Back in December, our readers might remember, the rhetorical diarrhea of LSU journalism professor and long-time Democrat political operative Bob Mann caused a ruckus between the university and one of its statewide officials. Mann, in a typical fit of unhinged and irresponsible Twitter rhetoric, referred to a young lawyer from the office of Attorney General Jeff Landry who had presented a legal position to the school’s Faculty Senate as a “flunky.”
Landry generally isn’t overly rabbit-eared over slings and arrows aimed his way by Mann and his ideological compatriots in politics and media; if he was, he’d never get anything done given the almost daily attacks thrown his way by the Baton Rouge Advocate. But he does draw the line at his employees, so when Mann’s “flunky” comment reached the Attorney General he took the matter up with LSU president Bill Tate.
And Landry wouldn’t have been very satisfied that Tate hid behind the rather vacuous notion of “academic freedom” as the reason he wouldn’t discipline Mann for his intemperate, and as it happened in that case violative of the University Code of Conduct, outburst. At least, not in one sense – Landry didn’t get satisfaction for the young lawyer, but he did get to set a marker for Tate.
When we discussed the Mann “flunky” incident and Tate’s non-response to Landry’s protest, we mentioned the position Mann was putting Tate in…
Tate could tell Landry to go to hell. That would make Bob Mann happy. But Tate then takes ownership of everything Bob Mann says from now on, and that isn’t a comfortable situation. It isn’t just LSU’s front office who hasn’t come to Mann’s defense so far; Mann’s fellow professors have been fairly silent as well. He’s not all that popular on that campus even if they’re his fellow Democrats, because he’s too toxic. He scares the fish away.
And if Tate aligns himself with Mann, that makes Tate toxic, too. Tate’s already known as a social justice warrior who made his academic bones writing scholarly papers based in critical race theory which essentially hold that math is racist, so if he backs Mann on this, Tate then becomes the issue. And his politics – because they’ll relate to his governance of LSU, at least in the eyes of the public – then become the story rather than the goodwill he’s just earned from his athletic director stealing away Notre Dame’s football coach.
What happens after that is everything Tate does at LSU – every faculty or administrative hire, every university policy, every bit of messaging – then gets subjected to scrutiny as potential leftist indoctrination at work. And don’t think for one second that Landry, a pretty relentless messenger and a nonstop agitator on subjects he’s interested in, won’t turn Tate and the necessity for his removal into a key issue in the 2023 gubernatorial campaign. Don’t think that won’t become a winning issue – cleaning out the nest of vipers at LSU, or maybe defunding all that indoctrination – for legislative candidates in 2023 as well.
And when Tate essentially did tell Landry to go to hell, we said this…
That’s a massive fail.
For one thing he ignored LSU’s faculty code of conduct, which Landry specifically brought up in that letter. So Tate just explicitly indicated that he’s not committed to the standards that code outlines. That opens Pandora’s Box.
Second, Tate has now indicated that LSU’s commitment to free speech is a hell of a lot more robust than it has been. Let’s remember LSU ranked third from the bottom in the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s free speech index. So if LSU is committed to free and open scholarship and the freedom to debate ideas and principles, that’s new. People will hold Tate to it, and rightly so, and it’s a good bet that he’s going to find that commitment inconvenient.
Nobody believes LSU is committed to free speech on campus. LSU revokes admission to high school students for posting inappropriate things on TikTok.
But the key problem here is that William Tate just stuck his finger in Jeff Landry’s eye. And Jeff Landry loves it.
We noted that if Landry isn’t the frontrunner to be Louisiana’s governor after the 2023 election, he’s pretty close. And Bill Tate siding with Bob Mann means that Jeff Landry now has a wide-open lane to run on clearing out the nest of woke vipers at LSU, something regular Louisiana voters are becoming increasingly awakened to.
And now, Bob Mann has repaid Bill Tate’s defense with something that will undoubtedly turn up the temperature…
Yes, one must remark on the utter, pigheaded stupidity of identifying the Ku Klux Klan with the Republican Party when the KKK was literally founded as a paramilitary wing of the Democrat Party and part of its initial mission was to kill or intimidate as many Republicans as possible so as to prevent the GOP from gaining a political foothold in Tennessee.
Given this history, it’s a blisteringly imbecilic thing for Bob Mann to say. Despite the stupid things which emanate from Mann, though, it isn’t that he’s stupid – it’s that he thinks those listening to him are stupid. Remember, this guy came up as a Democrat media flack and spin doctor, so spouting idiocies in an effort to pull the wool over stupid eyes is in his blood.
What’s more to the point isn’t how dumb or untrue the statement is, but rather how malicious and defamatory it is toward more than half the state’s population which sides with Republicans even if they’re not registered as such.
It might be worth pursuing at law, in fact. As a publicity stunt the LAGOP ought to sue Mann for defamation, taking screenshots of everything in his twitter and other social media and blog accounts before doing so and then having those ready as evidence to prove malice.
No objective consumer of the things Bob Mann says could conclude other than that he’s saying these things out of malice. Even if the LAGOP is deemed a public figure the suit could survive.
And one wonders whether Landry’s office might find a way to insinuate itself into such a suit.
Here’s where we are based on the above. Bill Tate has defended Bob Mann in his previous scurrilous attacks on those with whom he disagrees, and that makes Bob Mann Bill Tate’s boy. Now Bob Mann has defamed every Republican in the state, including both its senators, five of its six congressmen, five of its six statewide elected officials, 68 of its 105 state representatives and 27 of its 39 state senators, and more than a million of its registered voters, by calling us racists and Klan members.
This is once again a bright-line violation of LSU’s Faculty Code of Conduct. It’s the kind of thing Bill Tate should discipline Mann for, and in fact it wouldn’t be out of line at all for Tate to fire him after so incendiary and inflammatory a statement. This isn’t some trifling cancel-culture episode; long before cancel culture became a thing it was understood that if you offered fighting words to a wide class of people you’d be poisoning your employer in front of them and said employer would need to address it.
For example, you can’t be an LSU professor and tweet out that “All Mexicans are lazy” without expecting negative job consequences. Even 20 years ago you’d know that would be problematic.
But now Bill Tate is on record saying he’s all for Bob Mann’s license to say whatever the hell he pleases while on the taxpayer’s dime. That means effectively, what Bob Mann says, Bill Tate says.
Perhaps not at law, but in the court of public opinion? It’s a pretty good expectation those state legislators are going to want some sort of accounting for that “all Republicans are racists” tweet before they turn loose any budget increases to Tate. And Landry, who has a golden electoral issue in 2023 he can milk, has to see this as absolutely beautiful.
Tate had an opportunity to do something about Mann before. Now it’s not an opportunity, it’s an obligation. If he defends Mann again rather than exercising some adult supervision, there are going to be consequences.
And they’ll be well-deserved. Because Woke LSU isn’t worth paying for, and it’s not worth defending.