The Campaign Spot

The Better Homes and Gardens of Populist Democrats, Part Two

John Maginnis, writing in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, urges endangered Senate Democrat Mary Landrieu to campaign against the richest 1 percent and play on class envy and wealth resentment:

With [Americans for Prosperty], we have two billionaires [Charles and David Koch], the top 1 percent of the 1 percenters, muscling legislators into denying healthcare coverage to the working poor. They have written the script for Landrieu’s and the Democratic super PAC’s consultants. She will need a strong emotional message to push more Democrats to the polls, and anger is always a greater motivator than gratitude. It may not be enough to save her, but the Koch brothers’ overplaying their hand could neutralize a potent issue for the Republicans.

Maginnis notes “the Senate Majority PAC, has just started defining the Baton Rouge doctor [her likely rival, Republican congressman Bill Cassidy] as bought-and-paid-for by the richest of the rich.”

As this week’s “Better Homes and Gardens of Populist Democrats” series will point out, Democratic lawmakers are ludicrously implausible advocates for demonizing the rich, as they are exceptionally wealthy themselves. The public is urged to turn its anger at the “richest of the rich” by the merely very, very rich.

Mary Landrieu, of course, has a net worth estimated between $894,018 and $2.6 million, with assets totaling $1.9 million to $3.1 million, according to her 2012 financial-disclosure form.

That 2012 estimate may not fully represent the booming value of her five-bedroom, five-bathroom, 5,247-square-foot Capitol Hill home. (Landrieu’s husband, Frank Snellings, is listed as the owner of the property on D.C. tax records.)

(The location of the senator’s home is public record, but don’t be a jerk and go onto her property or bother her or her family. The above photo is from Google Street View.)

The District of Columbia assessed the home’s value at $2.5 million in 2014, and projected its assessment for 2015 could be $2.8 million. The real estate site Zillow estimates the value of the property at $2.9 million.

Landrieu’s effort to demonize the Koch brothers for spending money in politics will undoubtedly be supported by “Friends of Mary Landrieu,” which has raised $35 million since 1995; and her leadership PAC, Jazz PAC, which has raised another $1.8 million since 2004.

Her “Big Easy Committee,” which consists of her personal campaign and her leadership PAC, is holding a $5,000 per couple fundraiser this weekend at the Loews New Orleans Hotel.

Or perhaps she’ll fume about the richest 1 percent’s selfishness over shellfish at her $1,000-to-$2,500-per-plate May 7 fundraiser for “Friends of Mary Landrieu” at Johnny’s Half Shell restaurant on Capitol Hill.

This midterm election year offers us a particularly vivid example of a party’s intellectual exhaustion as we witness rich lawmakers raising money from other rich people by emphasizing their determination to punish other other rich people.

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