Category Archives: Gret Stet Politics

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. 

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…

MORE REPUBLICAN SCHEMING?

Wed, 07 Jun 2006 19:14:47

There was an item the other day at Bayou Buzz.com that caught my eye: John (The Greek-American Prince) Georges of New Orleans is considering running for Governor next year. Georges is a well connected and influential Repub insider who is willing to spend up to $10 million of his own lucre on the race. At first it seemed Quixotic to me: we’re all assuming that Congressman Bobby (PBJ) Jindal is preparing for a grudge rematch with Gov Meemaw next year.

I asked around and wasn’t able to come up with anything solid but I have a theory which could be called <drum roll> the Son Of The Oyster-Adrastos Theory. John Georges is a businessman who is unlikely to run for Governor out of a spirit of altruism or without support from his fellow Repubs. He also has ties to Earl Turd Blossom of Rove who is in charge of scheming lying smearing and double dealing at the White House.  But y’all already knew that…

I spoke to Deep Blog and while he/she/it didn’t have any solid info  Deep Blog always has a theory. And it’s always devious: Deep Blog is the only humanoid I know who is more devious when it comes to politics than I am. <choking up with emotion>

Anyway here’s what Deep Blog and I came up with. We think that the Georges thing smells like Rove at work. It’s possible that the White House is encouraging PBJ to step aside and run for the Senate against Mary Landrieu in 2008. It’s only a theory folks but it could explain why a Repub insider like Georges is running for an office that a better known Repub seems to have the inside track on.

If this is true: will Piyush go along with the plot?  I have my doubts. PBJ is out for himself; it’s hard to see him putting his ambition on hold out of party loyalty. Piyush is a hustler and hustlers always ask themselves: what’s in it for me? I’m also unsure as whether or not Louisiana Repubs would go along with such a scheme: PBJ has an excellent chance of beating Meemaw and John Georges is an unknown quantity as a candidate. He’s also unknown to the electorate at large.

Deep Blog and I *don’t* agree about who is more vulnerable: Meemaw or Mary Landrieu. I think that Meemaw is on the ropes and is a long shot to win re-election. Deep Blog thinks that as Governor Meemaw has goodies to dispense and may be able to pork barrel her way to victory. As to Mary’s chances she always has a dog fight on her hands but I think she’ll win another close race. Deep Blog however  thinks that the Repubs are going to put Mary on the social issues rack and tighten the screws mercilessly as a way to defeat her. We shall see…

In the end I’m not sure if *either* of us is right. We both thought Mitch would get 52% of the vote in the late election after all. But it’s always fun to speculate and gossip and nobody does it better than Deep Blog and me. Holy crap now I’m channeling Carly Simon…

Quarter Notes: Adrastos Encounters John Breaux

Sun, 12 Mar 2006 06:00:00
I was slaving away at my part-time gig in the Quarter yesterday afternoon when something interesting happened. (Slaving is a wild overstatement but I’m a piker compared to Crazy Kim.) Former US Senator John Breaux and his wife Lois came into the shop. There was a black guy from the Ninth Ward there and he told the Senator he should run for Governor. Breaux gave a vague answer in Senatorese; now that he’s out of office you’d think he’d give it up either for lent or for good…

Anyway back to my semi-snappy patter with Mr. Breaux in playlet form:

A:  What a relief a politician who isn’t running for anything.

B:  That’s really unusual in New Orleans right now. Y’all have 23 candidates for Mayor…

A:  And at least 3 are certifiable.

B:  That number seems low to me.

I asked him if he was still speaking to Bob Odom (the Louisiana Agriculture Commissioner who wants to draft Breaux to run against Meemaw next year.)  Breaux laughed and then reverted to Senatorese: “He’s really something…”

Now that the Singin’ Lt. Governor is running for Mayor I could think of worse things for Louisiana than John Breaux running for Governor and putting the hurt on Meemaw and Piyush. It’s hard however to think of anything *worse* for Breaux.  He looks like he enjoys being out of office and is such a nice man that I wouldn’t wish trying to clean up the post-K mess on him. Leave it to Eager Beaver Piyush and Meemaw Senator. They deserve the stress and you don’t. But if you change your mind you da man…

Meemaw’s Comeback/New Mayoral Candidates: Egos On Parade

Sat, 18 Feb 2006 16:48:36

It’s the first day of parades in Debrisville and we live right near where they line up so Carnival is inescapable. It’s usually noisy an hour before they roll but it’s eerily quiet right now. I better enjoy that feeling while it lasts: it’s bound to be a fleeting sensation. On to the Looziana political follies.

Item-1 Meemaw’s ComebackThe Special Session was on the verge of a meltdown in the middle of the week but Governor Meemaw got *some* of what she wanted. Instead of one levee board the pols passed a measure for 2 boards in the metro area: one on the West Bank and one for us non-Arabs on this side of the river. <mild rim shot> This wasn’t quite what Meemaw wanted but hey it wasn’t a total failure either. We will still apparently qualify for the federal money to study Cat-5 levees.

