Category Archives: Elections

THE MAYOR’S RACE AS SITCOM

Tue, 17 Nov 2009 14:53:27

I’m beginning to warm to the New Orleans Mayor’s race; not because of substance there doesn’t appear to be any. The race as it slowly takes shape seems to have strong elements of farce. It won’t make for good guvmint but the comic possibilities are seemingly endless. It could be sitcomtastic or is that sitcomlicious?

There’s James Dot Com Perry who’s running his campaign on Twitter and Facebook and seems to spend much of his time raising money out of state. It’s a pity: James Dot Com is *potentially* an interesting outsider candidate but he needs to shut down his laptop stop tweeting and knock on some doors to meet some actual voters. This virtual candidacy thing is from hunger unless there’s some shoe leather expended in support of it. We’ve already had the Wizard of Oz for Mayor we don’t need a virtual one to replace  him.
 
Leslie Jacobs seems to be flirting with the idea of running even though her expertise such as it is is in education and the Mayor has bupkis to do with the schools. But she *is* rich and Sandy Rosenthal is her sister-in-law which could lead to a loose cannon relative sub-plot and that’s *always* fun. I was under the impression however that Ms. Jacobs is a Mike Foster Republican and this town isn’t going to elect a White Gooper. Just ask Rob Couhig. Oops poor comparison Ms Jacobs has a full head of hair and isn’t notably obnoxious… UPDATE: Ms. Jacobs had a meet and greet last night and said that she was a “lifelong Democrat” despite her association with Foster. That’s a fact that she needs to get out there. 

John Georges continues to disprove the notion that all Greeks have a bit of Zorba in them. He’s an opa nopa y’all. Mr. Georges has more money than God but no discernible personality. The only thing interesting about the vending machine magnate is his wobbly political journey from Republican to Independent to Democrat. (Hmm I wonder if he plans to revive the Whig party next?)  He mistakenly thinks that running first in Orleans Parish in the 2007 Governor’s race is significant when it was all about the street money. Georges has enough cold hard cash to finish as high as second or third in an open field but if he’s elected Mayor I will eat one of Mark Folse’s straw hats under the gaze of General/President Jackson in the Square. Having said that I do find Georges’ delusions of grandeur to be most amusing. He could play the eccentric millionaire who’s so dull that he’s funny in our sitcom. Yeah that’s the ticket.

Ed Murray’s part in the campaign is obvious: every sitcom needs a straight man and who’s duller than Ed? Well John Georges is but he’s already been cast. Murray’s main asset is that he’s not C Ray Nagin: a man who dreams big and delivers small. Murray looks increasingly like the tortoise in this race but now that I think of it there aren’t any hares. I have one suggestion for Murray to liven things up: he could claim to be baseball Hall of Famer Eddie Murray to capture the vital Orioles fan vote…

Mitch Landrieu is doing some polling to see if he should think again about considering to run even though he said he wouldn’t. I like Mitch; he’s a nice guy with a fine tenor singing voice but the Hamlet act is wearing thin. He’s becoming the Adlai Stevenson of NOLA politics: a guy who can’t make up his mind and wears his indecision on his sleeve. Adlai only won one election in his life so Mitch has that beat; except in New Orleans Mayoral races where he’s 0 and 2. Of course if he does run the Landrieus can revive their brother and sister act: Mary is currently dancing the old soft shoe about health care reform after all…
 
Finally I am somewhat alarmed about the impact that this sitcom of an election is having on Clancy DuBos. He seems to be channeling some movie or tevee wise guy in his latest column but I’m not sure which one it is. It can’t be Joey Pants from The Sopranos Jeffrey’s already got the pants angle zipped locked up. Clancy’s too tall to be Al Pacino in any of his wise guy roles although the fuhgettaboutit shtick is straight out of Donny Brasco. Hmm now that I think of it Clancy is more like Nathan Detroit of Guys and Dolls fame. Our local Damon Runyon Ronnie Virgets has been known to turn a colorful phrase or three in the pages of the Gambit after all. Btw Ronnie would be an outstanding recurring character in our wee sitcom: the zany Yat in a loud shirt who breezes in cracking wise and then takes every one off to the race track. Hilarity ensues..
 
