Late last night I saw

Late last night I saw what must have been the second debate between Landrieu and Terrell (it’s not the case that someone from Power Line is always awake; it just seems that way). I must say that I thought Landrieu did well in that debate. She is more telegenic than Terrell and is a more confident speaker. Terrell comes across as far more negative, but I suppose that’s normal in her role as the challenger. It certainly doesn’t bother me and I have no idea of how it’s playing in Louisiana — it probably depends on whether Landrieu is well-liked. I think she’s reasonably popular, that it is President Bush who’s making Terrell a viable challenger. In that case, there may be a downside in going too negative. On the issues, neither one was blowing the other away, as far as I could tell. On the plus side for Terrell, she held her own and certainly did not appear to be in over her head. She also made what I thought was the most telling point of the debate when she said that Landrieu’s voting record (measured on some unspecified percentage scale of liberalness) was much closer to Kennedy’s than to Breaux’s. If that’s the one thing voters remember from the debate, and it could be, then Terrell will be in good shape. Landrieu seems to have distilled her message into the following: I will often side with Bush on particular issues, but I’m not going back to Washington to support Bush; I’m going back to be an independent voice for Louisiana. In this way, Landrieu gives voters a reason to vote for her instead of Terrell without appearing to be liberal or hostile to the president. Assuming that voters overlook Landrieu’s apparently liberal voting record, the success of this message probably depends on just how popular Bush is in Louisiana. He’s obviously popular, and if he’s popular enough, Landrieu’s message may defeat her.


Books to read from Power Line