Sen. Mary Landrieu has problems. Years of Reid/Pelosi/Obama far-left politics have come home to roost in her center-right Louisiana. Obamacare, regulation, and an anti-energy dictatorship have turned many LA voters against their Democrat tradition. Barring a masterful performance on her part, or an equally pitiful performance by the GOP (recall Todd Akin), Landrieu will lose November’s race. Landrieu comes from Louisiana political royalty, but that dynasty is old-school Southern Democrat. Since the Senator has nothing to lose, her fellow Dems are using her for scientific purposes in their effort to hold the Senate.
While Landrieu has voted with Obama about 96% of the time, when Sen. Max Baucus retired to avoid the ignominy of being forced out of office, she tacked right. Baucus, off to China, gave his Finance Committee Chairmanship to Sen. Wyden, who opened his Energy Chairmanship to Landrieu.
Wyden is too far left to simply toe the Democrat line. He is Left by Oregon standards, and distances himself from Obama – to the left. This is the politician Democrats have until recently placed in charge of energy policy in the Senate – a global warming true believer. Landrieu comes from an oil and gas state that favors exploration, despite the BP spill. Landrieu signaled her new found interest in energy by endorsing the Keystone XL project just before the Baucus switch.
True, Senate chairmanships are largely based on seniority, but Landrieu could have received another job. After eight years of hard-left anti energy policy from the Democrats, they turned 180 degrees in the form of a LA Senator who pre-signaled her distance from Obama.
Democrats want to know if throwing Obama under their bus will save any votes from people disaffected by Obamacare and his energy policies. If Landrieu can make her campaign competitive by pretending she never voted for Obamacare and was always in favor of more drilling and pipelines, expect more of the same. No doubt Obama would dump his Hollywood leftie friends and approve Keystone XL if he thought it would save the Senate.
The wheels of Democrat political thought are on display here. If Obama approves Keystone XL, then Democrats believe the Landrieu strategy is operative and want to give her more room to maneuver away from the Left. If Obama cans Keystone XL again, Democrats have decided her seat and many like it are a lost cause and that Hollywood money is of more long-term worth. Like coal miners looking at a canary to see if they are in danger, Democrats have made Sen. Landrieu an existential test case.