Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sen. Landrieu’s Gun Vote Shouldn’t Hurt Much; Ties To Obama Could

Many pundits have criticized Senator Mary Landrieu’s recent vote to expand background checks and called it a “kiss of death” in The Sportsman’s Paradise.

The Senate voted 54-46 in favor of expanding background checks to internet and gun show sales but they needed 60 votes for passage.
Landrieu called the bill a “hard-fought, but balanced approach that would reduce gun violence and make it much harder for criminals and mentally ill individuals to access guns.’’

“Currently, guns can be purchased online and at gun shows without any background check whatsoever, leaving a gaping hole in our gun protection system,’’ she said.
While many Americans support expanding background checks, Louisiana voters are overwhelmingly against any new Federal gun control measures and there has been no data to support Senator Landrieu’s assertion that criminals buy guns on the internet or at gun shows and would thus be thwarted by a background check.

The concept of a criminal producing a valid id to make a gun purchase is completely unrealistic to most people, except our Senator Mary.
Even so, I really don’t think this vote will hurt Senator Landrieu.

There are two things that will minimize the politics of Senator Landrieu’s votes and its impact on her 2014 re-election campaign: her base and time.
Democrats in Louisiana will almost assuredly vote for Landrieu. There is little doubt that Landrieu will carry Orleans Parish by a wide margin regardless of who Republicans, Libertarians or any other party put up against her.

Senator Landrieu needs to hope that she can get out the inner city vote in New Orleans and Baton Rouge (and, in the process, make a significant dent in Congressman Bill Cassidy’s BR base), and split or not lose Acadiana and North Louisiana by too much, and her re-election is assured.
The other factor weighing in Senator Landrieu’s favor is time. By next Fall, this gun control vote will be long gone in the minds of most voters.

In addition, by voting for President Obama’s failed gun control measure, Senator Landrieu further solidified her relationship with the President. I’m sure that she thinks that is a good thing but her closeness to the President could also be Senator Landrieu’s undoing.
Senator Landrieu has voted with President Obama and the Democratic Party a staggering 97% of the time. That’s hardly bi-partisan and can hardly be called representative of Louisiana.

The 2014 elections are mid-term elections and could be a referendum on President Obama. The political party of the President in power has generally lost ground in mid-term elections.
In the 2010 mid-term election, Democrats lost 63 House seats and 6 Senate seats. Similarly, in 2006, the Republican Party lost 30 House seats and 6 Senate seats.

In fact, in every mid-term election since 1938, the party in power has lost House seats except for 2 elections: 2002 when Republicans gained 8 seats and 1998 when Democrats garnered 5 additional seats.
The losses in the Senate, while less dramatic, are also real.

In 2002, Republicans gained 2 Senate seats; in 1970, Republicans gained 1 Senate seat and in 1962, Democrats gained 2 Senate seats. In 1998 and 1982 there were no gains or losses in the Senate.  Every other mid-term election resulted in Senate losses for the party holding the White House.
Recently, in the 2010 mid-term election, Democrats lost 6 Senate seats as Republicans did in 2006.

In 1994, under Bill Clinton’s leadership, Democrats lost 54 House seats and 8 Senate seats. Only the 2010 mid-term election in President Obama’s first term had larger combined losses.
So, while playing to her base and strengthening her ties to a lame duck President who is unpopular in Louisiana, Senator Landrieu could also be unknowingly playing into Republican’s hands.

And, while the gun control vote may well be forgotten, Senator Landrieu’s “Louisiana Purchase” vote on ObamaCare will play a large role in the campaign as will her record as being a largely ineffective Senator.
While no one can deny that Senator Landrieu has recently fought for Louisiana’s coast and our share of offshore oil and gas royalties, Landrieu only recently attempted to make those royalties effective now instead of 2017.

But the question remains: why 2017?
When Senator Landrieu took office in 1997, the issue of Louisiana not receiving our share of royalties had been an issue for years. After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, the cry got louder for Louisiana to receive more money to repair our fragile, neglected coastline.

Senator Landrieu sits on the Senate Appropriations and the Energy and Natural Resources Committees. Clearly, if she is an effective Senator, it would not take her 15 years to get a bill passed to get Louisiana’s share of energy royalties years from now.
Senator Landrieu takes much pride at her 2005 legislation that had the Senate apologize for the Senate’s failure in the early 19th Century to ban lynching. Why wasn’t Senator Landrieu as proactive regarding Louisiana’s coast as she was about trying to rewrite history?

Just this week, Senator Landrieu told Bruce Alpert of the Times-Picayune that “I’m indispensable”.   

Senator Landrieu has voted for over $1 Trillion in Tax hikes. I don’t know about you but, to me, that is hardly “indispensable”.
If Senator Landrieu was truly “indispensable” to Louisiana she would have fixed Louisiana’s royalty issue in 1997 instead of 2017. If she had done that then, perhaps Katrina and Rita would not have devastated Louisiana like they did.

But, I’m not a US Senator so I can’t rewrite history.