We Must Not Allow A Jindal Gap!

Another example of good campaign strategy in a tough race:

But in an interview today, Landrieu vowed to campaign aggressively against GOP foe Bill Cassidy’s opposition to the Medicaid expansion in the state, offered a spirited defense of the law — while acknowledging it has some problems — and even insisted he’d be at a “disadvantage” over the issue.
This week a state legislative committee in Louisiana is expected to consider a measure that would put a constitutional amendment before the voters this fall that, if approved, would direct the state to accept $16 billion in Medicaid money to cover 242,000 people. Even if the ballot measure is not green-lighted by the legislature, Landrieu said she will continue to press the issue — and hit Rep. Cassidy over it.
“That would be a real setback for the people of Louisiana, many of whom are working 30, 40, 50 hours a week but find themselves caught in the Jindal gap because the state refuses to expand health care options to the working poor at little to no expense,” Landrieu told me, referring to Governor Bobby Jindal’s opposition to the expansion.
“This issue is not going away — it will become an issue in the 2015 governor’s race,” she added. “Cassidy has wrapped himself up with Jindal. The question is whether people who work full time or part time in the U.S. should have access to quality and affordable health care.”

It’s very rare that something comes out of Mary Landrieu’s mouth with which I agree wholeheartedly, but here’s one example. The focus on working poor is spot on. Incumbents get a lot of cross over votes because they convince wobblers registered with the other party that they will bring home the pork. Skipping Medicaid expansion is leaving a big slab of bacon in Uncle Sugar’s smokehouse, so that needs to be hung around Cassidy’s neck. The whole thing is a pleasant surprise.

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53 replies
  1. 1
    Alex S. says:

    Landrieu is a pro. She won’t fail. Luckily, a few of the vulnerable Dems are quite capable. Begich and Pryor are skilled politicians as well. Pryor is especially lucky because his opponent is an idiot.

  2. 2
    beltane says:

    While she may be far too conservative on some issues for our tastes, Mary Landrieu does not strike me as some out of touch DLC’er. She really does seem to know her state well.

  3. 3
    Snarkworth says:

    “Jindal gap”. I like that.

    We have a Corbett gap here in PA.

  4. 4
    Yatsuno says:

    Landrieu is an old time Louisiana Democrat from a family of old time Louisiana Democrats. Her brother IIRC is still mayor of Nawlins, so that’s a big pool of votes he can drum up for her. I’m not too worried about her prospects. I just want the Republicans to chase after a nice big shiny Senate seat and throw money at that instead of Georgia or Kentucky and suddenly those are Democratic pick-ups. But it’s all about Get Out The Fucking Vote.

  5. 5
    beth says:

    “Jindal gap” is brilliant – has Frank Luntz switched sides?

  6. 6
    Fuzzy says:

    Big deal. When she gets to DC the GOP bigs will tell her what to do…if she wants to stay. Good Old Boys don’t let upstarts say a word inside that gold beltway.

  7. 7
    lurker dean says:

    jindal gap is okay, i prefer jindal death panel. throw it in their faces.

  8. 8
    Soonergrunt says:

    @beltane: And the distinction is very important. Here in OK, there are Democrats with whom we’d probably agree a lot more than we’d disagree, particularly about things like poverty and healthcare, but we have to let them run their own local races and let them have their misguided belief that the 2nd Amendment provides an individual personal right to keep and bear whatever kind of gun they want. But they’d be with us on 95% of the truly important stuff if we’d let them and support them.

  9. 9
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Fuzzy: “When she gets to DC” ?! She is the senior US Senator from LA, having been elected in 1996.

  10. 10
    The Thin Black Duke says:

    This looks like a promising development, and I’ll think it’ll get better as time goes on.

    What going to happen is more and more streetwise politicians are going to understand that in spite of the nonsense the empty talking heads on TV are spewing, most people in the Real World like the ACA and they’re not going to like the idiots who are threatening to take it away.

  11. 11
    Dan says:

    Also, “Jindal gap”? That’s bloody brilliant phrasing.