On other issues Meemaw won some and lost some but the biggie did pass so she can take a deep breath and enjoy her Adrastos grade of  B-. Most of these issues will pop up again at next month’s regular sesson so she can go bobbing for legislative apples again then.

Item-2 New Mayoral Candidates: Egos On Parade Rich white guy Rob Couhig and fiery black minister Tom Watson have both entered the fray against C Ray. Fat cat lawyer and Repub Couhig is already on TV with an allegedly zany ad poking fun at Mitch Landrieu Gorilla Ron C Ray and the rest of the crowded field. It’s mildly amusing. Less amusing was Rev. Watson’s calling himself a “heavenly son. ” These Prots drive me crazy I tell ya. They oughta don a cassock grow a beard and grab an incense shaker like a proper Holy Joe. Better make that a Holy Yiannis…

I’ll have more on Couhig and Watson later but the folks who got the tree off my house are coming over for parades so I gotta go.

SPECIAL SESSION SAUCE/THE GREAT POTHOLIO/SKANKY WORKMEN

Mon, 06 Feb 2006 17:49:58

Item-1 Special Session Sauce: I’m not sure if it’s time to be scared or glad: Governor Meemaw has called the Legislature into special session. The agenda focuses so much on Debrisville that Meemaw will be giving her session opening speech here at the  Convention Center. I hope they have enough supplies for the pols. Btw it’s the first time in 125 years that the Legislature has met outside of storm ravaged Baton Rouge. (Note to my readers without ties to Red Stick: the people there act as if *they* took the brunt of Katrina. They never stop whining about it. In the immortal words of part-time New Orleans resident Raymond Douglas Davies: “It is time for you to stop all your sobbing.”)

The Gov’s special session call focuses heavily on recovery and reforming NOLA’s bloated government. It’s so bloated that even a big government social democrat like me wants them to make some changes. In Orleans Parish it seems as if every public official is elected: that’s how we wound up with the 7 Dwarfs aka tax assessors. Apparently going down to 1 assessor would immediately save us 800K with more savings down the road. Just imagine the headlines: Meemaw stomps on the 7 dwarfs Dopey flips out Grumpy weeps.

Governor Meemaw also plans to take legislators on a tour of the worst hit areas. Many of them are balking but I think those North Louisiana legislators *really* need to see what happened here. Then maybe they won’t divert recovery money to tennis courts in Bossier City or parking lots in Monroe. I’m a dreamer I know…

Speaking of special session sauciness: In Sunday’s Picayune   James (Bunkie Boy) Gill  wrote an hilarious column that’s worth quoting from:

“All official documents in Baton Rouge of course are written by a team of Martians who have been kept in the Capitol basement ever since their spaceship crashed next to Huey Long’s statue. “

Bunkie Boy also takes a look at the upcoming Crazytown mayoral race:

“Landrieu may well end up serving four or eight years as mayor of New Orleans since conventional wisdom says the job is his for the taking now that Katrina has changed the demographics. There are those who say that only a lunatic would want to be mayor these days and Ray Nagin’s recent pronouncements suggest he is amply qualified for re-election on that score.”

Yeah you right Mr. Gill. Sorry about that Bunkie Boy thing. Save the upper bunkie for me…

Item-2  The Great Potholio:
The streets here were always B-A-D and I don’t mean that in the James Brown sense of the word either. But post-K the potholes have turned into craters. Hand-lettered signs warning drivers about upcoming car eaters are popping up like mushrooms around town. Merci y’all. The biggest pothole near Adrastos World HQ is on the riverbound side of Napoleon Avenue near Coliseum Street. It’s been there so long that I’m thinking of naming it. How does the Great Potholio sound?

People here compete to claim that they have the bull goose (aka biggest) pothole; it’s become a parlor game. Speaking of parlor games the Council of Clowns and C Ray’s krewe of clones are playing pass the pothole buck. Last weekend a city spokesman actually said that they weren’t fixing the potholes because the big ass trucks driven by the dumbass relief workers would just tear them up again anyway. (The adverbs are mine all mine.) Chief flack Forman changed that tune but the potholes remain unfilled.

Item-3 Skanky Workmen Fuel Strip Club Boom: Just when you think that the news from Debrisville couldn’t get any weirder it does. There’s a story in Monday’s local rag about the strip club boom fueled by relief and construction workers. Makes you proud to be an American doesn’t it?

Check this quote out from a waitress (do they still call them B-Girls?) at Rick’s on Bourbon Street:

“Lambert said not all the men are motivated by skin. Some are bored and some are just plain homesick. “I had a guy from Mississippi tell me to please stop emptying his ashtray so he could feel more at home ” she said.”

Full ashtrays are homey? I did not know that he said in his best Johnny Carson imitation. Somebody call Martha Stewart and let her know.

You can tell that there’s a rougher crowd in the Quarter these days. It’s scary to be nostalgic for drunken frat boys and shit-faced conventioneers from Dubuque but we are. Dr. A’s co-dependent co-worker has lived in the heart of the Vieux Carre for years and says that it’s the noisiest its ever been. And that’s saying a lot y’all

We need relief from the relief workers and rescuing from our rescuers.  Kicking skanky workmen ass sounds like a job for Mike Hammer but he prefers classic burlesque strip joints and wouldn’t be caught dead in the Hustler Club. Mike has values folks.

