Carlson: Senator Landrieu “Bribed”

This morning Fox & Friends co-anchor Gretchen Carlson made an incredibly inflammatory accusation against Senator Landrieu of Louisiana: Bribery. Yes, you read right. Bribery!

Carlson asserted, “There is a lot of bribing going on, specifically, in the state of Louisiana for Senator Mary Landrieu.” She explained, “Why? Because, apparently, [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid was able to get her $300 million to help fix up stuff from Hurricane Katrina. And, that is what bought her the vote, or, bought him, the vote. By giving her $300 million of pork, she then decided to vote for health care reform for his bill.” Carlson continued, “And a lot of people this morning are saying, ‘Yeah, we know these kind of political things happen all the time on Capitol Hill.’ But, for health care reform, something that’s this serious to this country, should we allowing these kind of bribes for votes?”*

Even with that caveat, from this Louisiana author’s perspective, Carlson’s rhetoric bordered on the reckless. When one uses the term bribery in the same breath as a public official, the listener often envisions its primary dictionary denotation. E.g., the first definition in Webster’s Third International Dictionary is “A price, reward, gift, or favor bestowed or promised with a view to pervert the judgment or corrupt the conduct esp. of a person in a position of trust (as a public official). In that context, “bribery” is a serious offense and a federal crime.

While “bribery” has a secondary sense, a more benign definition, i.e., an inducement to grant a favor, it does not resound as resonantly in the listener’s ear. Obviously, any Senator or Representative would be “guilty” of this “crime.” As any politico worth his/her salt knows, such wheeling and dealing is de rigueur in the legislative process on both the state and federal level.

Landrieu’s “deal” has been derisively dubbed, perhaps, aptly, the Louisiana Purchase by opponents of the Democratic bill. However, to go one step further and use the incendiary term “bribery” seems clearly over the line. Especially, for one employed by the “Fair and Balanced” news network.

*Fox & Friends (11/23/09) – @8:02 a.m. ET

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9 Responses to “Carlson: Senator Landrieu “Bribed””

  1. Media Ho' Says:

    Perhaps Gretch is right about bribery in Louisiana?.
    I recall former SF 49 ers owner Edward De Bartolo was caught attempting to bribe governor Edwin Edwards to obtain a gaming license in Louisiana.
    He was subsequently stripped of his team ownership by then NFL commish Paul Tagliabue. The team is now owned by his sis Denise De Bartolo-York.
    The NFL is very sensitive to any implication of gambling involvement by league employees. BTW, people wager more $$$ on NFL games than any other sport.
    If I’m not mistaken, former gov Edwards was convicted in Fed court of racketeering and is serving time in Fed prison.
    Perhaps…. that’s just the way they do business down in the Bayou?

  2. Al Says:

    Sure seemed like bribery, although more likely this was added to the bill as a favour to Sen. Landrieu in order to give her some political cover for her vote, and equally likely that the bribe/cover was accompanied by a wink and a nod signifying that this money for her state will never make into the final bill.

  3. jakeho Says:

    Media Ho’, surely, you can do better than that. Did you miss your Logic 101 class when the prof discussed the fallacy of “hasty generalization.”

    Al, under that definition of bribery, what Senator or Rep is not guilty? If the Dems need her vote for passage and she does not insist on inclusion of the assistance she heralded, do not doubt that she will suffer a backlash from her constituents.

  4. Al Says:

    If recent polls are any indication, Sen. Landrieu will start receiving backlash right about now. As I understand it, her deal means Louisiana will only forego its health care reform-mandated Medicare/Medicaid shortfall for one year. So it wasn’t even a very good bargain on her part.

  5. jakeho Says:

    Al, are you suggesting that she up the ante for the next vote? :-)

  6. Media Ho' Says:

    Hasty generalization?
    The state of Louisiana is a political cesspool.
    Former gov serving time for racketeering.
    The NOLA PD is reputed to be the most corrupt in the nation.
    Local NOLA politicians indicted for skimming fed funds earmarked for Katrina victims.
    Political corruption is pervasive at every level from the grassroots to the gov mansion.
    Politicians in that state are bought & sold like commodities on Wall Street.
    Happens in every state, but to a lesser extent.

  7. jakeho Says:

    Media Ho’, merely saying it’s so doesn’t make it thus. You’ve iterated the former guv’s incarceration but that is it. Every state has its own problems, e.g., Alaska, Alabama, Illinois, Mississippi, New Jersey, etc., but to impugn singularly the State of Louisiana without citations or comparative studies seems a soupcon suspect.

    However, if you actually want to make a case for “bribery” in this particular case, please make it. Perhaps, you’ve heard of Stevens, Byrd, and Cochran. If you can, please distinguish between those good ole boys’ pork and that of Louisiana’s lady.

  8. Al Says:

    The distinguishing factor is that Sen Byrd, for example, often used his clout to insert pork monies into bills that he could otherwise get away with supporting. In this instance Sen. Landrieu voted in favour of a resolution on a bill that includes things she’s on record with her constituents as being solidly opposed to. The pork was a “bribe” to get her on board. If that pork stays in the final product then it will be accompanied by a whole bunch more such spending for senators of other states who either are or will soon be “on the fence”. Just what we need during times of high unemployment.

    Now, the word “bribe” also has a technical legal definition associated with it. Sen. Landrieu did nothing illegal with that vote. Whether or not what she did constitutes “political corruption” or merely “making the best deal possible” for Louisiana is for Louisiana voters to decide.

    I think what she did to Louisiana voters follows along the lines of what “Barack Obama” was accused of doing by the “Chinese president” in the opening skit of this past weekend’s SNL… and no kisses.

  9. jakeho Says:

    Al, I appreciate your response as to my challenge to Media Ho’. But, I do not believe that there is a distinguishing factor as you posit.

    Arguendo, let’s assume that your assertions as to Senator Byrd’s actions and Senator Landrieu’s positions are right. However, Senator Landrieu did not vote on the bill itself but merely its consideration. As such, she picked the “perfect” time to have the Louisiana provision added to the bill. She procured assistance for Louisiana in the legislation while retaining the right to vote against the bill later if it does not conform to her principles.

    Al, even though you and I may differ on the conclusion, I appreciate your penchant for framing the argument in rather amicable terms.

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