Cassidy vs Landrieu: How will their fiscal cliff votes affect the 2014 Louisiana Senate race?

Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu, standing in f...

Sen. Mary Landrieu

So, Sen. Mary Landrieu voted for the fiscal cliff deal in the Senate. Her likely Republican opponent, Baton Rouge Congressman Bill Cassidy, did not.

Northeast Louisiana Rep. Rodney Alexander, a Republican, and New Orleans-Baton Rouge Rep. Cedric Richmond, a Democrat, were the only Louisiana members to support the bipartisan deal in the House.

But it’s the votes of Landrieu and Cassidy that are the most interesting because the fiscal cliff could be an issue in the 2014 Senate race and influence Landrieu’s re-election bid.

In one sense, the votes don’t change the equation at all.  Landrieu is a Democrat and was expected to support the deal. Even her Republican Louisiana counterpart, David Vitter, voted for the plan that raised income taxes on people earning more than $400,000.

Rep. Bill Cassidy (LA)

Rep. Bill Cassidy (LA) (Photo credit: republicanconference)

And Cassidy, who once had a reputation around Baton Rouge as a fairly moderate Democrat, has firmly repositioned himself as a conservative Republican and, so, it’s no surprise that he opposed the deal.

Still, it’s likely that Cassidy will attack Landrieu for the vote. In Wednesday’s Baton Rouge AdvocateCassidy said the bill did not address deficit and did nothing about entitlement spending. “We’ve done nothing for the other issues,” Cassidy said.

For her part, Landrieu told the newspaper,

While this compromise did not do as much as we had hoped to reduce the deficit, I remain committed to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to find a balanced approach to deficit reduction that includes both spending cuts and new revenues. In addition, we worked hard to extend the estate tax in a reasonable way that protects small businesses and farmers.

It’s not hard to imagine a debate between Landrieu and Cassidy in about 18 months in which Cassidy, his tax purity still intact, attacks his opponent for supporting a bill that raises billions in new taxes while doing little to nothing to address entitlement spending.

Landrieu, of course, can respond by noting that Cassidy defended millionaires against tax hikes while simultaneously opposing extended benefits for unemployed Americans.

And, of course, had Cassidy’s position prevailed, every taxpayer would have suffered a significant tax increase, not just the top 2 percent.

But, as they say, in politics, when you’re explaining, you’re losing.

So, let’s do a little crowdsourcing exercise for Landrieu and Cassidy.

What do you think is the most effective attack Cassidy could throw against Landrieu for her vote? And how might Landrieu respond, or might she use Cassidy’s vote against him, particularly with lower- and middle-income Louisianians?

Cassidy is likely to wage his battle against Landrieu mostly over Obamacare, but taxes will surely be an issue. And who knows what fodder the upcoming debt ceiling vote might also provide?

So, share your political wisdom in the comments section below — and let the 2014 Louisiana Senate race begin.

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7 thoughts on “Cassidy vs Landrieu: How will their fiscal cliff votes affect the 2014 Louisiana Senate race?

  1. If Landrieu plays her cards right, she can make it extremely difficult for Cassidy to explain why he voted to:

    *–deny a tax increase on those making more than $400,000;
    *–increase every American’s taxes;
    *–deny benefits to unemployed Americans who have lost jobs even as companies like G.E. ship jobs overseas, make record profits and avoid taxes altogether.

  2. Interesting thought Bob! I did not think about the opportunities the vote provides for each person. I can tell you I am disgusted that the entire situation had to occur in the first place. Congress had an entire year to work on the “problem” of sequestration, and I hate that term “Fiscal Cliff,” but they chose the path most often taken. The path of doing nothing until it’s too late. I firmly believe our Federal Government has a horrendous spending problem and there is no tax increase that can completely solve our current fiscal debacle. It is almost funny! I believe our nation’s revolution was initiated based on “over taxation” of the colonies. If I remember correctly that “over taxation” represented about two weeks wages for the colonist at that time. How long does the average US tax obligation take to satisfy today? Is it five, six or even seven months before our obligation is met? I am certainly not suggesting revolution, that thought is inconceivable, but I do think we as a nation need to take a serious look at what we are doing to ourselves and future generations. To that end, I hope our current and future representatives recognize the recklessness of spending without any control.

  3. Landrieu should ride the fact that Cassidy’s fellow Republican, Vitter, voted in favor. That isolates Cassidy to the right of Vitter. Who, running for statewide office, wants to position himself to the right of Vitter? Vitter’s support did not help Jeff Landry a bit in his election race. Landrieu can pit Cassidy on this issue as not opposed to her, but opposed to Vitter.

    Cassidy needs this deal to turn demonstrably sour for taxpayers, although no one should want a bad outcome for taxpayers. If it does, he can point with pride to his “no” vote. But, as so often happens, if the outcome of the fiscal cliff vote is mixed, it will not help Cassidy to step out onto that ledge.

  4. Cassidy made a major mistake in my view because Vitter’s vote gives Landrieu a fair amount of cover and dampens any argument he might make about taxes going up. The only argument he has is that the deal didn’t do anything to solve the deficit (and in fact made it worse) and did increase taxes a good bit on every working American by increasing witholding from 4.2 to 6.2%. So, this deal raised taxes on nearly everybody while preventing a cliff that was largely a creation of Congress anyway. Still, it would help Cassidy if Vitter had voted the other way. Perhaps the more interesting question is why did Vitter vote the way he did, knowing that the bill would pass without his support?

    • Dr. Cross, I would have thought that if anyone had a good idea as to why Vitter voted that way it would be you, but since you asked, I have been thinking about it.
      As I am aware, the polls were showing that most people were in favor of tax hikes for the very wealthy. Maybe he felt it prudent to abide by the wishes of the majority, not to mention that it was probably the right thing to do. Kind of a crazy thought, though as most politicians only do the right thing if it helps them in some way. When it comes down to who people will vote for between Cassidy and Landrieu my feeling is that their respective votes on this issue will be a long time ago and it will still be between R and D for most people.
      I will say, however, that although I am not a fan of David Vitter I might just take his vote on the fiscal cliff into positive consideration the next time he runs for office. So maybe it was a good idea for him.

  5. Reblogged this on The Daily Kingfish and commented:
    Thanks Prof Mann for setting the 2014 table!

  6. If you could stop gushing over Sista Mary for a minute, try to find a picture of her that is not 25 years old and 65 pounds ago. Find one of her high fiving Harry Reid when she was the deciding vote on Obamacare, the BIGGEST TAX ON AMERICANS, EVER.

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