Oh well this race could make the sanest person crazy and drive a Mormon to drink but at least it’s entertaining. It’s a pity however that the stakes are so high: the city is crying out for leadership and instead I’m casting a sitcom which is particularly ironic since the *original* 2010 frontrunner was Oliver the actor whose act is currently wowing them in the big house. 

 

THE NEO-YIPPIES

Sat, 22 Dec 2007 06:00:10

It was a nasty Friday in New Orleans: gray damp and foggy which was fitting weather for the day after the debacle at City Hall. The weather also matched my mood but I did have a brief moment of clarity (sunshine?) when I realized who the loony left activists who have hijacked the public housing debate remind me of: Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin who dubbed themselves Yippies. In reality they were the Abbott and Costello of the Sixties New Left: they were in it for the theatre and nothing else.

Abbie HoffmanRubin-Pig

L: ABBIE HOFFMAN DEEP THINKER. R: JERRY RUBIN & A PIG.

I’ve heard from several people who were in the Council chamber at the beginning of the day that the whole punch-up looked staged to provoke an overreaction from the Council and cops. If that’s so it worked as did the gate rattling by the neo-Yippies outside. While it may have been great drama it was a disgrace: both the police and demonstrators acted badly. I intensely dislike the use of tasers; if applied to a person with heart problems they can be fatal. Mercifully that didn’t happen. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.

I think that the neo-Yippies will only be in town for as long as they can have their antics splashed on teevee and all over the internet. What’s more worrisome is the way that more sincerely motivated local activists have allowed these clowns to hijack their cause. The neo-Yippies are in it for the theatre: they don’t care about poor people in New Orleans. They’re into bringing bullhorns into public meetings and live to brag about lying down in front of bulldozers. Drama for drama’s sake is what the Jay Arenas of the world crave. 

Back to the original Yippies: Hoffman and Rubin. They were experts at hijacking worthy causes and turning them into violent farces by provoking the police to use the weapons of the day: nightsticks and tear gas. On black Thursday we saw tasers and pepper spray used at our very own mini-riot. Here’s hoping that it’s not just a warm-up for a bigger conflagration.

Finally,  my favorite Abbie Hoffman story. At Woodstock Hoffman briefly commandeered a microphone during the Who’s set. The Who were neither Yippies nor Hippies so when Pete Townshend realized they were being upstaged by Hoffman he did the only sensible thing possible: he kicked the Yippie foole in the ass and off the stage. Talk about direct action…

 

THE CAMPAIGN: SLOW MOTION JINDALIZATION

Mon, 23 Jul 2007 19:38:15

The Sunday Picayune had a dull story about how dull the Gubernatorial race has been thus far. In fact it’s been so dull that I should have put the word campaign in quotes in the title. It’s not ususal for a campaign in the Gret Stet to snooze through the summer but the quieter things are on the campaign trail the better it is for the frontrunner Bobby Jindal.

Jindal formally announced his bid last Monday but it was overshadowed by the Vitty-n-Wendy show. I expect that Jindal’s handlers were fuming: Vitty was well aware of the planned roll out and was supposed to participate in the stop in Kenner. But Vitty is a law to himself and has a Vittycentric view of the universe. In Vitty cosmology he’s the sun and the moon as well as the john…

Jindal is playing it very close to the vest. He has the reputation as a policy wonk but his campaign is vague and themeless. He has a big lead and is trying to run out the clock. I expect his opponent Walter Boasso to start  comparing Jindal to Thomas Dewey and himself to the patron saint of underdogs Harry Truman. Behind in the polls? An unpopular President? Compare yourself to the feisty haberdasher from Mizzou. The problem with that analogy is that polls are much more accurate than in Truman’s day. Democrat Walter Boasso has his work cut out for him as does North Louisiana populist Foster Campbell.

Then there’s the ulitmate wild card: Dallas Ray Nagin. There was a blurb in the local rag wherein State Senator Cleo Fields discusses the possibilty of a bid by baldy. Nagin is not a serious threat to anyone but the people of Debrisville and why Fields thinks that C Ray could force Jindal into a run-off is a mystery to me. Absent some bizarre twist Jindal has an excellent shot at winning the primary and Jindalizing the gret stet.

It will be very interesting to see if the Boy Wonder becomes the Boy Blunder if he moves into the Governor’s mansion. I’m glad he has a direct line to Jeee-sus. I hope the big guy isn’t too busy forgiving Vitty to return Jindal’s calls…

Stay tuned. 

