The final two weeks in the race for governor is now kicking off. Only a small percentage of voters remain undecided, and the race may just turn on who votes. One thing you can expect to see from Mr. Rispone is more Washington style politics – a reckless disregard for the facts or truth.
As I have said in the past this race has two sides. On one side is Governor John Bel Edwards. He has focused his campaign on his accomplishments the most important of which is bailing the state out of an unbelievable $2 billion budget deficit. This deficit was real and thanks to the governor’s leadership in putting together a bipartisan coalition of republicans who control the legislature and democrat legislators our state has recovered from a huge fiscal nightmare.
Eddie Rispone has been short on specifics. He says he supports a better state, but what in the world does that mean? And who does not support a better Louisiana? Certainly, Governor Edwards supports one, and so do you and I. In Wednesday night’s debate on public television, Mr. Rispone was short on specifics and long on sound bite answers to very specific questions about his plans for the future. Could it be that he cannot get specific because he does not understand state government and for fear that those specifics will turn off voters?
Another problem is Mr. Rispone’s refusal to meet and debate Gov. Edwards in more televised debates and in forums including the one recently held in Baton Rouge where Gov. Edwards appeared and subjected himself to questioning by the media. Mr. Rispone did not attend saying he is too busy. A statewide candidate can discuss his/her candidacy with more voters in one televised debate than he or she can meet face to face in one day. Gov. Edwards has agreed to meet and debate. So why not Mr. Rispone? There will be only one debate, and it has already been held. And, unfortunately, the state media has let Mr. Rispone off the hook by not pressing the issue of an invisible candidate.
The biggest disappointment in this year’s race has been the turn toward Washington style politics by the Rispone campaign. His campaign and the support he has received from special interest groups and political PACS have fabricated issues in an effort to defeat Gov. Edwards. This is sad. Rather than attacking the incumbent governor and making false accusations against him, the Rispone camp and his supporters should be telling us what a Rispone administration will look like and what will it do for the state. Specifics about our state’s future are crucial, not platitudes, media sound bites, or sanctimonious clichés.
President Trump will soon re-visit Louisiana and encourage voters to support Mr. Rispone. But be careful about what the president says at his rally. For example, Mr. Trump has said that Gov. Edwards will take away “your guns.” That charge may be valid in some other state against a different governor but not in Louisiana. Gov. Edwards is pro-life, a former Army Ranger, and an avid outdoorsman who supports the second amendment which protects our right to keep and bear arms. Now if republicans are so anxious to lie about the governor’s position on gun rights, what else are they lying about? I suggest a lot.
As Governor Edwards said at the LPB debate to Mr. Rispone,
“You don’t know what you don’t know, and what you don’t know is astounding.”
This sums up Mr. Rispone’s campaign quite well.