Mocking tweets from Donald Trump’s White House is shooting clay pigeons on the ground.
The governor of Louisiana, though, has an obvious interest in taking advantage right now, even if the contest is hardly a sporting one.
Yesterday, before Air Force One put wheels down in Monroe for a Trump political rally, the White House boasted of Louisiana’s growth during the president’s administration.
And at the Monroe rally, with presidential cognitive dissonance, Trump said Gov. John Bel Edwards has been a “disaster.”
As the Edwards campaign promptly noted, the two men have been in office mostly at the same time.
However, in the same day’s newspaper in which these alternative facts were reported, there was a dose of reality about Louisiana: “Louisiana employment in the oil and gas industry has not recovered since the crash in 2014 when oil prices dropped whereas growth in chemical manufacturing continues to grow,” The Advocate’s Kristen Mosbrucker reported. “(David) Dismukes and Greg Upton, assistant professor at LSU's Center for Energy Studies, crunched the numbers but also spoke with 100 people in the industry for the study.”
Trump and Edwards share a fundamental reality, that as chief executives they take credit for things that happen on their watch, or take blame for bad things, whether they have much to do with them or not.
In Louisiana’s case right now, Edwards deserves credit for righting the state’s finances and thus funding schools and colleges that are the golden tickets to a better economy. Trump has been a booster of oil and gas development, good for Louisiana, although his tariffs have also hurt petrochemical industries.
For campaign purposes, Rispone’s argument that we’re worse off is a narrow view of a businessman who made his money off petrochemical industrial construction. It doesn’t, as with the contradictory tweets from the White House, reflect the reality of oil and gas prices that drive employment and growth.
That will be true whether Gov. Rispone or Gov. Edwards presides in the Governor’s Mansion in the next four years, or for that matter whether we get more egregious tweets from a second Trump administration.
In Louisiana’s economy, it’s oil and gas, stupid.