  12. 12
    Yatsuno says:

    @The Thin Black Duke: It’s helping her that there’s a legislative push to get the Medicaid expansion passed in the state house, so this is a good local issue for her to get behind. Plus she is an old pro at getting elected in her state. Mary was one I was never all that concerned about.

    Also: selling it like they sold it in Kentucky is just fine with me. I don’t care if it ain’t that ebil Obummercare in their minds as long as they get behind it.

  13. 13
    Wag says:

    Yesterday I saw a patient in follow-up who just got on Medicare. 60 years old, uninsured for the past 2 years, history of aortic and mitral valvel replacements, diabetes, heart failure. When I said that I was glad she got coverage under Obamacare, she was indignent, claiming that her new coverage under Medicare had NOTHING to do with the ACA.

    I just shook my head in wonder.

  14. 14
    JPL says:

    @Wag: How do you get Medicare at sixty?

  15. 15
    El Caganer says:

    @Snarkworth: Yeah. Between his ears.

  16. 16
    raycharles90 says:

    Here in NOLA I fully support Senator Landrieu. She is not as blue on some things (oil/gas) as I would like but, I am very glad to have her over some mouth-breather. That is the option.

    Also, in an interesting note. She is running some spots down here that she has been criticized for by the wingnuts. Seems that she re-enacted some senate hearings. My fiancee ,who is not overly political, loves these commercials and gets very supportive of Mary Landrieu every time they air. She will never know about the “controversy” of these ads, nor would she care if she did find out. This is why I think she will eek it out as long as we get out the vote.

  17. 17
    catclub says:

    @JPL: I think it was typo/brainfart. Obamacare in the second sentence.

  18. 18
    feebog says:

    If the amendment gets on the ballot, 242K is a sizable chunk of voters; if they can be identified, registered and show up on election day. I wonder what kind of effort is being made to beat the bushes for these folks in the “Jindal Gap”.

  19. 19
    The Thin Black Duke says:

    @Wag: Yeah, but people like like that are unreachable anyway, unfortunately. As someone wisely observed on an earlier thread, “You can’t reason someone out of a position that they didn’t reason themselves into.”

    Whether its racism, stubbornness, fear of the unknown or whatever, who cares? Bottom line, that’s a person who is going to foolishly vote against what’s best for her. Move on, it’s a lost cause.

    However, for everybody else who understands how important the ACA is, those are the people who need to let any politician who campaigns against affordable health insurance is a politician who is committing political suicide.

    But if people don’t vote, then they’re no different than that foolish old woman, are they? If you don’t make a choice, then a choice will be made for you, and chances are you won’t like it very much.

  20. 20
    Violet says:

    @Wag: Good for you for saying something about her getting coverage under Obamacare. Her initial response might have been indignant, but she might repeat what you said to someone else and they may agree or at least ask questions and you never know how far your comment may go. Plus, since you’re a doctor you hold a position of authority on health issues. Your support for Obamacare goes a lot further with people than some talking head on TV. Keep on supporting it with your patients when appropriate. It will end up doing good.

  21. 21
    semperfi123 says:

    Yet another 80% cut/paste from the glorified dkos commenter muckmux.

  22. 22
    satby says:

    The key is that focus on expanding Medicaid for the WORKING folks. The working poor have been screwed out of a lot of stuff, something targeted to help them will be snatched up no matter how much Hannity et al tells them to take a pass on it. They need the help, and they need to know which party is offering it.

  23. 23
    Mnemosyne says:

    @The Thin Black Duke:

    Somebody here (I can’t remember who) has a sister-in-law from the South who adamantly refused to buy health insurance after Obamacare was passed because she was raised to never accept charity from a black person. That’s so poisonous from top to bottom, and yet I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a certain percentage of anti-Obamacare people who were raised the same way.

  24. 24
    satby says:

    @catclub: Yeah, I assume Wag meant Medicaid, expanded under Obamacare.

  25. 25
    JPL says:

    @catclub: I should have realized that myself.

  26. 26
    GregB says:

    The tide is already turning for the election. Every endangered Democratic incumbent in the Senate have been polled as leading in the past few weeks.

