The Corner

The Spoiler in Louisiana

The Senate Conservatives Fund, Sarah Palin, and others have endorsed a guy named Rob Maness for U.S. Senate in Louisiana, but they appear to be doing more harm than good. I explain the politics of it, and the juvenile nature of Maness’s campaign, at the Advocate in Baton Rouge.

The peculiar nature of Louisiana’s open primary makes it more likely Landrieu eventually will be re-elected if Maness keeps running.

First, let’s be clear: Maness is not running the sort of campaign that recommends him for high office. His résumé of honorable military service as a full colonel, combined with several advanced degrees and a couple of years in business, is admirable, but his campaign has been less so. Instead, it repeatedly has resorted to juvenile stunts and mischaracterizations of other candidates’ statements and positions.

The usual target of these mischaracterizations has been Landrieu’s leading challenger, Rep. Bill Cassidy. 

But there’s more. Who is this guy? What qualifies him to start his political career in the U.S. Senate? He doesn’t have a long record of civic service in Louisiana, or even roots in Louisiana that are real deep. (This isn’t a necessity, but it’s a factor.) He certainly doesn’t have any record as a conservative thinker or activist. He doesn’t have a record as a conservative donor. Maness just sort of showed up on the scene, claimed to be a conservative, and started making noise. His is the kind of background that might lend itself to stepping right into a race for the House. But for the U.S. Senate, in his first race ever?

The leading conservative blogger in Louisiana, Scott McKay at The Hayride, is a guy who is usually quite disdainful of the Republican “establishment.” But he has served as a one-man wrecking crew in pointing out the flaws of the Maness campaign.

Maness speaks pretty well, and he has the impressively erect bearing of the military colonel he was. Long military service to the country is admirable. It certainly entitles him to a hearing if he wants to run for public office. But one wonders if this is the wrong race, run the wrong way, at the wrong time.


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