lessons from Louisiana
WaPo columnist E.J. Dionne celebrates the recent runoff victory of Louisian Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu. Dionne points out the important lessons for Democrats from the failure of the GOP's "Operation Icing On the Cake."
Landrieu won because in a single month she and her campaign digested the lessons of the Democrats' defeat in November and adjusted accordingly. To understand how important her victory is, you only have to imagine what you'd be hearing now had Landrieu lost to Republican Suzanne Haik Terrell. A Terrell victory would have been seen as a Big Deal, a confirmation of the historic importance of November's Republican victories and a harbinger of realignment. Democrats, congenitally inclined to defeatism and circular firing squads, would have spent another several months feeling sorry for themselves.
The first lesson is that if you're a Democrat in the House or Senate, it doesn't matter how you vote or what you say or how patriotic you try to be. The Bush machine will try to smash you anyway. Consequently there is no percentage in making nice with this administration, especially after it showed its willingness this fall to politicize security issues.
And in a bit of political eclecticism that Bush political guru Karl Rove must have privately admired, she also criticized the administration's own protectionist policies where steel is concerned for hurting the Port of New Orleans. In both cases, she argued she would stand up for Louisiana against Bush.
(continued in the next post)