  But in a political campaign that makes no differences.  Taken in the pure words that were spoken, Mr. Cassidy sounds harsh and not very sympathetic or understanding to the uninsured.  By the time that a top notch media consultant gets finished with a television ad, a radio commercial, or even a direct mail piece, Mr. Cassidy will have a lot of explaining to do.  And explaining what you meant is never good.  It is far better to get it right the first time than on the third or fourth try.

 In political campaigns the number one objective of any candidate is to get the message out.  The number two objective is to not give your opponent fodder that can be used against you.  Republicans are notorious for giving their democratic opponents ammunition to use against them.  It happened in major races in Missouri, Indiana, and elsewhere.  To win a major race like Louisiana’s Senate race, candidates can ill afford to make dumb mistakes.  This one mistake is most likely not fatal, but it sure sparks a worry that republicans should be very concerned about.

 Crimea.  The world continues to fumble the ball as it tries to deal with the Russian invasion of Crimea.  The nations of Europe should be very concerned with the actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin who seems bent on restoring the old Soviet empire.   While the economy of Russian pales in the face of the U.S. economy, the United States seems to be moving quite slowly in imposing sanctions against the Russians.  Although military intervention by American troops is off the table as it should be, the United States as the economic power of the world should move quickly to tighten the noose around the Russian economy by cutting off trade and banking not only with Russia itself but also with the Russian elite and its billionaires who depend on the U.S. and Europe to shelter their assets outside their homeland.  It seems these assets are safer outside of Russia than in Russia itself which speaks volumes about the stability of the country, the government, and its financial institutions. 

If the United States is to continue as a world leader, President Obama must take every reasonable step possible to isolate Vladimir Putin from the rest of the world.  America’s handling of what is happening in Crimea and the Ukraine will send signals to our enemies all over the world.  I promise you that N. Korea, Syria, Iran, China, Russia herself, and our enemies in the Middle East are watching how we react to the invasion of Crimea.  And how we react will send one of two possible messages to them either that the United States is not someone to mess with or the U. S. is all hot air. 

Mr. Obama thought that if it played nice with our enemies they would like us.  Well, the actions by Mr. Putin paint a much different picture.  The free world has enemies who are not going to play nice with us or any of our allies no matter how hard we try to be reasonable and fair.  Playing nice won’t cut it.  The U.S. must stand tall and tough.  Through strength there is peace while weakness breeds chaos.



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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