    The Republicans in Missouri are launching an impeachment campaign against their Democratic Governor.

    Many of these assholes are going to have to decide whether they support local police or whether they want to paint them with laser pointers and threaten to kill them.

    I am looking forward to Jeanne Shaheen sending that putz Scott Brown back to his vacation house in Rye, NH.

    The momentum is turning.

  27. 27
    hoodie says:

    It’s important to note that It’s a good strategy in Louisiana because the state has a disproportionately large number of people falling into the gap (I think only MS is worse) and Jindal is pretty universally loathed. Not sure that will work as well in other states. Maybe against Thom Tillis in NC, but you might have to throw in something about the fiscal idiocy of paying fed taxes for benefits your state doesn’t receive.

  28. 28
    Waspuppet says:

    But – but – but the GOP won that special election in Florida! That proves that Obamacare is electoral poison! All those really nice, really smart people on TV said so, and they’re never wrong.

  29. 29
    rikyrah says:

    When Landrieu is saying something that makes sense…you know other Dems should pick it up.

  30. 30
    kindness says:

    It’s reassuring that Democrats are seeming to be starting to get it. Namely that the MSM is full of shit in their devotion to Republican rule and suposub popularity. Now if only we could elect actual Democrats in places like Louisiana instead of slightly better than Joe Lieberman types.

  31. 31
    negative 1 says:

    @beth: Agreed, plus I can’t wait for the hilarity of trying to hear him explain why he’s refusing free money to help his population. Let’s see if he can make an equally clever sound bite out of that. I bet not.
    Bonus points for Landrieu to tying it to the ridiculous hours that the working poor are working to ward off the ‘free money for blahs’ racist argument.

  32. 32
    Marc says:

    @kindness: Landrieu’s actual Democrat enough to vote for the the ACA and campaign on Medicaid expansion. I’ll take whatever I can get from a state that’s been trending Republican for the last decade.

  33. 33
    taylormattd says:

    And it looks like she’s hitting it out of the park so far:


  34. 34
    Kay says:

    I hate to be a pain in the ass (not really!) but this isn’t a good rhetorical strategy for Democrats.

    I think they should try to portray the health care law as a seamless whole, because the whole reason Republicans set off Medicaid is so they could turn Obamacare into a welfare program rather than a universal benefit.

    No one in the world self-identifies as ” the working poor”. Who is she talking to?

    Honestly, I think we have a real problem with talking about working people. We seem to go into this mewling, begging mode, where we’re setting ourselves apart from “the poor” (working or not).

    “On your side” means “with”, NOT “an advocate for those other people over there, who are begging for something or other”.

    With. Part of. Us. The whole freaking genius of “the 99%” was the inclusiveness of it.

    I hate the whole 2014 campaign, and I want everyone fired :)

  35. 35
    Xantar says:

    Hold on a second. Why does it take a constitutional amendment for Louisiana to accept Medicaid? I’m honestly asking. What’s the deal here?

  36. 36
    Kay says:

    What if they just said “the state is blocking Obamacare benefits to 250 thousand people when everyone else gets it and that’s not fair”?

    They’ll go insane, but then they’ll be left with the (awful and divisive) distinction they set up, where they excluded “the working poor”. We don’t have to recognize or highlight the income level where Obamacare morphs into Medicaid.

    I’d just play innocent of any distinction: “OMG, these MONSTERS just (perhaps arbitrarily!) excluded all these people!”

  37. 37
    Kay says:

    It is an income cut-off so there must be a number and two people who are really in the same income range would have two results. “In Louisiana, because of Bobby Jindal, If you make 15 an hour you get Obamacare but if you make 9 you don’t” (or whatever the cut-off is). There must be two real people who are in that situation.

  38. 38
    Violet says:

    @Kay: I think “working poor” is an important phrase because a lot of people seem to think that poor people aren’t working at all. And if they’d only get off their lazy asses and work then they wouldn’t be poor. Problem solved!

    Tying the concept of “working” to the concept of “poor” is important because it gets people thinking that yes, people can work hard and still be poor. It’s possible. And if they’re working at places where they don’t get any insurance, then maybe they should be able to get health insurance.