THE NIGHT I KINDA, SORTA MET THE CANAL STREET MADAM

Wed, 11 Jul 2007 05:01:13

How’s that for a teaser? And no I did not frequent her bordello. Get your minds out of the gutter folks. And that means you blondie.

T’was the night before the 2004 Presidential Election. Dr. A and I joined a group of friends,  Romans and countrymen at the corner of Napoleon and Magazine to wave Kerry-Edwards signs and encourage people to vote out the dolt. We all know how that turned out.

At one point I was on the neutral ground across the street from Miss Mae’s bar. There was a tall brunette who a tabloid writer would call statuesque. I suspect that Ashley or Ray would call her something else. Anyway I chatted with her for a few minutes about how horrible Bush was and I predicted that Kerry would win. We all know how that turned out too.
 
A few minutes later someone (I can’t recall who but it might have been Bob, Cookie Tom,  Julie or Jen) said to me: “Did you realize who you were talking to?”

“Nope. But she looked kinda familiar.”

“It was the Canal Street Madam.”

Tagged

NO, NO JOHN BREAUX

Wed, 23 May 2007 18:42:06

I wanted John Breaux to run for Governor and was disappointed when he did not. That is until I read a letter to the editor from the former Senator in Tuesday’s Picayune. What bugged me about  Breaux’s letter? Breaux came out against the Charity Hospital System and by implication the plans to build a large teaching hospital in downtown New Orleans.  This is the passage that bothered me the most:

“And we should applaud all of the private and non-profit hospitals and community physicians that have stepped up to serve all patients including the uninsured often without compensation. These providers have brought high-quality convenient care to uninsured and underinsured patients since Hurricane Katrina and want to continue to do so. I am proud to be working with the Coalition of Leaders for Louisiana Healthcare a group of health care and business leaders who have made it their priority to continue the work of the Louisiana Health Care Redesign Collaborative. “

It all sounds very lofty doesn’t it? Sneaky is the right word: Breaux fails to mention that the law/lobbying firm he works for Patton Boggs represents the Wal-Mart wannabe of local medicine: Ochsner Clinic. So John Breaux is out to help Ochsner and the insurance companies line their pockets in the name of  “patient choice.”  I put quotes around the last phrase because it’s a fictional conceit; especially in physician-lite post-K Debrisville. In the past I avoided going to Ochsner docs because of the clinic’s convoluted and inept billing system. But Ochsner has swallowed the competition in its quest to become the Wal-Mart of New Orleans metro area medicine. Some choice.

The Charity Hospital system ain’t perfect but it’s necessary. Doctors around the world get their training in public hospitals treating poor people.  Louisiana is NOT the only state that has public hospitals but that’s what anti-Charity interests want people to believe. The proposed downtown teaching hospital is important for the future of our state and city. If Ochsner gets away with its attempt to monopolize health care in our area we are screwed.

Back to John Breaux. He has the right to sell out to the highest bidder but he shouldn’t cloak the interests of his lobbying firm beneath highfalutin words and noble sentiments. I’m glad that he’s not running for Governor.  He might have been the temporary savior of the Louisiana Democratic party but he would have destroyed the Charity Hospital system in the name of reform. I’m not sure what Bobby Jindal’s position is on the downtown teaching hospital BUT it couldn’t be worse than John Breaux’s.

Finally Oyster has an excellent post about Breaux’s Gubernatorial campaign tease. LINK.

THE EDDIE HASKELL FACTOR

 Thu, 08 Feb 2007 

I grew up in an assimilationist immigrant family. My paternal grandfather came to the US because he was from a tiny village in the mountains of Southern Greece. His family had more goats than prospects so he left. He made it big in America and my late father never tired of telling me stories about his plucky hustler of a father. In short I should find the saga of Piyush (Bobby) Jindal to be inspiring. I don’t. Piyush is the classic immigrant striver. They used to call his kind of chap an Eager Beaver. Harold Lloyd played one in his classic silent film comedies. A working class boy struggling to reach the top. Climb Harold climb.

The fictional eager beaver who Bobby Jindal most resembles is Eddie Haskell of the elderly but endlessly rerun sitcom Leave It To Beaver. Eddie was a smart ass bully when dealing with those weaker and younger than him but he was a smarmy ass kisser around the grown-ups. He was forever telling June Cleaver how lovely she looked in her poodle skirt and apron. Jindal strikes me as a classic know it all Eddie Haskell kiss up and kick down kind of guy.

