November 9, 2002
JUST WIN, BABY:BALANCING BREAUX: Bush's Indispensable Bayou Democrat (The Prowler, 11/8/02)
Once again, as during the opening days of the Bush administration, the White House is viewing Louisiana Sen. John Breaux as a key component in its legislative game plan. Recall that Bush early on openly courted the moderate Breaux, not so much to become part of the administration as to serve as a conduit to other agreeable Democrats. The relationship never got a chance to take off, in part because the Bush energy plan was sidetracked.
But with the Republicans' new Senate majority and their need to find a workable coalition of between seven to ten Democrats for votes that require the support of 60, Breaux again becomes a potentially pivotal figure. But probably not until after the December runoff between Sen. Mary Landrieu and Suzy Haik Terrell. "He's really important to Landrieu pulling this thing out, in part because of his perceived relationship with the White House," says a Louisiana Democratic operative. "If everything goes as planned, he's going to be at her side for the next month."
So while there is little doubt that the White House will use many of the tools at its disposal to help Terrell, it will also do what it can to not bend Breaux out of shape. "We don't need to have Breaux coming back in January upset, with a grudge. We're not going to have the time to rebuild burned bridges. We want to hit the ground running up there," says a White House political staffer.
That's crazy. Why not pull out all the stops to knock Landrieu off and demonstrate for Mr. Breaux the wisdom of crossing the aisle? Posted by Orrin Judd at November 9, 2002 12:54 PM