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|Landrieu needs to be heard|
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu and 3rd District Congressman Charlie Melancon are not doing themselves any favors by not conducting those so-called town hall meetings to discuss health care reform, which the Congress will revisit beginning in September.
Moreover, Landrieu and Melancon have exhibited why too many people feel Congress, as a whole, is out of touch with mainstream America, which it is.
Ever since Congress adjourned for its annual August recess, about all we've heard from Melancon is a tongue-in-cheek defense of a taxpayer-funded trip he and a handful of other members of the U.S. House took to the South Pole over the New Year's holiday in 2008. If costs for operating Air Force aircraft are factored into the mix, Melancon's junket to the end of the earth tallied some $500,000.
The word irresponsible comes to mind.
Irresponsible or not, Melancon's failure to meet with his constituents to hear their concerns over one of the most important issues Congress has entertained in years tells us Melancon has his mind made up on how he will vote on health care reform legislation. Or it tells us he could care less how his constituents think or feel about it.
There's another angle to consider as far as Melancon's reluctance to meet with his people would be concerned.
That angle entails Melancon's political viability, which, in reflecting upon the voter registration in the 3rd District, looks pretty good if you're Charlie Melancon.
Allow me to explain.
The 3rd District is comprised of about 1/3rd minority voters while the remaining 2/3rd could be safely described as whites. That means Melancon, a self-described conservative Democrat, can be easily re-elected if he turns out a majority of the minority vote. He most likely would pick up 90 percent of that minority vote simply because he's a Democrat. Remember, minorities, in general, vote Republican only by error.
Meanwhile, Melancon would only need one in three white votes to ensure his re-elect.
That's the other angle, or explanation, to consider in contemplating why Melancon refuses to embrace his constituents on the health care reform issue.
Yet, it's worth considering as well that Melancon realizes his district could disappear once the dust settles on redistricting following the 2010 census. As it stands today, Louisiana most likely will lose a congressional district following the census count next year. Melancon's 3rd District is a likely casualty.
That means Melancon would have two choices. He could oppose U.S. Sen. David Vitter in 2010, or he could safely slip away into the world of lobbying where his services would command a hefty price. At the very least, he would attract an annual compensation package that would more than place him on his feet financially for life.
And that brings us back to Landrieu.
Unlike Melancon, Landrieu is not joined at the hip to President Obama's administration. In fact, Landrieu has been criticized as of late for declaring her opposition to a government-run health care option to ensure every American has access to health care insurance. Ironically, the radical Left, or Obama's core base of support, were the ones who cranked up the criticism of Landrieu in light of her joining a handful of other members of the Senate who favor a more centrist approach toward health care reform. In Washington, a centrist approach buys you few friends among party stalwarts, but it's the position to take if a member of the Congress desires to position himself or herself to exert influence over the legislative process.
That's where Landrieu finds herself today.
However, few people are aware of Landrieu's position, or her pecking order in the world of health care reform, because she's met with very few people to tell them about it.
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