The Eddie Haskell factor as much as his ethnicity cost Jindal the 2003 Governor’s race. He came off as a smirking smart alec who was always eager to tell you how smart and accomplished he was. In contrast Meemaw was maternal and patient. Her pleasant personality trumped his ability to speak in complete sentences. Piyush also made some rather astonishing claims about how he turned the state health care system around. If that’s the case why did it suffer an immediate relapse after he skedaddled off to his next job?

Jindal is a classic job hopper. He’s always got his resume updated and is eager to move on. That’s been his pattern. He’s only been in the House for a few years and he’s ready to change jobs already. Does he have the stick-to-itiveness that being Governor post-K requires? His track record indicates otherwise. Will he run against Mary Landrieu in 2008? Or does he want to be the first Indian-American (dots not feathers as my friend Maitri once said) to be on a national ticket? Is he willing to commit to serving a full 4 year term as Governor? Of course he could do so and cross his fingers behind his back. That’s what Eddie Haskell would do. Right Sam? Heh heh heh…

Past generations of Louisiana pols considered the Governorship to be the cat’s ass. I knew Congressman Gillis Long quite well. He was one of the most powerful members of the House in the Seventies and Eighties but he considered making a third run for the Governorship in 1979. Why? It was the ultimate job for a Louisiana politician. He decided not to run. His publicly stated reason was poor health and that *was* one of the reasons. But he told me that the primary reason was that he couldn’t stand the thought of asking the same people for money again. I somehow doubt that such a thought would cross Hustler Piyush’s mind. He’s always looking for the main chance. Just like Eddie Haskell.

The thing that strikes me about Bobby Jindal is that his political philosophy is the product of coming of age in ultra Conservative Baton Rouge. He was able as a young man to latch onto Big Daddy Mike Foster and ride his coattails into high appointed office. If Jindal had grown up in Massachusetts he’d be a liberal Democrat. It’s all about the hustle for Jindal. Being a Conservative Repub was his way to rise in the Gret Stet and Jindal always keeps his eye on the prize. But this is essentially a nation of hustlers so it may well be Jindal’s time. Climb Bobby climb.

It will be very interesting to see if Jindal can hold the huge lead he has currently. I’m not sure if voter’s remorse will trump the Eddie Haskell Factor but it will be fun to watch. Louisiana politics are more fun than either a barrel of monkeys or a ferret down your trousers. Btw Editor B thinks the latter is quite amusing. Consider the source:  he’s a man who recommends menudo and pickled herring as hangover cures…

DOLLAR BILL & THE DOZENS: CONGRESSIONAL RACE UPDATE

Mon, 18 Sep 2006 20:31:35

Thus far the campaign for Louisiana’s Second Congressional District has been a real snoozer. I *wish* that the dozen candidates who have filed against Dollar Bill were really giving him the dozens but so far they’ve been flying below radar. None of the supposed major candidates Karen Carter Troy Carter Derrick Shepherd Joe Lavigne or Regina Bartholomew has done much to distinguish themselves. Karen Carter has picked up some major endorsements: Oliver Thomas and Cynthia Hedgehog-Morrell to name a few. Joe Lavigne got into trouble with some local Repubs with his ads blasting President Beavis but he’s a non-factor in the long run anyway: the chances that the Second District will send a white Republican to Congress are slim and none. I’m listing Lavigne as a “major candidate” as a courtesy: I’ve met him at two events and he seems to be a nice guy. He’s also the only Republican on the ballot so he should be able to fall out of bed and get 10% of the vote in a primary. Thud.

There are two polls out as of now. The first one sounds reliable. Jeff Crouere at Bayou Buzz has reported on a poll conducted by Verne Kennedy. It confirms that Dollar Bill is in trouble: he’s running first but with only 25%; truly horrible numbers for an eight term incumbent. Karen Carter is at 14% Lavigne at 13% and Shepherd at 9%. Shepherd seems to be running as the West Bank regional candidate: he’s been endorsed by Councilman James Carter and his predecessor Jackie Clarkson.

The second poll is being touted by Joe Lavigne on his web site: it’s based on the dubious proposition that he’ll get into a run-off with Dollar Bill. The “poll” shows Dollar Bill with 31% and Lavigne at 29% with the rest undecided. It’s good for a chuckle snort snigger or cackle and that’s all. If Joe Lavingne makes a run-off against Dollar Bill I’ll eat a piece of pickled herring. That’s how confident I am that it won’t happen.

