Landrieu’s Political Cowardice

Though nearly every other Democratic legislator in Congress has finally “evolved” on marriage equality, Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana has steadfastly refused. And her excuse is that while she personally thinks gay people should have the right to marry, her constituents don’t:

Landrieu told CNN National Political Correspondent Jim Acosta in an interview Friday that she personally believes “people should love who they love and marry who they want to marry,” but that her obligation rests with the people of Louisiana who elected her.

“My state has a very strong constitutional amendment not only against gay marriage but against gay partnerships. So I’m looking at the people of Louisiana trying to represent their interests,” she said.

Let me translate that: “I’d love to give a damn about all this equality stuff, but that might hurt me in my 2014 reelection campaign so I’m going to offer this superficial excuse instead.” No one should be surprised by this, of course; Landrieu represents a very red state and she is doing what every other legislator who has “evolved” on the issue has done, taken the politically convenient position. President Obama, Hillary Clinton and other Democrats can safely “evolve” because they have to run national campaigns and don’t have to worry about winning Louisiana (they won’t, period). Landrieu cannot. And since taking a stand on principle is pretty much unheard of in Washington, she dodges instead.

25 comments on this post.
  1. Raging Bee:

    And since taking a stand on principle is pretty much unheard of in Washington, she dodges instead.

    Why are you blaming “Washington” after admitting that the rigid refusal to “evolve” is coming from Louisiana?

  2. Gretchen:

    Presumably because Washington is where people refuse to stand on principle, while the states provide the endless reasons to do so.

  3. Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant):

    Because pandering to the other guy’s bigots is a sure-fire way to win their votes while retaining all of your own. Right?

  4. roggg:

    I dont think it’s bad for an elected representative to put their personal positions aside and represent the will of their constituents. I certainly dont think they should be called out for that regardless how much I might disagree with the position they take.

  5. Alverant:

    I have to disagree. A senator’s job is to reflect the wishes of her constituines, no matter how bone-headed they are. She’s doing her job. Would you expect a senator from an area that supported equal marriage yet personally was against it to take a stand on principle or represent his/her district?

  6. Randomfactor:

    Landrieu should take a poll…I suspect there’s a whole lot more of the 21st century her constituents object to. Voting rights for coloreds? “Mixin’?” Lawdamercy!

  7. democommie:

    Ed:

    Doesn’t your previous post pretty much explain why she’s doing it?

  8. robertfaber:

    This is the same state that passes creationism bill after creationism bill. Unless you’d favor a GOP senator with views to the right of say, Pat Robertson, cut Mary some slack.

  9. Raging Bee:

    Presumably because Washington is where people refuse to stand on principle…

    “Presumably” we’ve verified that no one refuses to stand on principle outside of Washington?

    I have to disagree. A senator’s job is to reflect the wishes of her constituines, no matter how bone-headed they are. She’s doing her job.

    Um, no, an elected legislator’s job is not to mindlessly and spinelessly parrot whatever beliefs his/her electors are chanting in unison; it’s to use his/her JUDGEMENT as a thinking human in deciding, in cooperation with fellow legislators, what’s the best course of action. It’s also to honestly tell his/her constituents what’s really going on, not just repeat what they want to hear. Landrieu has plenty of leeway here that she doesn’t have the guts to use: she can vote her conscience and risk losing her job, she can explain why she’s for gay marriage, she can divert attention to other issues where she’s stronger.

    Would you expect a senator from an area that supported equal marriage yet personally was against it to take a stand on principle or represent his/her district?

    A senator who was against equal marriage would probably be unseated if his/her constituents were for it — unless he/she “evolved” on the subject and was seen supporting their desires over his/her own. And — in fairness to Landrieu — I could see where she would cave on this issue just to keep her seat so she could keep on fighting Republicans on other issues. If she’s calculating that she has to oppose gay marriage, or lose her seat to a Republican who opposes it at least as strongly, then that would be less “cowardice” and more realistic about which battles she can actually win.

  10. kantalope:

    It is a representative democracy after all shouldn’t a representative …you know represent the view of their constituency.

    Unless those views are so obnoxious you have to tell them they are wrong. In this case Landrieu just doesn’t have the integrity to do what is right and has instead decided to do what is easy. Doing the right thing is sometimes the hard thing to do. We judge people who do the right hard things and we judge those who do the wrong easy things.

    One group is referred to as heroes – the other group cowards, quizzlings, and symps.

