Ok. So, who are these Greater New Orleans Republicans?
Well, Ashley informs us that the GNOR PAC's address is in Rogers, Arkansas. (Arkansas: the naturally New Orleans state!) Entergy spokesperson Morgan Stewart is both the acting President of the GNOR PAC as well as the contact person for the Greater New Orleans Republicans Fund (a 527 organization that coordinates with GNOR PAC).
After Katrina, when Entergy was begging for a federal bailout, Morgan Stewart boasted of his company's "great relationship" with Senator Mary Landrieu (and Vitter), which Entergy has enjoyed for "a long time".
The 2006 "Chairman" (how un-pc!) for GNOR is Ms. Audra Shay. My first encounter with the hacktacular Audra Shay was through Brian Welsh, my pal from the Wes Clark days. (Brian and I co-managed the Clark campaign in Louisiana). A couple summers ago, I had the extreme pleasure of watching Welsh totally dismantle Ms. Shay in a televised one-on-one debate hosted by (former GNOR treasurer) Jeff Crouere. Oh my goodness, it wasn't even close! Shay only had her RNC talking points for each issue, and wasn't prepared for Welsh, who can eviscerate such shallow arguments in his sleep. I still smile thinking about that rhetorical slaughter. Afterwards, poor Ms. Shay looked shellshocked and remarked how glad she was that "it was over". Too bad my Tivo was lost in the flood.
The GNOR VP of Finance is a Mr. John Shay. I do not know if he is any relation to Chairman Audra Shay, but I would bet that he's her husband. The GNOR Director is Mike Bayham, whose political analysis at Bayou Buzz is hysterically bad-- just awful.
Here's a few select quotes from his recent commentary on the New Orleans elections:
4/12 Can Ms. Wilson make a runoff? Possibly, if she runs strong in Algiers and Lakeview, though she will no doubt be hampered by Couhig splitting her vote base.
4/20 This election is too important for Republicans to be duped by a liberal journalist into "writing Couhig's name in the snow" to the benefit of the Landrieu clan.
If you want something different in City Hall, then you want Ron Forman.
5/19 Back in March I contemplated writing a column to be titled "The Inevitability of Mayor Mitch." I felt then, and to some degree now, that the scion of the city's last white mayor was unbeatable...
Keep the above information in the back of your mind while we go over some GNOR campaign propaganda. Remember how I'd been searching for a strong, conservative Republican argument in favor of Nagin? Well, the GNOR publicly endorsed Nagin and provided the following Ten Good Reasons why you should vote for Nagin. I will list them, highlighted, and offer some commentary after each item:
Here are 10 good reasons why you should join us in voting for Ray Nagin.
1. Marc Morial's LIFE organization is supporting Landrieu.
This is the GNOR's number one "good" reason to vote FOR Nagin? A guilt by association dig?My goodness, Nagin's supporters include "Frozen dollar" Bill Jefferson, Cleo "public service does not mean perfect service" Fields, and BOLD's Jim Singleton... but I suppose LIFE represents the "politics of the past" whereas those others are stalwart voices of reform.
2. Nagin has consistently been pro-business in contrast to the Landrieu record in the legislature.
Was the city's Chocolate City speech good for business? Is re-electing someone perceived as an incompetent laughingstock good for business?
If Landrieu was so anti-business, why did he get the endorsement of New Orleans' business newspaper? Why did over 40 of the city's top business leaders publicly endorse him, if Nagin was the "business" candidate?
3. Elements of the national Democratic operation are engaged in supporting Landrieu's effort.
Prove it. That was a false claim started by Drudge, widely promoted on blogs, and then retracted.
4. Nagin had the guts to break party ranks to support a Republican for governor, Bobby Jindal.
I do think GNOR views this as a very important reason to vote for Nagin. This is the heart of the matter for this crew: how Nagin's election will effect their statewide chances. Sadly, Jindal lacked the "guts" to return the favor by endorsing Nagin...
But step back and savor that "good reason" for a few seconds. If we wanted to measure "guts", shouldn't we review Nagin's performance during a catastrophe? But the aftermath of Katrina-- THE DEFINING ISSUE for this city-- goes unmentioned in this list of "good" reasons.
5. Ray Nagin is not a machine politician and received no organizational backing when he ran first in the 2002 primary, the first time this has happened since Chep Morrison won.
I'll agree that that was a good reason to vote for Nagin-- in 2002. I'll also note that in one of the recent mayoral election forums, candidates were asked to pick their favorite N.O. mayor from the 20th century. Nagin chose Sidney Barthelemy. Mitch Landrieu picked Chep Morrison (along with his father, Moon).
Here's a piece of information for our Republican friends: believe it or not, the Morial machine is shattered beyond repair. I know how well those nightmares about blacks on buses (being paid to go from poll to poll) animates you, but I'm sorry to say it just doesn't hold anymore. If Morial's machine were even a shadow of its former self, LIFE would have delivered more votes for Landrieu.