The bad news for those of us who want change is that Dollar Bill’s legal problems remain on hold because of litigation involving the search of his Congressional Office. TPM Muckraker’s Paul Kiel reported last week that Jefferson is unlikely to be indicted before Election Day:

That’s not due to weakness in the Justice Department’s case — documents from the investigation show that the government has a wealth of evidence based on surveillance an FBI informant’s taping of conversations and the testimony of two men who’ve pled guilty to bribing Jefferson. Prosecutors are reportedly very close to an indictment. Rather the case is bogged down in litigation resulting from the FBI’s raid of Jefferson’s congressional office.

 Sources close to the case tell Roll Call‘s John Bresnahan that the DoJ is unlikely to indict Jefferson without the documents seized from his office. They’re still waiting to get those. A judge ruled in July that Jefferson must see them first; he gets a chance to contest certain materials being handed over based on his constitutional privilege. At issue is whether the docs qualify as legislative materials under the Speech or Debate Clause. The whole process is likely to go on through October meaning Jefferson won’t be forced to campaign under federal indictment.”

I’m beginning to wonder if Dollar Bill decided to refuse to turn over the documents from his office in order to force the Justice Department’s hand. Dollar Bill is as crafty as he is crooked so it’s not a stretch to believe that he anticipated how much shit would hit the fan after a search. It also allows him to campaign as a martyr at the hands of Bush’s DoJ and FBI. It’s not a bad campaign strategy but it’s a lousy legal strategy where he’ll be tried: Northern Virginia land of civil servants and retired military officers.

Now that a pre-election indictment is out I think that Dollar Bill will be able to ooze back into office unless his opponents stop sparring and start punching in earnest. I hope that I’m wrong but the real race is probably for second place. It should be very interesting whatever happens.

THE DOLLAR BILL DOZEN

 Tue, 15 Aug 2006 19:01:46

No this is NOT a song list but a post about our Klepto Congressman’s declared foes. (I can’t believe it took me this long to sing a song of Dollar Bill: I risked losing my “All Dollar Bill All The Time” accreditation.) There are 9 wannabes 1 longshot and 2 who have a shot at taking out Dollar Bill.

I list former councilman and state legislator Troy Carter as a longshot. His 2002 Mayoral campaign tanked and he’s divided his time between here and North Carolina since leaving office. The one thing Carter has going for him is that he’s from the West Bank and if they still remember him that’s a plus. Frankly he was an empty suit on the Council and I don’t know whether or not his campaign will take-off. But ya never know.

The 2 contenders are State Senator Derrick Shepherd and State Rep. Karen Carter. Shepherd has two major liabilities: he’s from Marrero and he has the reputation of being the political equivalent of nomadic basketball coach Larry Brown. The Marrero base could be an advantage in the primary BUT a major disadvantage in the run-off. I’m an ABDB voter BUT do I want a Congressman from Marrero? Not bloody likely…

That brings me to Karen Carter. She’s smart articulate and reform minded. She’s one of the black legislators who refused to drink the C Ray as Civil Rights hero Kool-Aid and supported Mitch. She’s also the BOLD candidate and they’re the only alphabet soup political organization that still has any influence. If I were voting today it would be for Ms. Carter.

Dollar Bill still has a chance to be re-elected: he’s going to play the martyr card for all it’s worth. I expect an October indictment which has more to do with national Republican strategy than anything else. It will be a very interesting and very dirty campaign. Dollar Bill’s machine depends on his position for the money to keep the engine lubed. If he loses the wheels will fall off the machine. Let’s keep our fingers crossed. Hell even if he gets his sleazy ass re-elected Dollar Bill is likely to be rooming with Rob Ney or Duke Cunningham in a Club Fed by this time next year.

MAYORAL POST-MORTEM: THE FIRST CUT IS THE DEEPEST

Mon, 22 May 2006 15:50:51

Jeez now I appear to be channeling Cat Stevens currently Yusuf Islam. But he was originally a nice Anglo-Greek boy named Steven Dimitri Georgiou and I’m Greek. Of course I’m not all that nice but I’m not on any terrorist watch lists either. Steven/Cat/Yusuf shouldn’t be either. End of introductory digression.

