Scandal: Mary Landrieu tells the truth about race, Louisiana history

By Robert Mann

Did you hear the stunning news about how Sen. Mary Landrieu vilified all her white constituents as knuckle-dragging, virulent racists?

It was quite shocking and will probably disqualify her from being re-elected to the Senate. Her comments were so abhorrent and repulsive that she may have to change her name and move to another state.

Here’s how the right-wing news site Brietbart News reported this shocking incident:

In comments sure to cascade into regional races across the South, embattled Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) told NBC’s Chuck Todd on Thursday that Southern racism is to blame for President Barack Obama’s unpopularity.

“Why does President Obama have a hard time in Louisiana?” asked Todd.

“Let me be very, very honest with you,” said Landrieu. “The South has not always been the friendliest place for African-Americans. It’s been a difficult time for the president to present himself in a very positive light as a leader.”

Landrieu added: “It has not always been a good place for women, to be able to present ourselves. It’s more of a conservative place. So we’ve had to work a little bit harder on that. But, you know, the people trust me, I believe. Really, they do.”

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal blasted Landrieu’s comments as desperate and out of touch.

“She appears to be living in a different century. Implied in her comments is the clear suggestion that President Obama and his policies are unpopular in Louisiana because of his ethnicity,” said Jindal. “That is a major insult by Senator Landrieu to the people of Louisiana, and I flatly reject it.”

Wait, you might say, that’s it?  Landrieu noted an inconvertible fact — “the South has not always been the friendliest place for African-Americans” — and that’s what causes a freak-out on the right?

If you read only Brietbart, when asked about Obama’s unpopularity in Louisiana, Landrieu didn’t stop at “go.” She went right to race. But Brietbart’s mission is not to report Landrieu’s remarks in context. It’s job is to stoke white outrage over the notion that any Democrat might note the uncomfortable fact that racism still exists in places like Louisiana.

In fact, as reported by, when Todd asked Landrieu about Obama’s poor job ratings in Louisiana, she first said this:

“One of the reasons that the president’s so unpopular is because he put the moratorium on off-shore drilling. Remember? After Macondo. And our state was furious about that. Now he could have shut down the BP operations but he didn’t, he shut down the whole Gulf. When you shut down the whole Gulf of Mexico it puts a lot of people here at risk and out of business. That’s number one.

She told Todd that “his energy policies are really different than ours.”

“I mean, we’re a pro-production state,” Landrieu said. “We wanna drill almost anywhere. People believe that it’s an opportunity for Americans to become energy self-sufficient.”

Interesting how Brietbart and other “outraged” Landrieu critics forget to mention that her first response to that question was to defend Louisiana’s oil and gas economy.

But Bobby Jindal wants you to know that he’s outraged by even the suggestion that there exist racists in a state in which 60 percent of white voters gave David Duke their vote (in the 1990 U.S. Senate and 1991 governor’s races).

I guess all those Duke voters are dead, right?  Now, it’s all sweetness and light in Louisiana.

Well, allow me to interrupt Jindal’s rendition of Kumbaya and point out that racism is still alive and well in Louisiana and throughout the South. If Landrieu pointing out that obvious fact sparks outrage and discomfort among conservatives, then how on Earth do these Republicans think they’ll ever win over black voters? (To tell the truth, they couldn’t care less about those voters, as this incident proves.)

While state Sen. Elbert Guillory is busy telling black voters that the Democratic Party takes them for granted, Bobby Jindal and other Republicans are busy undermining Guillory’s message by suggesting that racism isn’t a problem in Louisiana.

No wonder Republicans can’t make gains with blacks or Hispanics. They refuse to even acknowledge those groups’ basic problems and concerns. They cannot admit that blacks, and not just in the South, face all manner of discrimination in their daily lives.

It might be news to Jindal and Guillory, but you’re not going to compete for black votes when you demonstrate that you have not even the slightest idea how to speak to black voters.

In the end, this GOP freak-out over Landrieu’s mild observations might help her at the polls next Tuesday. Black voters, who tend to vote in lower numbers in midterm elections, need a good, vivid reminder about what’s at stake in this election.

And this is what’s at stake: the nation’s voters might be about to turn over the U.S. Senate to a party that doesn’t believe racism exists.



10 thoughts on “Scandal: Mary Landrieu tells the truth about race, Louisiana history

  1. She is pretty much correct. I live here and see it.


  2. On Columbus Day, I went to the post office to mail a letter. A woman (white) came in after me only to discover the post office counter was closed. I told her it was Columbus day and she mumbled it was “typical of Obama.” I didn’t even bother telling her the post office has closed on Columbus day long before Obama was ever born. If Villere and Jindal can truthfully deny the presence of racism in the south and particularly Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi, they are privilege to information the rest of us do not have. They may wish to try their indignant outrage in Selma or Montgomery.

    Tom Aswell


    1. In 1937, Columbus Day become a holiday across the United States.


    2. I’ve heard President Obama accused of everything from sun spots to dental cavities, but a little consistency would be nice. How can people who got so inflamed at his pastor, Jeremiah Wright, be so sure the prez is a muslim? Or blast him for creating high gasoline prices and now that gas prices are plunging, for damaging the economy with cheaper gasoline?
      A t.v. personality recently remarked on the animosity against the prez with a quote from LBJ, who said he could walk on water and his critics would say Lyndon can’t swim.


  3. I’m so glad the Repubs reacted the way they did to Sen. Landrieu’s candid and entirely accurate remarks. It further makes their failure to accept reality crystal clear.


  4. I worked for a consultant who once had Jindal’s campaign as a client. The campaign asked if it was possible to remove all African American voters from the campaign voter file database as they had no interest whatsoever in communicating with those voters. Perhaps they saw it as smart voter targeting. I saw it as shameful and declined to accommodate the request. His remarks now are the height of hypocrisy. I want all Americans to know this about him and his organization — not that there’s any risk of him taking off as a popular figure nationwide.


  5. There are racists in Louisiana? I’m shocked….


  6. Shocked, do you hear me, SHOCKED! I grew up in LA, went on civil rights marches in the ’60’s, trust me. If you deny this fact about racism in LA, you are sadly out of touch with reality. But there are hospitals, docs,
    and meds that can help you.


    1. I have gotten the feeling that the only ones that deny racism here are the racist bigots.


  7. Sen. Mary Landrieu and Barack Obama Need Your Help For More of The Same in 2015 and 2016!

    This is Not About Racism, it’s About Obama Politics!

    Vote For Democrats or Don’t Vote At All!

    Senator Mary Landrieu Louisiana Voters Are Racists!!!

    Louisiana Voters – Go Vote 2014!



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