Wednesday, 19 November 2014 19:13

The Landrieu Keystone Pipeline Louisiana ugly election farce

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mcconnellThere are two ways to view what transpired in Louisiana and in Washington DC involving yesterday’s Keystone Pipeline XL debate.

Mary Landrieu did not win.

 The entire election debate episode was farcical.  Ugly.

The loss by one vote in the US Senate was clear evidence that US Senator Mary Landrieu tried but was inches shy of doing what many felt was the impossible—to pass highly controversial legislation in the US Senate during a lame duck session under the cloud of a Obama Presidential veto.

Had Landrieu won yesterday in the Senate, the victory would have helped her campaign which has been all been abandoned by her party.  Yesterday, the Democratic Party twisted the knife further, for extra measure, into the three-term US Senator’s back. 

Would a Landrieu victory have made a major difference in the race in which her opponent Congressman Bill Cassidy has what appears to be a significant lead with now only a few weeks to go?

I doubt it. 

Landrieu needs to get her base out to vote and right now they are sleeping.  By comparison, her opposition is on a mission to defeat her.  They don’t care who replaces her--they, with a hot passion, simply want her gone.

There is another point to be made about the Keystone farce.  Bill Cassidy won the battle by default.

And his party is winning in an ugly farce.

After the vote, future Senate Majority Leader Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell took to the floor and essentially crowed that the vote would come up next year under his auspices with a republican majority.  He then thanked the other author of the bill for his effort Sen. John Hooven who championed the cause and who will do so next year.  However, McConnell never mentioned Landrieu, who was the driving force behind the legislation on Tuesday and this week in resurrecting the legislation from the congressional dead.  Keystone never would have seen the light of day in the House or the Senate had Landrieu not made the effort.

Sure, the process was made possible due to her Louisiana US Senate contest in which she has taken a daily beating on the issue of not being able to deliver.  And while getting one vote shy is a victory in spirit, in high-stakes politics, it is a brutal defeat.

But, then the LAGOP went into action with this e-missive:

After months of inaction, Sen. Mary Landrieu finally got around to acting on a bill to build the Keystone Pipeline, but failed to muster the votes necessary to build the pipeline. Landrieu went all in on Keystone in a desperate bid to save her Senate career, but her clout came up empty yet again on an issue critical to energy jobs in Louisiana.

Senator Landrieu desperately launched this Hail Mary attempt only to have her own team bat it down.

“Dr. Cassidy kept his promise to the people of Louisiana for a ninth time, but yet again Sen. Landrieu failed to do the same,” LAGOPChairman Roger Villere said. “Once again it is clear that Senator Landrieu’s clout is nothing more than a talking point from her increasingly lost re-election campaign.” 

What a joke!  Not to take anything away from Cassidy’s abilities or his effort, passing the legislation in a substantial republican House majority that favors Keystone was a no-brainer.  The legislation passed by a margin of 252-161.  Even President Obama, who is virtually unwelcomed in the House of Representatives, could have passed Keystone in the House.  On a bad day.

The US Senate, on the other hand, is a totally different animal.

For one, the Senate Majority Leader never even allowed a vote.  While the democrats have a majority, they are far from thrilled with Keystone.

Selling ice to Canadians would be easier than convincing Democrats to vote for a pipeline they think is going to produce more filth onto the environment while creating few jobs and jacking up prices.

Not an easy sell and if anything--far from.

It would have been decent for both McConnell and the Louisiana GOP to temporarily put politics aside and give  a little bit of credit to their opposition for her effort especially since passing Keystone has been a major party campaign objective and has wide support in the state.  

Instead, they put partisanship first which makes one wonder whether winning Keystone vote was more important that embarrassing Landrieu and winning the PR war.

Aside from the bad manners, Mary Landrieu must know that the sun is setting on her campaign and on her term in the US Senate.

It has been a good soldier. She has proven to be a fighter.

