Thursday, November 05, 2015

The time Jay Dardenne filed a nuissance suit against a parody ad

Y'all remember this thing that happened last year, right
Louisiana is suing national left-leaning policy group MoveOn.org in federal court, saying it violated trademark rules when it put up a billboard and commissioned television ads critical of Gov. Bobby Jindal that use the state's tourism logo and motto.

Republican Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne has been locked in a pitched battle with the group for weeks, unsuccessfully calling for it to take down the billboard that is currently up on the I-10 coming into Baton Rouge from Port Allen.

"We have invested millions of dollars in identifying the Louisiana: Pick Your Passion brand with all that is good about Louisiana. No group should be allowed to use the brand for its own purposes, especially if it is for partisan political posturing," Dardenne said in a statement announcing the suit. 
Appropriating a "brand" or a state-endorsed informational campaign for the purposes of satire of political speech is legally actionable in Jay Dardenne's America.  Unfortunately, we still aren't living there quite yet so you'd have a hard time convincing most courts to rule in the state's favor in such cases.  Dardenne had to drop the suit a few months later
Dardenne’s dropping of the suit Monday came five weeks after a federal judge in Baton Rouge refused to order MoveOn to take down the billboard.

U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick ruled in early April that the state failed to demonstrate a compelling reason to curtail MoveOn’s political speech in favor of protecting the state’s registered “Pick Your Passion” trademark.

Dardenne said Tuesday that because the judge declined to issue a preliminary injunction against MoveOn, his office chose not to seek a permanent injunction.

“We felt like the best course of action was to dismiss the lawsuit,” he said.
That Dardenne would waste as much time and money as he did bringing the suit in the first place is noteworthy, though. MoveOn was criticizing Bobby Jindal's refusal to accept federal Medicaid funds available to states as part of the Affordable Care Act. Dardenne chose to slap them over it.

That sounds like an absurd, ideology-driven waste and yet Gambit assures us that Dardenne is "not hide-bound by ideology."  They must have meant a different Darenne than the one I watched in the debates.  That Dardenne, like his fellow Republicans, favored an insane ideology-driven, foot-dragging approach to Medicaid expansion.   That Dardenne exhibited contempt for minimum wage workers in parroting discredited right wing dogma about a mandated living wage leading to mass unemployment. That Dardenne even suggested a scheme by which state highway maintenance could be farmed out to private operators who he would permit to collect tolls. In short, Jay Dardenne was not exactly the most ideologically flexible figure one could imagine.

But, okay, maybe Gambit has a small teensy-weensy bit of a point. I mean, after all, this happened, right?
Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, one of three Republican opponents of Democrat John Bel Edwards in the governor's race primary, crossed party lines Thursday (Nov. 5) to endorse Edwards over Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter.

"The Republican brand has been damaged by the failed leadership of Bobby Jindal during this last term," Dardenne said in making his announcement. "David Vitter's governorship will further damage that brand as I and others have pointed out during the campaign. I cannot and will not sit idly by and refuse to speak truth to power."
Well we already knew Jay is ready to take extraordinary steps to defend a brand. Has anyone examined Vitter's billboards for potential trademark violations? As for that "truth to power" thing.. well... I'm assuming there's probably something a bit more in it for Jay.

A few weeks ago, our friend Lamar pulled out this quote from one of our favorite books
It is unusual for a candidate to win first time around, and if one does he arouses a certain amount of resentment as a spoilsport. After the first primary, each beaten candidate and his backers trade off their support to one of the two men who are still alive, in exchange for what he will bind himself to do for them in the way of legislation, patronage or simple commercial advantage. Naturally, the runoff candidate who looks more likely to win can buy support at lower political prices than the other fellow, but by trying to drive too hard a bargain he may send the business to the underdog. Many a man has beaten himself that way. A Louisiana politician can't afford to let his animosities carry him away, and still less his principles, although there is seldom difficulty in that department.

Jay Dardenne may or may not be "hide-bound by ideology" but, fortunately, he's not particularly restricted by his principles either.

All that remains now is to open the betting pool on what the prize might be. I saw some tweets last night suggesting Edwards might offer him a job as Commissioner of Administration. But that seems like a bad fit politically for both men, not to mention an awkward choice just from an administrative getting-shit-done standpoint.  I'm thinking maybe an appointment to the LSU Board of Supervisors is in the works sometime next year.  It's ostensibly apolitical (but not really).  It's sort of in the background but also close to a lot of action.  And it looks sort of dignified being at least nominally connected to higher education and to Dardenne's beloved LSU where from his endorsement of Edwards was staged this week.

Dardenne endorsing Edwards Wednesday. Actual photo

The good news, if there is any here, is that we're one step closer to taking down the literal worst person in Louisiana politics. Or.. at least.. we're a step closer to sending him back to the United States Senate where he can probably stay for the rest of his life if he wants.  So, yay!

On the other hand, Gambit endorsed Edwards today which can't be a good sign.  Maybe we'll just have to sit back and watch this one for a bit longer. 

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