  11. Modusoperandi:

    Mary Landrieu says she’s for so-called “gay marriage”, even though the great people of her state are against it.
     
    Mary Landrieu says that the people of Louisiana are stupid.
     
    Mary Landrieu stands with Washington’s Gay Elite…
    [picture of her standing in a group, near Barney Frank and/or Barack Hussein Obama]
     
    Mary Landrieu stands against Traditional American Values. [picture of her with red demon eyes]
     
    Mary Landrieu…
     
    …bad for Louisiana…
     
    …bad for America…
     
     
    (this ad paid for by Americans for Freedom and America and Freedom)

  12. d.c.wilson:

    Of course Landrieu can’t “evolve” on this or any other issue in Louisiana. Governor Kevin the Intern is funneling taxpayer money to teach creationism.

  13. Ulysses:

    Should I write a letter to My Congressman?

    Each Congressman has got two ends,
    A sitting and a thinking end,
    But since his whole success depends upon his seat,
    Why bother friend?

    -E.Y. Harburg

  14. bullet:

    “Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion” – Edmund Burke

  15. bullet:

    IOW, an official is elected because they are trusted to do what is right, not to rubber stamp the idiotic whims of the majority.

  16. abb3w:

    Has anyone asked her about her stance on Civil Unions lately? The most recent PPP poll of Louisiana (February) indicates 54% of her constituents think gay couples should be allowed to at least form civil unions.

  17. stumble:

    Right or wrong, the reality is Landrieu is facing very well funded attacks from the Republicans, and as the last remaining statewide elected democrat she is very vulnerable to being unseated by a republican. Given that Louisiana is hugely against gay marriage, there is no way she could keep her seat were she to support gay marriage.

    To me this is just an example of political realities, not cowardice. We’re she to vote her conscience she would be replaced at the next election period. And given the idiots lining up to run against her now, there is no question keeping her is more important than her vote on this issue.

  18. aluchko:

    I’m actually wiling to give her credit for actually being honest about it and not claiming to share the same views as her constituents.

    I personally think that even if her constituents want to discriminate she should do the right thing, but if you do see gay marriage as a democratic decision, and not a right, then I can see the logic of voting according to your constituents views and not your own.

  19. thecalmone:

    There is a difference between representation and delegation, isn’t there? Our elected representatives are just that: representatives. If we don’t like the way they represent us we vote them out at the next election. Representative democracy was never about delegation, where the elected representative is a mere conduit for the majority view of his or her electorate.

    Or have I got this wrong?

  20. aluchko:

    Well they are referred to as a congressional delegation which tells me that they should be considering their constituents views even when an election isn’t at stake.

    They can govern two ways, according to their own beliefs, or according to the beliefs of their constituents. Honestly I have no problem with governing by your own beliefs but bending to your constituents’ will if they’d vote you out in response. You’re offering your constituents a package, if they’d vote you out over an action that means they no longer approve of that package and you’ve lost some of your moral authority to govern.

  21. dingojack:

    Taking a devil’s advocate position:
    So way back in 2003 when George the Least and his sockpuppets (Yes Tony and Lil’ Johnny I’m looking at you) decided to wade into Iraq despite strongly negative polling (in the case of Australia 70% opposed going to war) that was ‘showing judgement‘ and ‘not caving in to the idiot whims of the majority‘, right?
    >:| Dingo

  22. thecalmone:

    But if they are governing purely according to the wishes of their constituents then why do we need them at all? We could achieve the same result through some system of regular referendums. Referenda.

  23. dingojack:

    thecalmone – $$$$
    Dingo

  24. tbp1:

    Although certainly she isn’t displaying any courage, I think “cowardice” is too strong a word in a situation like this. Politics is the art of the possible, as they say, and while she is hardly my ideal of a US Senator, almost any Republican who took her place would be far, far worse.

    Yeah, I know, if no one stuck their necks out in the past no progress would ever have been made. I get it, but I also get the “lesser of two evils” argument. In this particular situation, that one is winning the day for me, although I regret it.

  25. kosk11348:

    Alverant @ #5 said:

    A senator’s job is to reflect the wishes of her constituines, no matter how bone-headed they are. She’s doing her job.

    I’d say her job is to do whatever is in the best interest of her constituents, regardless of whether they wish it or not. Leaders are supposed to lead, and sometimes that means making unpopular decisions.

    But furthermore, you ignore that many of her constituents are gay people. Why don’t they get a voice? Is she not their senator too?

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