Unfortunately for her, she made key votes that have gone against the core  fibers of those people who are most likely to vote in elections.  Her base is lethargic by comparison.  Democrats are not welcome in Louisiana politics.  The powers of Russell Long, John Breaux and Kathleen Blanco and others are in quick decline.

President Barack Obama’s presence in the White House has been the strongest catalyst and change agent to fast-forwardngi the party’s demise.  Under his administration, the state and the South has gone from purple to deep red and is unlikely to change any time soon.

For now, her main hopes, since she is short on money, TV time and momentum, is to tell the world and the Louisiana voters what and how she has delivered and what the risks might be if she no longer is in the US Senate.

However, as things stand now, winning Keystone in the US Senate seems like a cakewalk compared to the long walk she will be making to the election finish line come Election Day.


And Senate Democrats -- who, again, have abandoned her financially -- have now abandoned her in spirit too. The vote wasn't just meaningless because Republicans will pass the bill come next year; it was also meaningless because the White House has basically said it would veto the bill, as the State Department is still reviewing the project.

And despite all of it -- despite the whole dog-and-pony show of the past week -- Democrats couldn't even give Landrieu enough votes to breathe a little life (hypothetically, at least) into her long-shot campaign.

Bloomberg declared last week that Democrats had left "a body on the campaign trail."

On Tuesday, with Landrieu's assistance, they metaphorically ran over the body with a truck.

Despite his sponsoring the House version of the Keystone a bill that died in the Senate Tuesday night, there is perhaps no bigger winner from the legislation’s defeat than Louisiana GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy.

And there is likely no bigger loser than the state’s Sen.Mary Landrieu, the Democrat who is on the defensive as she heads to a Dec. 6 runoff election against Cassidy.

Keystone Pipeline Fails to Get Through Senate

Landrieu spent the first two weeks after Election Day cobbling together a coalition to pass a bill authorizing the pipeline. But thatfell one vote shortof a filibuster-proof majority late Tuesday.

By Wednesday morning, her campaign had announced new events that focus more specifically on Louisiana voters.

On Saturday, Democratic leaders from Louisiana and some members of Congress, including Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), and Louisiana Democratic Party Chairwoman Karen Carter Peterson will headline “Meet Me At the Polls” events across the state aimed at turning out early Democratic voters in the final Senate race of the 2014 midterms.

Booker voted against the pipeline on Tuesday.

“We will never stop fighting to raise the minimum wage, ensure we have quality schools for our children, or provide affordable healthcare to all working families,” Landrieu said in a statement. “This weekend, thousands of Louisianians will join our campaign by voting early and, together, we will continue to fight so every Louisiana family has the opportunity to build a prosperous future.”

In addition, musician Stevie Wonder, whom the Landrieu campaign calls a “longtime friend and supporter,” will headline a fundraiser for the Louisiana Democrat on Dec. 1 in New Orleans. Landrieu and Cassidy are scheduled to have their only debate of the runoff cycle on that day.

These events are a marked shift in Landrieu’s focus from the high-stakes Keystone gambit that took up the bulk of her time during the critical first two weeks of the runoff.

In contrast, support from national conservatives helped Cassidy split his time between Keystone and Louisiana campaigning.

New York Times: Louisiana Senate Seat Is Real Reward in Keystone Pipeline Vote
By Coral Davenport and Ashley Parker, November 18, 2014

Throughout Ms.Landrieu’s career in the Senate, she has pushed Mr. Reid to help her advance bills — including those to increase offshore drilling — that she could promote back home to Louisiana’s oil industry. While many liberals chafed at such votes, Mr. Reid nonetheless held them in hopes of keeping the Louisiana Senate seat in Democratic hands.

“She wasn’t afraid to barge in there and ask for what she wanted, even when it gummed up the works,” said Mr. Reid’s former communications director, Jim Manley. “And Senator Reid was interested in helping the senator from Louisiana point to accomplishments at home.” 

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