    It’s an easy jump from there to identify who the “working poor” are–people like waitresses who handle your food. Do you really want them to be without health insurance? Really? They’re handling your food! And make it personal.

    I see your argument that we’re all in this together and that’s a good point. You’re right it was one of the strengths of “the 99%”. I see benefit in the other argument too. For so long the concept that anyone who is poor is lazy and not working has been part of our politics. It’s a lie. It has to be called out.

  39. 39
    Fair Economist says:

    Landrieu used to set my teeth on edge frequently; in 2009 she was one of the most eager hippie-punchers in Congress. But nowadays when she goes off the reservation it only seems to be for good political reasons (supporting offshore oil; indefinite grandfathering of old insurance policies). I accept that we’re going to have to make some sacrifices to get a D-LA in the Senate and these days she seems to make the best ones. I even donated to her campaign.

    Oh, and “Jindal Gap”? Genius!

  40. 40
    brettvk says:

    @Kay: “No one in the world self-identifies as ” the working poor”. Who is she talking to?”

    I identify as the working poor. It’s easy to do if you were raised middle-class but fell through the Reagan redistribution of wealth to the wealthy. I can’t be the only one in the country.

  41. 41
    Kay says:


    I get the “working” distinction. I’d just like to move beyond that, to “working people”. My fear is Democrats don’t do it because if they did we’d be going towards having some solidarity between middle class and poor, and they ran away from that, IMO.

    This is how conservatives do it. They cleave off poor people and include themselves and their voters in “the middle class”, no matter the income. I’d just rather we didn’t accept their framing, because this argument they’re making goes like this: “YOU, middle class, will be paying for these Medicaid people and I will protect you from that”. She knows it, too, because she adds the fearful part about how it will cost the state nothing.

    I wish they would get out of what I consider defense, where they play off divisions Republicans set up. Working people. That’s who she is “for”. I just want to get away from “what are we going to do about the working poor?”

    The same thing we do for everyone else. Get them access to health care.

  42. 42

    @Kay: I agree with you. We are all in this together. Ours is consumer driven economy, every one except the ones with Romney level wealth will suffer if the economy continues on the current course.

  43. 43
    Kay says:


    Just as an example, Kasich expanded Medicaid with this mewling bullshit about his moral high ground to care for the least of us, or whatever.

    I’m not comfortable with that, because it sets them off to the side again. It makes them charity cases. I feel like labor did all the heavy lifting for Democrats with the Fight For Fifteen “we’re all in this together” theme and now Democrats are setting them off to the side again! Can we just have “working people” without all this differentiation? We’ve been doing the same thing for 30 years, talking about “the poor”. Let’s try something else. Put them INSIDE with “us” rather than OUTSIDE.

  44. 44
    Violet says:

    @Kay: I agree with you. Maybe it has to be a step process. First get people to recognize that some poor people are working hard. They aren’t all lazy moochers with their t-bones and Cadillacs. Then from there recognize that all working people are in this together. Maybe a multi-pronged approach.

    I think you’re right but I also see merit in what she’s doing. Maybe some approaches work better in some locations than others?

  45. 45
    Kay says:


    I like “Jindal gap”, so I’m not being a HUGE pain the ass. This is Kasich:

    “And so, it’s a two-prong strategy: continue to grow the state, continue to make it stronger and stronger economically, and help to lift people outta the ditch where they are, bring them into the mainstream, and give them an opportunity to realize their God-given purpose,” Kasich added.

    Okay, Democrats don’t do that, they’re not that repulsive, but “mainstream” is a good example of how conservatives always set this up. They set it up so their target audience can always feel like he’s talking about THEM, even if they are poor enough to get Medicaid! It’s John Kasich and the reluctantly charitable mainstream offering a hand to The Other.

    We could just not play on those terms. I think they should act outraged: “what do you mean some of us are excluded? That’s not fair!” It’s not.

