Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Saving ourselves this Saturday

As the runoff election approaches, commentators in the traditional and alternative media are trying to puzzle out how the mayoral race will turn out. Reading Sunday's Frank Donze story seems to have a subtext that Nagin will have a hard time winning re-election. Bayou Buzz agrees.

The online bloggers of a political bent are mixed. Ernie the Attorney offers a non-partisan post of a friend's view of Nagin from the outside. I'm still outside myself, and tend to agree: re-electing Nagin won't quite by the equivalent of D.C. returning Marion Barry post drug bust, but it will be bad enough. Third Battle of N.O. offers a repost of an editorial that amounts to an anybody but Nagin endorsement.

More revealing is the comment thread on the Moon Meme posts on Oyster's Right Hand Thief, (where the author himself is pretty clear in his views on Nagin here). The blogging community (or at least the regular readers of RHT) clearly reject the virulently anti-Landrieu crowd for the sublimated racism.

In response to the general idea that the Landrieu's are "old New Orleans politics" (that is, corrupt), blogger dangerblonde is offering $50 cash money to anybody with a credible story of Landrieu corruption. So far she has no takers. If you're looking for corrupt motives, look at GOP-tied candidates who ran against Nagin then endorsed him, such as Rob Couhig. These are people who would sell out the city's well being for political advantage. They are not our friends.

I think I have to agree with Ernie the Attorney's friend and Citibusiness: Nagin had his chance to rise up to the post-K challenge, and has failed. His re-election would make it easier for our city's enemies (foreign and domestic) to block funding for recovery. He can't deal with either the internal or external challenges. And time is running out.

Whatever Landrieu's faults as a lifetime politician, he clearly has the skills we need to remake the relationship with Baton Rouge and Washington. What we need to deal with a disinterested President and Congress and a dysfunctional relationship with both Baton Rouge and Washington is a professional politician, someone who is dialed in to Baton Rouge and Washington, and who can cut us a better deal.

We need someone who can attract voters of both races, and start brining them together on the common challenges the city faces. One thing Landrieu brings to the table is the good will of black voters of a certain age, who will remember his father reaching out for their votes. He also brings an air of competence that should enable him to attract white voters, at least those don't buy into the racist view that Moon started the city's slide by encouraging "them" to vote.

He also brings any goodwill toward his sister, who falls clearly into the practical part of the Democratic Party exemplified by John Breaux, which believes government existst to get things done for people (including not but exclusively business people). That is the approach we need right now, not the laissez-faire approach favored by many who support Nagin.

As Landrieu is fond of saying, what was OK pre-K is no longer OK. That's an awfully simplistic formulation, but its exactly what the city needs right now. It's clear from the reaction (or lack thereof) in Washington and to some extent Baton Rouge, that we are responsible for savings ourselves. Saturday will be an important first step. I hope we all take the right one.

Please post something about this Nagin Timeline. Folks need to see how badly he has executed as mayor over the years.


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"And when we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard nor welcome, but when we are silent we are still afraid. So it is better to speak remembering we were never meant to survive." -- Audie Lorde

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