Elbert Guillory: Bear-Killer, Gadfly, Statesman
The now-famous GOP convert challenges Louisiana blacks to leave Landrieu and the Democratic fold.
By Joel Gehrke, The National Review
Opelousas, La. — To kill a bear in single combat, you’ve just got to avoid its claws and teeth. That’s the first lesson Republican state senator Elbert Guillory, famous for urging black voters to join him in leaving the Democratic party, imparted over lunch at the kind of Louisiana restaurant that has crawfish enchiladas on the menu.
“Get in close,” inside of the paws and under its chin, he advises anyone confronted with such a challenge. The 70-year-old Guillory, wearing a three-piece suit and working on a cup of gumbo, doesn’t look like a bear-killer, but he offers this tactical advice without a hint of self-consciousness.
Guillory likes telling stories, especially the one in which a bear attacks while he and his then-young son camped in western Maryland years ago. Guillory says he killed it with a large knife.
This particular story is less surprising coming from someone looking, this election season, to wrestle a different kind of animal. Guillory wants to drive a wedge between African Americans and Louisiana’s vulnerable incumbent, Senator Mary Landrieu. Guillory has endorsed Representative Bill Cassidy (R., La.) for senator, and, though Democrats have had a lock on the African-American vote for decades, he hopes to help Cassidy receive 15 percent of it in November.
“Unfortunately, the black community over the last few decades, as a community, we have put all our eggs in one basket,” Guillory tells National Review Online. “For me, it’s not so much about helping Cassidy as it is helping my community. If I can get a United States senator who understands the issues and will address those issues, then I will have been successful for Louisiana.”
Landrieu will not provide that help, Guillory says. “The last time we talked, we talked about a post office in Lafayette and the need to keep that post office open,” he says. “She has not discussed with me, during any of our conversations, anything about the general needs of my community — about safety or education or jobs or anything.”
So Guillory denounced her, in a two-minute, 20-second video that might be the best political ad of the cycle, for ignoring the black community.
“While you dig through the couch looking for gas money, she flies around in private jets funded by taxpayer dollars,” Guillory says in the video, which has been viewed more than 350,000 times in the last two weeks. “Mary hasn’t helped us at all. So on November 4, let’s send her back home to her father’s house, or to her mansion in Washington, D.C., or to wherever the heck she lives, because one thing is for sure: She does not live here, on Academy Street, on the Hill.”
Guillory doesn’t think President Obama is any better, accusing him of having a “malevolent” indifference to the plight of the black community.