  46. 46
    Violet says:

    @Kay: Do you know if “That’s not fair!” works as a political tactic? I don’t think it does. Seems like something kids say. I think a better tactic is to focus on how it’s un-American. “What do you mean some of us are excluded? That’s not right. That’s not how it’s supposed to work in America! We take care of our own.” Focus on patriotism, how we’re all in this together, we take care of each other, etc. rather than on fairness, which implies some people getting more or less of the pie.

  47. 47
    TooManyJens says:

    @Kay: I get what you’re saying, but I do think the way she summed it up mitigates this concern a lot.

    The question is whether people who work full time or part time in the U.S. should have access to quality and affordable health care.

    I hope that’s the theme she keeps repeating.

  48. 48
    Kay says:


    Not only do I think it works, I think “fair” is the single best word for Democrats and liberals.

    It’s absolutely true that kids are big on “fair”, they’re like the Police Force of Fairness, but I think that’s a gut human response that we just stop saying (out loud) when we get older and everyone retains some sense that things should be fair.

    Democrats had a lot of success with an inclusive message on social issues. The rap is Republicans are excluding people. I think they could do the same thing on economic issues, but they’d have to stop describing people as “small business owners” or “the working poor”. It doesn’t have to be technically, numerically accurate. She can call anyone she wants ‘the working class”. No one knows what it means anyway.

    Do you remember when Democrats used to do that with social issues? Divide into sub-groups?

    “Women for Choice For John Kerry!” They moved on from that and just started implying that Republicans exclude everyone but straight white males and that was true!

    It’s MOSTLY true economically. It’s a problem for them, not us. Remember when Eric Cantor had to tell them most people work for someone else? They actually did not know that.

  49. 49
    Violet says:

    @Kay: Thanks for your thoughts. I don’t really remember the example you gave (“Women for Choice for John Kerry!”), but I take your point about the ineffective tactic of dividing people into groups.

    I don’t see “fair” as being as effective as you do, even though, as you say, we retain a sense of fairness from childhood. I think it’s too vague and easily exploited by the other side. What’s fair? Maybe me paying less in taxes and you not having health insurance is “fair” because it’s my money and I worked for it. Go to work you lazy moocher. That’s fair.

    I think going with “unAmerican” and stressing patriotism and “we don’t leave people behind” kinds of things is more effective in the health insurance instance. As is the fear angle. “Do you really want sick people preparing your food and taking care of your kids?” No! No I don’t! They should have health insurance.

    It’s probably a case of both/and and not either/or. In some cases “fair” will work best and in other cases something else will work best.

    I do agree that subdividing people is a losing tactic. The “we’re all in this together” is much more effective. Hence how the 99% thing resonated.

  50. 50
    rikyrah says:


    Somebody here (I can’t remember who) has a sister-in-law from the South who adamantly refused to buy health insurance after Obamacare was passed because she was raised to never accept charity from a black person. That’s so poisonous from top to bottom, and yet I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a certain percentage of anti-Obamacare people who were raised the same way

    with every fiber of my being…

    FUCK HER and all the rest of them that wanna cling to that Whiteness..

    Will not waste a nanosecond of concern for someone that stupid and ignorant.

  51. 51
    Mnemosyne says:


    See, I was raised just kind of “normally” racist (as in, what I absorbed from the culture around me and casual remarks), so I can’t even picture being from a region where you get specific directives like, Don’t take charity from black people. It’s so foreign to me that I can’t even comprehend it. If you need charity, who cares about the race of the people providing it to you?

    It’s just another example of the way that race has been used in the US to divide poor people from each other — a poor white person can still consider themselves “better” than black people if they don’t take charity from a black person. But it’s a seriously fucked-up way to think.

  52. 52
    satby says:

    @Kay: Disagree, a little, on one point. The working poor know exactly who they are, I was one and would readily have identified that way at the time. I spent 1/2 my adult life without health insurance, and it can be harrowing. I was able to work my way up to a middle class, middle management job and those are now disappearing. The key is there are more people now in that boat than when I was 20 years ago. They know they work, sometimes multiple jobs (I had 3) and they have no illusions that they still are poor. They’re just not destitute.

  53. 53

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