All weekend long and well throughout the day today, the topic of conversation has been on the attacks in Paris. Here in Louisiana, perhaps more than anywhere else, there is a strong connection with the French: It’s in our culture, it’s the basis of a (rapidly dying) local language, and it is where we as a state came from. The Paris attacks have now given way to a broader U.S. conversation about the acceptance of Syrian refugees, and several states, including Louisiana, have said “No, we’re not cooperating on this.”
But, do you know who is okay with accepting Syrian refugees, the very source of at least one of the terrorists in Paris? Louisiana gubernatorial candidate John Bel Edwards. Via The Hayride:
Edwards’ initial equivocation ultimately led him to alter his position, while Vitter jumped in front of the issue and took a clear position he’s not going to move from.
That’s what you do when the voters believe you’re correct.
Edwards actually had the chance to perhaps sew up the election by calling Obama out in no uncertain terms and demand a stop to any resettlement efforts in Louisiana. He didn’t. He asked for information. But Vitter, who has worked on the issues of immigration and uncontrolled borders for years, didn’t hesitate or equivocate.
And resettling Syrian refugees is not going to be a popular idea in Louisiana. At all.
You see, Edwards’ initial statement was “I’m going to be an active participant in the ongoing conversation with federal authorities.” He spoke of accommodating refugees while at the same time saying that he was going to keep the citizens of his state safe.
Those are the words of a man who is saying something that sounds vaguely responsible while not really wanting to commit to something his party’s leadership is against. And, the initial response to his comments were not taken well by voters on his Facebook page. There were many instances of “You just lost my vote,” etc.
This will be a big issue in this race, and Vitter would do well to capitalize right now. I’m told internals are showing a 2-3 point race, and Edwards has not broken the 50% threshold in those polls. The undecideds, who would naturally feel insecure after a large, high-profile terror attack, want commitment, and Edwards signaled he wasn’t ready to give it.