6. There is a clear conflict of interest in having a mayor whose sister is a US Senator, as the policies supported or opposed by the mayor would take into consideration the impact on his sister's politics.
Clearly, Floridians should have heeded this familial "conflict of interest" argument in November 2000.
7. That Mitch Landrieu's sister has complicated our efforts to receive greater assistance from Washington by her constant partisan attacks on President Bush.
If anyone, ANYONE thinks that this administration responds to anything but hardball, please let me know. The GNOR endorsed Rob Couhig in the mayoral primaries, a candidate who thought that we didn't need greater assistance from Washington. So the GNOR endorsed the "up by the bootstraps" candidate in the primaries, and then blames a candidate's sister for complicating "our" efforts to "receive greater assistance" from the most anti-Louisiana president in living memory. Hilarious! Who is this "our", anyway!? If these hacks were consistent, they'd be praising Mary Landrieu for "complicating" efforts to spend more tax dollars on (piddly) issues like Cat 5 flood protection and fair oil/gas royalty payments.
8. As of right now, four members of the Landrieu family hold public office: Madeline Landrieu, a judge; Phyllis Landrieu, president of the NO School Board; Mary Landrieu, US Senator; and Mitch Landrieu, Lieutenant Governor. Is it a wise move for one family to control two of the four most powerful positions in politics (Governor, Mayor of New Orleans and the two US Senator positions)?
I love it when Bush supporters warn others about those dreaded "powerful political families". A Bush has been president or vice president 18 of the last 26 years... and counting. [plus Jeb! and P!]
9. The election of Mitch Landrieu as Mayor would allow Governor Blanco to appoint what is likely to be the Democratic Party's 2007 candidate for governor (there's no chance Kathleen is running again).
"No chance"? That's news. Blanco recently announced plans to run for re-election, so I suppose there is at least a chance (not that these idiotic hacks would care if they're wrong). There's no indication that Blanco's not running, and the GNOR has nothing to substantiate this claim. But, no matter. It's all about gamesmanship surrounding State Politics. Asserting an unsubstantiated claim about who the Governor might appoint for Lieutenant... THAT'S one of the top ten reasons to vote for Ray Nagin. According to the hacktacular GNOR that's a "good reason" why New Orleans-- a city fighting for its life-- should vote FOR Nagin.
10. The voters have a choice: four more years of Nagin now with the chance to elect someone new in 2010 or a minimum of eight years of Landrieu machine politics in City Hall.
Again: this unsubstantiated speculation blatantly contradicts all the conservative hysteria about Mitch Landrieu running for mayor with "one eye on the governor's mansion". As always, partisan hacks want to have it both ways. Don't vote for Mitch: he'll be mayor for 8 years! Don't vote for Mitch: he only wants to run for Governor!
So out of 10 "good reasons" to support Nagin none of them were about competence, crime, housing, levee protection, Nagin's national perception, schools, or infrastructure. Out of 10 good reasons to vote FOR Nagin, three reasons involve Mitch's family (6,7,8), two reasons relate to GOP State party strategy (4, 9) , three reasons are totally unsubstantiated speculation (3,9, 10), and one is a lame "guilt-by association" dig (1)*. Nagin being good for business was the only real reason offered, and that claim is highly debatable. Again: Nothing about Katrina, nothing about Chocolate City, nothing about seizing citizen's guns, nothing about escalating crime, nothing about flooded cars, nothing about his pro-gambling proposals, nothing about Nagin being perceived nationally as an incompetent joke.... No, no. Our beloved GNOR doesn't think these issues should factor into the most important mayoral vote in New Orleans' history. For their conservative readers they only offer "good reasons" supported by lies, unfounded speculation, guilt by association, and state party strategy. Let history show that the GNOR (and its ilk) offered New Orleans voters total nonsense in its first election after Hurricane Katrina.
Again, GOP hacks (and others) framed this all-important election around Mitch Landrieu. The following are the sorts of "arguments" used to persuade enough conservatives to vote for Nagin over Landrieu.
Mitch wore "full makeup" while saving people from the floodwaters!
Mitch Landrieu spent too much money renovating his office!
Mitch Landrieu comes from a political family we just know is corrupt but (even if a reward is offered) we can't specify how.
Mitch hasn't experienced a $100 billion lesson in failure like Nagin.
Mitch has the DNC working for him!!
Mitch won't be mayor long/Mitch will be mayor too long!
Mitch will rebuild the projects and destroy the city! (even though the utterly nonpartisan HUD controls the Housing Authority of N.O.).
Mitch has hairplugs!
So, hearty thanks to the Arkansas-incorporated Greater New Orleans Republicans for being the stupidest hacks on Earth, and for duping New Orleanian conservatives into believing that re-electing an incompetent, national embarrassment was the right choice for hurricane-stricken New Orleans.
For more, read this excellent post from the Weathers Report.
* Obviously some of these "good reasons" do double duty.