There has been lots of discussion of how the outcome of the late not so great Mayoral election could have been changed. I’m not sure that tactical shifts by the Landrieu people could have changed the outcome: the big picture broke against Mitch in the last week. Besides in my view strategy wins elections not tactics.

* C Ray As Unlikely Race Man: As the Picayune’s Lolis Eric Elie put it in his column this morning:

“In an era where the words “civil rights” have little to do with the rights guaranteed in the Constitution and everything to do with race relations Ray Nagin became a civil rights issue. Black voters may have serious reservations about some Nagin policies but these differences were seen as intra-family issues.

Black voters weren’t going to spank Nagin in public especially if white voters were going to join in the spanking.”

I think that this factor made it difficult for Mitch to win a higher percentage of the black vote. The fact that he was the*real* liberal Democrat in this race could not overcome identity politics. All the tactical scheming in the world couldn’t overcome this factor.

As wise local pundit Silas Lee has said both before and after the election Hurricane Katrina produced sympathy for C Ray in the black community that wasn’t there pre-K. It of course should have produced revulsion over his incompetence BUT many folks thought that THE MAN was picking on C Ray. Election Day produced a backlash that confirmed Mr. Lee’s thinking on this issue. Besides incompetence has rarely been punished by the voters here and C Ray is a genial incompetent.

* The Oliver Thomas Factor: Non-factor is a more  accurate description. It was an open secret in political circles that Council Prez Oliver Thomas had lost faith in C Ray and was voting for Mitch. This open secret alas was never shared with the general public in the form of an endorsement. In fact Oliver was willing to predict that Mitch would win BUT only to the national press. He laid low locally.

I know that Oliver had good reasons for NOT endorsing either candidate: he had to work with the winner. BUT an endorsement from Oliver the Actor would have helped Mitch in the black community without hurting him with white voters. Oliver may be the political child of BOLD boss Jim Singleton but he is a very cautious politician: if he had run for Mayor he probably would have won.  To the bold goes the gold. Holy crap I sound like Jesse Jackson now…

* Mitch’s Tactics: Lots of people have said to me that if only Mitch had done certain things tactically he  would have won. There are some things that he could have done better: going after C Ray’s record more aggressively and making a stronger case for himself as a challenger; especially in the televised forums. A good friend of mine thinks that Mitch should have done more to turn out “casual” white voters. I think that all of these things MIGHT have helped but Mitch was swimming against the historical tide: his campaign was haunted by ghost of Donald Mintz and his runs for Mayor in 1990 and 1994.

Donald Mintz was a wonderful man and would have made a much better Mayor than either Sindey Barthelemy or Marc Morial but he was not only white but Jewish. An anti-Semitic whispering campaign went on in both of his elections which was the equivalent of the too many Landrieus with too much power slander this time around. I remember flyers in both 1990 and 1994 that essentially said: don’t let THOSE people take our city away. In 2006 Mitch was slandered from both the left and the right. And it was done so late in the campaign that responding was well nigh impossible.

It’s very hard for tactics to overcome large historical factors. If Mitch had been willing to use Rovian scorched political earth tactics against C Ray he *might* have been able to pull it out. BUT the cost would have been too high: Rovian tactics win elections but they’re one of the reasons that Bush’s popularity is in a free fall.

* The Oyster-Adrastos Theory Comes Alive: Hmm that sounds vaguely Framptonesque. The theory of course is that Republicans both nationally and statewide wanted C Ray re-elected in order to have him as a useful idiot/whipping boy for the GOP. As Johnny Winter would surely put it the theory is still alive and well and supported by Bush’s election night phone call to his bobo C Ray: “Nagin said Bush was pleased with the result of Saturday’s election. “He said ‘I’ve been through the storm with you and we’ve gone through some tough times together. And I’d rather continue the rebuild with you in that mode because I understand what you’re all about and I feel comfortable with that ‘ ” Nagin said.”

I hope C Ray doesn’t sit by his phone waiting for his big shot Repub buddies to help him out. The White House will drop him like a hot potato: they usually slime betray and abandon their allies; just ask Tony Blair or former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

* Local Media Bias: Yeah I know Mitch got all the major endorsements but with the exception of Gambit’s Clancy DuBos all the local print and TV pundits were hard on Mitch and gave C Ray a pass.  The TV people especially WWL’s Dennis Woltering and WDSU’s Norman Robinson were amazingly soft on C Ray during the campaign. Why? C Ray is colorful shoots from the lip and he’s charmed the hell out of the local media. They were briefly hard on C Ray post-K but they have fallen back into their wicked wicked pre-K ways.

