The annual Redstate conference, spawned by the blog/circle jerk curated by Georgia tea bagger impresario Erik Erikson apparently took place in New Orleans this past weekend. Many conservative luminaries appeared, including intellectual heavyweights Rick Perry and Nikki Haley who were featured speakers, as was teahaddist Ted Cruz. Ever the attention hound, Governor Jindal also graced the stage in front of tri-corner hat wearing activists and various other white nationalists.
One person that wasn’t invited was Louisiana Senate candidate Bill Cassidy. And his absence was conspicuous. Louisiana’s GOP base is heavily populated by the tea bag right, and Cassidy will need these nuts to win.
Unfortunately, Cassidy wasn’t included on the program. In fact, he was hardly acknowledged. And it isn’t a surprise.
“I’m just not a big fan of Bill Cassidy,” Erickson said in an interview Saturday, confirming that an invitation was not extended to Cassidy, who is challenging incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., next year.
All along, Cassidy has been the candidate of the Republican establishment in DC. They see his moderate record as a controllable alternative to a “wacko bird” like Senators Ted Cruz or Mike Lee. Cassidy, on the other hand, is just a generic republican and someone who will take orders well. This is exactly the type of Republican tea baggers hate.
Attempts to clear the field in Louisiana (including Vitter’s work to sideline rightwing Congressman Fleming from entering the field) for Cassidy show that he isn’t the choice of the activist base. Cassidy’s moderate record and squishiness certainly won’t stand up well under scrutiny of the ’16 LASEN race.
As the redstate snub indicates, Cassidy has a long way to go to activate the tea bag base in Louisiana. And without that motivated core, he’ll have an even tougher time beating Mary Landrieu.
More embarrassingly, Cassidy’s tea bag rival, Rob Maness, was invited to close out the conference. Maness has done very little in terms of fundraising or campaigning, but he shared the final stage as a highlight of the conference. That’s not just a cold shoulder to Cassidy, but rather an ice bath.