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|How many hits can Melancon take?|
U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon probably wishes The National Journal had taken a hiatus for a year from publishing its annual study of votes cast by and ideologies of members of the Congress.
If it had taken a leave, The National Journal wouldn't have informed the world that Melancon -- per The Journal's scorecard -- is the most liberal member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Louisiana. That shouldn't come as a surprise since Melancon is the only Democrat in the House from Louisiana.
The National Journal is one of those inside-the-Beltway magazines that reports indepth about issues the Congress is entertaining at any given time. It also delves into personalities that work in and out of the public's eye in setting policy affecting every man, woman and child in America.
Like it or not, The National Journal cannot be dismissed as a partisan rag that placates to a particular interest group or voting bloc. It's well written and it's substantive, though rank-and-file liberal members of the media would argue otherwise. They detest The National Journal because it treads conservative.
In the spirit of being fair, it should be noted that I haven't studied the issues on which The National Journal justified handing Melancon a liberal score of 47 percent compared to a 53 percent conservative mark. In many states, a 53 percent conservative score would earn a member of the House a reputation as being a moderate. Not so in Louisiana.
That's irrelevant, though.
What's relevant is Melancon was tagged a liberal -- per Louisiana standards -- on a voting scorecard compiled by a respected publication. Worse, the labeling occurred some eight months before Melancon is expected to take on U.S. Sen. David Vitter, who will vie for his second term in the Senate. That old saying, timing is everything is politics, comes to mind.
We will see Melancon's liberal label again, probably in a television commercial paid for by the Vitter campaign or the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee (NRSCC). We'll see it so much we will begin believe it to be the gospel. After all, where there's smoke, there's fire.
Be that as it may, The National Journal scorecard was the icing on the cake, so to speak, in setting the stage for this fall's Senate campaign. Melancon already had his hands full in light of his support for Barack Obama's presidential campaign in 2008. His vote for a nearly $1 trillion stimulus package didn't help matters either. To top it off, Melancon has voted three times for Nancy Pelosi's bid to serve as Speaker of the House.
Those actions and/or positions would serve Melancon well if he lived in Manhattan or San Francisco or Madison, Wisconsin. They don't sit well, though, with your average voter in Louisiana. No, Louisianians are more concerned with the economy, 2nd Amendment rights and hunting down terrorists than they are with currying favor with the most liberal president of the United States and the most liberal congressional leadership in the history of the Republic.
That's the uphill battle Melancon must fight between now and November, assuming he qualifies for the Senate race. The most recent independent poll on the Melancon-Vitter match-up tells us it's Vitter's to lose. That's probably pretty accurate at this point.
If we learn of too many more scorecards like the one The National Journal unveiled last week, Melancon would be wasting his time and our time in opposing Vitter in the first place.
I'm not so sure he isn't wasting his time already.
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