This bias played itself out most spectacularly in the coverage of Doug Brinkley’s book “The Great Deluge.” The local press corps made it sound as if the book was a wall-to-wall attack on C Ray. I’m about halfway through the book and while Brinkley is hard on C Ray political commentary is only  part of it. Brinkley has been depicted as a sort of academic Captain Ahab who is obsessed with C Ray but that’s untrue. Much of the book deals with people who were directly affected by the storm and the many people who stepped up and made a difference. Shame on the local press corps for swallowing the Nagin camp’s spin hook line and sinker.

That’s the end of my first whack at what I suspect will be an ongoing discussion of what happened. I see signs already that the Democratic circular firing squad is forming. Me I think that C Ray *won* the election as opposed to Mitch losing it. The real losers are the people of New Orleans; especially residents of areas like New Orleans East and the lower Ninth who voted for C Ray and are about to get a royal screwing at the hands of fat cat developers.

Storyville 2006/1990 Repeat

Sun, 21 May 2006 05:00:00

“To some of the folks who went on the other side   you went to the red light district.  I forgive you.” The Reverend C Ray Nagin 5/20/2006

The one good thing about this election is that it’s over. The people have spoken and they may be nuts but they have spoken. Let’s start with the good news: there will be 4 new members of the city council and I won’t have the Queen Of Hearts Jay Batty and Renee Gill-Pratfall to kick around any more. That’s the glass is half full part of this post.

Here’s the glass is half empty bit: C Ray was re-elected. Mitch ran a valiant if overly polite campaign but I think he was done in by things beyond his control. A tip of the hat to Jeffrey of the Library Chronicles for his prescient post about identity politics and how it would enable C Ray to win. Jeffrey was right.

Another key to C Ray’s victory was that he got out of the way and allowed his veteran campaign consultant Jim Carvin to run the show during the runoff. Carvin was instrumental in stage managing C Ray’s subtle message of fear and in helping Nagin to assemble his weirdo coalition. One component was conservative whites who hate the Landrieus and don’t care for black folks either but think of C Ray as “one of the good ones.” Another component was black people who were worried that THE MAN was about to take away their hold on power in New Orleans. As proven by Presidents Beavis in 2004 and Tricky Dick in 1972 fear of change and of the other is a very powerful electoral tool.

C Ray’s victory speech was typically bizarre. He started by quotin’ scriptures and later startled his audience by thanking President Bush for his help. Yes folks it was Oyster-Adrastos theory time. I heard a few people in the crowd gasp but C Ray boogied on in his ADD way.

There was one part of C Ray’s speech that was an in yo’ face shot at Landrieu supporters. That’s right the quote that began this post: …you went to the red light district.  I forgive you. Gee Ray thanks a lot but you’re sounding a bit too much like dangerblond for comfort. Some of us went to Storyville willingly and are proud to be whores…

Finally C Ray’s victory tonight is eerily reminiscent of Sidney Barthelemy’s 1990 re-election campaign win. (Jim Carvin also worked for Sidney. So much for C Ray being purer than Caesar’s wife.) In 1986 Sidney ran against my good buddy Dollar Bill Jefferson. Sidney was elected by a coalition of middle class blacks and white voters just like C Ray in 2002. As Mayor Sidney was if anything even more incompetent than C Ray. Scary no? In 1990 lawyer and civic activist Donald Mintz ran against Sidney. Donald was an outstanding candidate: smart   articulate and a staunch liberal. He was also probably too much of a gentleman for his own good. Sound familiar? Sidney was able to whip up fears in the black community that THE MAN was coming and was re-elected by the same people who opposed him 4 years earlier. History alas has repeated itself. I was hoping that the crisis would break the pattern but it did not. Debrisville has a long history of tolerating incompetence which the voters just extended for another 4 years.

EPILOGUE: Sidney Barthelemy’s second term was even worse than his first: crime exploded and the city continued its decline. The main difference between C Ray and Sidney is that C Ray isn’t  perceived to be corrupt.  Otherwise the parallels are eerie. <cueing the theme from The Twilight Zone>