Hey I know I’ll have Mike call fellow fictional characters Tony Soprano and Silvio Dante and get them to invite our skanky workmen to Badda Bing. They’d know what to do if any of those creeps disrespected da Bing.

POLITICAL POTPOURRI

Sat, 28 Jan 2006 17:18:47

Hmmm sounds like a Jeopardy category. Things never seem to let up here in Debrisville. I remember when it was  a sleepy town nicknamed the Big Easy. For some reason that changed in the summer of 2005…

Item-1 Baker: Bush Delivers Louisiana A  Death Blow: W’s Louisiana Repub allies continue to abandon him. Richard Baker and Bobby Jindal are starting to sound like Mary Landrieu in their critique of Beavis Recovery policies. Baker in fact voted with the administration 91% of the time in 2005. Too bad King George the W doesn’t give a damn about what his vassals think. He’s the King or at least he thinks he is and he only listens to other members of the Royal Family (Prince Jeb of Chadshire and the Dowager Empress Bar) and his courtiers: Lady Rice Earl Turd Blossom Lord Rummy and Prime Minister Duce.

Item-2: Mayoral Race Gossip: Today’s NO Politics column dishes some interesting dirt about two potentially powerful candidates: Singin’ Lt. Gov Mitchell and Audubon Nature Institute Potentate Ron Forman. This is clearly a sign that C Ray is in the political ICU: Forman’s wife Sally is C Ray’s chief flack. Forman would also have the support of mighty jungle beasts and sea creatures: from lions to orangutans  to sharks to electric eels. That sort of clout could give Forman an eely good chance. (Pun disclaimer: That’s a Basil Fawlty line so blame John Cleese not me.)

Item-3  Oliver Acts: Token City Council grownup Oliver (Not Twist) Thomas is also an actor. Well all pols are actors but most of them are bad at it: George HW Butt-Head’s King Lear was very unconvincing. On the other hand Tom DeLay makes an excellent Iago…

Anyway back to Council Prez Oliver Thomas. He’s playing the lead in his bud Anthony Bean’s production of August Wilson’s “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone.”  Oliver and the Beanmeister seem to specialize in putting on Wilson’s plays: this is number three and counting. They’re kinda like a Debrisville version of David Mamet and Joe Mantegna.  I don’t however know if Anthony Bean has a potty mouth…

Break a leg Oliver.

 Ice, Ice, Baby In The Bank, Bank, Baby

Tue, 10 Jan 2006 03:53:52

I had a busy day running errands, hatching political conspiracies and meeting the Dentist and the Super-Tech’s newborn baby. But the bloggin’ itch came over me much to your despair.

Item-1 Ice, Ice, Baby In The Bank, Bank, Baby: Lines at Debrisville banks are long and slow so I have time to do some people mocking…I mean watching. There was a high school senior/college freshman age guy behind me in line today, he was very white, white, baby. But like so many other suburban youths (pronounced yoot a la Joe Pesci in My Cousin Vinny) he was wearing the Gap version of gangsta rap clothes: baggy pants and sideways cap. The thing that tickled me was that he was wearing a Boston Red Sox cap.  That made him mos def more Vanilla Ice than Eminem. Hey, Vanilla Ice, the Red Sox were the last team in the big leagues to have an African-American player, the wonderfully named  Pumpsie Green in 1959. I swear I am not making that name up.

At one point Vanilla Ice’s cell phone rang and here’s how he answered: “Yo what up.” All the black people over 30 in line fell out laughing as did your humble blogger. The laughing stock didn’t even notice he was too busy being faux cool. It reminded me of the parody on “In Living Color” with Jim Carrey gyrating to the sound of backup singers going: “He’s white white baby.” That’s right right baby.

Item-2 Hilton University: Historically black Dillard University has re-opened here in Topsy Turvy Town. The Dillard campus was devastated by the storm so the University has taken possession of 30% of the Hilton Riverside Hotel downtown.  Many classes will be held there and 800 students are living at the Hilton. How the hell are they ever gonna get those kids out of their hotel rooms and back to the dorm?  They may have to promise them free beer and iTunes downloads.

Item-3 FEMA Trailer Site Update: Governor Meemaw met with Council Clown Batty on Sunday. They played rock paper scissors: he lost and was obliged to allow trailers to be placed in City Park to house displaced cops and firefighters. Governor Meemaw has yet to meet with the most recalcitrant clown Nimby Clarkson but she’s routed all the others.

As someone who believes in local self-government I  wish that the college of clowns had had the decency and foresight to do the right thing voluntarily without Gubernatorial arm twisting. Give a Louisiana Governor an inch and they’ll take a mile: Huey Long effectively abolished local rule in New Orleans in the 1930’s. If C Ray and the Clowns don’t get their act together federal relief funds might flow exclusively through Baton Rouge which means that our relief money could end up building tennis courts in Shreveport or Bunkie. Wake up and smell the Community Coffee y’all.