This Isn’t 2015, It’s Serious Business, And Your Feelings Are Irrelevant

So you’ll know, on Saturday I voted for Eddie Rispone in the governor’s election. That might be a surprise to some of you given the treatment we’ve applied to Rispone’s campaign at times during the primary race.

I’m not going to apologize for that, either. I think most of Rispone’s messaging throughout the race has been tone-deaf and mostly irrelevant to the voters of the state, and his attacks on Ralph Abraham toward the end were just terrible. Not so much that Rispone broke his pledge not to go negative on Abraham – that pledge was always unenforceable, as no campaign is complete without one candidate trying to differentiate himself from another – as how he did it. Rispone parroted garbage that Gumbo PAC had thrown out on Abraham months earlier, which validated Gumbo PAC’s attacks. No Republican should ever do that.

Had he just stuck to the fact Abraham had called for Donald Trump to step down from his 2016 campaign after the Access Hollywood tape came out and used that to show that Abraham was less “trumpy” as the GOP standard bearer, I would have said it was fair game. The St. Jude stuff and the missed votes/voted with Nancy Pelosi 300 times business was just lousy.

What’s more, Rispone, in the final two weeks of the primary, was still running an ad about an illegal alien who’d killed a young man in a vehicular accident – an ad that, while heartrending, has nothing to do with John Bel Edwards’ governance. While his other closing ad, the one in which he’s simply talking into a microphone in front of a crowd, was far and away his best one, Rispone never did seem to get his messaging right.

And then there are some of the dumb things his campaign team did down the stretch, which we talked about a little last week.

So why did I vote for Rispone given all that? Because it’s just business. It’s not personal. We’re trying to pick somebody who can get rid of John Bel Edwards, the worst governor in America if you judge it according to economic record. We can’t play around with that decision, and we can’t afford to put somebody into that runoff who won’t win.

And of the two, Rispone has more upside.

Rispone performed better than Abraham in the three televised debates. He flubbed his messaging less than Abraham did and he was sharper in getting his points across.

Rispone is a better public speaker than Abraham is. That’s quite clear. Abraham is a terrific man, and he’s clearly got Louisiana’s best interests at heart. But God bless him, he’s just not a very good public speaker. Head to head with Edwards, he doesn’t match up well, regardless of the fact he would be a far better governor than the current occupant of that office.

And most importantly, Rispone has more money than Abraham.

The fact that Abraham was all but off the air in Baton Rouge and New Orleans for the last three weeks of the campaign was a pretty significant tell that he was out of money. Now – make the runoff and the cash will flow in, which largely solves that problem. But all things being equal, you are a whole lot better off with a guy who has all the money in the world to run his campaign with than a guy who has to raise it all on the fly.

Rispone has the money to fix what’s broken in his campaign, and Rispone has the capability, if not the track record, to become the messenger who beats Edwards.

So, because this is serious business, I’m with Rispone. Louisiana can’t afford four more years of John Bel Edwards and Rispone is the safer choice to get him out of that office.

And now that Rispone is in the runoff with Edwards, there are no excuses for any Republican or conservative voters not to get on board.

He attacked Abraham unfairly? So what? It’s politics. Nice guys don’t win anything in politics. Was John Bel Edwards a nice guy when he ran an entire race on hookers and lies about whether he’d be raising taxes four years ago? No, he was not.

There are no nice guys in politics. The ones who are nice guys don’t last long.

Abraham’s camp had video of Eddie Rispone speaking obsequiously about what a wonderful man Abraham is. The video was taken back in the summer. When Rispone then attacked Abraham, they waited an entire week before sharing that video to Facebook. How that 25-second video of Rispone gushing about what a great guy Abraham is wasn’t already in the can just waiting to be aired as a TV spot as soon as Rispone went up with an attack is beyond me. Abraham could have shut Rispone’s attacks down with that video. He didn’t. What do you think would have happened to Abraham in the runoff with Edwards and his Gumbo PAC thugs?

You need a son of a bitch if you want to beat these people.

Rispone hasn’t been a particular son of a bitch in his life. He’s one of the most respected men in Baton Rouge and has a stellar reputation as an ethical businessman and philanthropist. But Eddie Rispone built an industrial construction firm. You don’t manage to do that unless you’re tough, and you don’t manage it unless you’re willing to do what needs to be done to complete the job.

And attacking Abraham, which was definitely a gamble and maybe not even one he needed to take given that Abraham was out of money, was an example of Rispone being willing to act as the son of a bitch this race needs.

So he’s in the runoff. Maybe he’s there because he attacked Abraham, and maybe he’s there because Abraham ran out of money and performed poorly in the debates. Either way, you don’t have the luxury of calling yourself a Republican or conservative voter and then turning up your nose at Eddie Rispone because he was a son of a bitch to Abraham.

Abraham isn’t turning up his nose. Abraham gave Rispone a full-throated endorsement, and Abraham pointed out that beating John Bel Edwards was always the most important job in this race.

If Abraham is willing to put Rispone’s attacks aside, who are you as an Abraham voter to say no? You’re with him all the way to the point where he attempts to influence your final vote?

Seems stupid.

Especially given what we’re up against. This is the only governor in America who can’t grow jobs in Trump’s economy. And he lies about absolutely everything.

Everything.

No, John Bel Edwards is not a good man. John Bel Edwards is a considerably worse man than Eddie Rispone. This administration is corrupt to the core, and the corruption has spread to the media and to what’s left of the state’s business community. Louisiana is dying. Our industries have stagnated and are shrinking, our people are fleeing, and we’re falling behind.

Today, WalletHub released a survey of the fastest-growing cities in America. To say Louisiana doesn’t fare well in the rankings from that study would be charitable. The top performing Louisiana city in the study was Lake Charles…which came in 98th out of 515. No other Louisiana city was in the top 250. New Orleans came in 282nd. Metairie was 363rd. Lafayette was 443rd. Kenner 462nd. Baton Rouge was 500th. Shreveport was LAST at #515. The survey didn’t include Alexandria, Monroe or Houma, but it’s hardly likely either of the three would have fared well; all three are ghost towns at present.

The Brookings Institution last week released a study of black economic achievement in the 50 largest markets in America (ranked by black population) and found impressive growth over the past few years in all but one of them. The only one not showing economic progress in the black community? Baton Rouge, where black median household income has dropped by two percent in the last year. In New Orleans, it grew by a pathetic 0.3 percent. Everywhere else it was up by anywhere from 3.5 percent to 7 percent.

Are you really going to let this continue because Eddie Rispone attacked Ralph Abraham? If that’s your position, I submit to you that Eddie Rispone isn’t the bad guy here. The bad guy is you. You’re the one putting your personal scruples ahead of the well-being of your fellow Louisianans, and yes – that makes you the bad guy. Your job as a voter is to end needless suffering where it’s possible to do so, and Louisiana is suffering under John Bel Edwards’ misrule.

This election was always about getting Edwards out of office. There is now a vehicle to make that happen, and the vehicle’s name is Eddie Rispone. We cannot afford to repeat the mistake of 2015, where Edwards was able to sneak into office because of the scruples of self-styled Republican voters. It was a dumb move to elect him then, and it’s worse now given Edwards’ record over the last four years.

Vote for Rispone. Period. Our future depends on it. That’s more important than your feelings.

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