We’re doing everything we can to prepare our readers for what’s coming over the next four weeks as primary election season becomes runoff season, and as Eddie Rispone attempts to take down Louisiana’s Democrat governor John Bel Edwards.
If you didn’t hear LABI president Stephen Waguespack’s radio segment on KEEL-AM in Shreveport earlier this week, Wags made a quite prescient prediction – namely, that the attacks on Rispone will come furiously, starting any minute now. Yesterday there was a quite suspicious social media fusillade when a pair of failed Republican politicians, Rob Maness and John Delgado, began trashing Rispone and openly supporting Edwards. There is no particular evidence of a quid pro quo in either case, but given the Jay Dardenne experience four years ago and the Edwards camp’s penchant for soaking up Republican pols in poor odor with their party colleagues, like Rob Shadoin as an example, nobody would be surprised to see Delgado and Maness turn up on the public dime in the event of a second Edwards term.
And what you can absolutely expect to see is a torrent of messages by trial lawyers using various means, social media and otherwise, to assail Rispone’s character.
The word has already gone out on this. Here was an e-mail from one member of the trial bar soliciting lucre for the Edwards campaign and Gumbo PAC…
“Your job and your profession may literally depend on the results of the Nov. 16 election.”
Seems a little dramatic, but that should tell you something about how trial lawyers see the tort reform package Eddie Rispone will happily sign when it flies through the hard-core conservative legislature which was elected Saturday (at least, for the most part; the runoff elections will finish a nearly veto-proof majority for tort reform).
And the trial bar can’t stop the Red Wave in the legislature. What runoff elections are left aren’t likely to be won by their side. Robert Mills is likely to finish off Ryan Gatti, Taryn Branson can’t beat Scott McKnight, and so on.
It’s all John Bel Edwards. And as Stephanie Grace admitted earlier this week, though in not so many words, Edwards can’t win on his record. He has to tear down Eddie Rispone the way he tore down David Vitter – only Rispone doesn’t have the built-in negatives Vitter had, and Rispone doesn’t have Republicans anyone cares about trashing him like Vitter did.
It was one thing when Scott Angelle and Jay Dardenne were trashing Vitter. It’s not the same thing when who’s available to trash Rispone is Delgado, Kenny Havard and Rob Maness.
But you will see something very similar to what you saw four years ago, and it flows from the e-mail above.
You will see plaintiff lawyers taking to social media, message boards and e-mail blasts calling Eddie Rispone every name in the book. You will see scurrilous rumor-mongering about business practices, personal foibles and anything else they can throw at the wall.
None of it will involve public policy, none of it will involve the issues in the race, and none of it will involve Louisiana’s future. All of it will involve Eddie Rispone as a poopy-head.
Why do we know this? Because it’s exactly what happened four years ago, when practically every trial lawyer in sight was all over Facebook and Twitter posting daily outrage about Vitter’s poor character for having had dalliances with hookers well more than a decade prior. Many of these people were busily writing alimony checks to their first wives whom they’d cheated on and left, making their moral turpitude considerably more pronounced than Vitter’s considering he’s still married to his first wife, but it didn’t matter.
Because the moral issue wasn’t what drove that outrage. It was tort reform. And that’s what will drive it this time.
Just remember that you’re paying the second highest car insurance rates in America and every billboard on the highway has an easily-memorizable phone number and a promise of easy money for a car wreck because of these same people who profess to be outraged at Rispone’s personal corruption. If you feel motivated to push back against the screeching, go right ahead.
And then vote accordingly.