By Robert Mann
There’s still a month left in 2014, but the prize for the year’s most egregious act of fear mongering in Louisiana politics clearly goes to state Sen. Elbert Guillory, R-Opelousas.
Guillory has this year produced two campaign videos ostensibly designed to lure Louisiana’s black voters away from the Democratic Party, but which have also raised Guillory’s national profile. A 70-year-old African-American, Guillory might run for lieutenant governor next year. Perhaps he’s angling for an appointed U.S. Senate seat should Sen. David Vitter become governor.
Whatever the case, the Opelousas Republican cannot mask his stunning bigotry and dishonesty in these two slick videos.
While neither video contains an endorsement of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bill Cassidy, Guillory’s videos — sponsored by the Republican group Free at Last PAC — are direct attacks on Cassidy’s opponent, Sen. Mary Landrieu. Perhaps because he is black, Guillory believes he cannot be accused of trading in bigotry and fear. Perhaps he believes that his race means that black voters won’t question his falsehoods about President Barack Obama’s record.
Maybe there are reasons for black voters to consider the Republican Party. If so, Guillory never mentions them. Having nothing positive to say about his party, Guillory relies on what so many Republicans claim to hate — class warfare.
In his first video, released in September, Guillory stands in a poor neighborhood in Opelousas wearing a finely tailored, blue three-piece suit. In this incongruent scene, he scoffs at wealthy Democratic Party leaders who he says have ignored black voters. “You are not Mary’s cause, and you are certainly not her charity,” Guillory declares. “You are just a vote — nothing less, nothing more.” Never mind, as I noted last week, the Senate candidate of Guillory’s own party won’t campaign for black votes.
His latest video, released Monday, is far more egregious. Guillory peddles pure fear and ignorance and cynically pits blacks against Latinos. Referencing President Obama’s recent executive action delaying deportation for millions of undocumented immigrants, Guillory implies that the president is more concerned about Latinos than blacks. He charges that Obama has done nothing to create jobs in the black community, hasn’t fixed declining schools nor has he reformed the criminal justice system.
Instead, he says, “President Obama has chosen to bypass Congress and the Constitution to grant citizenship to over five million illegal immigrants.”
That statement, of course, proves that Guillory knows nothing more about Obama’s immigration actions than he does about the president’s concerted efforts to create jobs and push education reforms. Obama’s order did not award these immigrants with citizenship. The president did not even have the authority to grant them Obamacare.
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