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The Landrieu Response

Responding to charges of flip-flopping on her support for Miguel Estrada, Senator Landrieu issued the following response. Since it is written in political weasel speech, we have taken the liberty of interspersing some comments.

"Since I am not a member of the Senate Judiciary, I do not make decisions on how I will vote on federal Judge candidates until they have been referred by the Committee to the full Senate."

Which is typical political posture for dodging commitment for as long as possible.

"During the campaign the national republican party ran ads on Hispanic radio stations in Louisiana making the charge that I was opposed to Mr. Estrada, which like many things the Washington crowd claimed was not true."


"In response, my campaign ran an ad that was intended to convey only that I did not oppose his nomination, instead it read as if I had already decided to support him."

Yep, that's what your ad read and said.

"Unfortunately, some of my supporters in the Hispanic community who helped us produce this commercial misinterpreted my neutrality as a statement of support."

So what you wanted was a commercial expressing neutrality? Those horrible Republicans were saying terrible things about you, and you asked for a commercial to announce your neutrality? In the history of political campaigns, we have never heard or seen a commercial expressing neutrality.

"I take personal responsibility for the error and I apologize to anyone who was mislead (sic) by these ads, which ran for less than 2 weeks on one radio station in New Orleans."

Not much else you can say, is there? It was your commercial, produced and aired by your campaign committee. For political commercials, two weeks is a fairly long run.

"I have supported all but one of President Bush's judicial nominees, however, Mr. Estrada has refused to answer even the most basic legal questions put before him by the Judiciary Committee and I cannot at this time vote for him and set a precedent that it is OK to refuse to answer questions."

All but one of President Bush's judicial nominees appreciate your invaluable support and are just delighted they got your support when you thought it was politically expedient, before you were re-elected. If you (or, sorry, your staff) bothered to read the transcript of Mr. Estrada's seven-and-a-half hour hearing, you would know that he answered all of the questions — even the "most basic legal" ones — posed to him. Not giving pro-litmus test Senators the answers they want to hear is not refusing to answer questions.

"If he changes course and answers the important questions put before him, I may reconsider."

As you often do.

"At this time however I am supporting the filibuster."

Yes you are! And by doing so, you're lying to your constituents for what amounted to the ultimate political gain — re-election. Your constituents voted against obstructionism last November. Now you have joined a small handful of your colleagues in leading it.

[Posted February 13, 2003]