Thursday, December 14, 2006
Da Po Blog
is right. We cannot make conclusions about individual
voters based on raw LA-02 election statistics. In a previous post
, before complete returns were available, I criticized West Bank voters for overwhelmingly voting to re-elect William Jefferson in the the metro New Orleans area's first Post-Breach Congressional election. At the time I thought a majority of East Bank New Orleans had voted for Carter and I thought the West Bank and Jefferson Parish vote had gone overwhelmingly for Jefferson. Apparently, I was wrong. Dollar Bill prevailed narrowly on the East Bank as well. Da po blog
We can not and never will know the motives of Jefferson Parish voters. But, I think it is logically wrong to conclude that it means the people of Jefferson Parish don't want to be on "team New Orleans." Karen Carter may have been the best candidate for New Orleans. But, I think it is obvious that she wasn't the best for JP.
I disagree. I think Anyone But Jefferson was the right choice for New Orleans, for Jefferson Parish, for Louisiana and for the Gulf Coast as well. In this case the non-"Dollar Bill" candidate was Karen Carter. She was the right choice for everyone, and here's why: Southern Louisiana is fighting for its life, and it needs federal help to attract federal tax dollars to repair levees and wetlands on both
banks. To the rest of the country, Appearance is Reality. They perceive Jefferson as corrupt. Both parties in Washington D.C. perceive him as corrupt, and expect that he will be indicted next year. The Dems have stripped him of his Ways and Means committee seat, and he is the GOP's favorite example of corruption. He was rated as the least effectual member of Congress. Jefferson is stubbornly committed to staying in office even after getting indicted-- an eventuality he expects to happen. We may see a sitting Congressman on trial; a Congressman from a region that is trying desperately to repair its corrupt reputation while it repairs its flood protection and economy. These are Meta-issues that should
trump any particular "local" issues.
I can't believe this is not self-evident to everyone, but re-electing William Jefferson was not the "obvious" best choice for the East Bank or the West Bank or for Orleans Parish or for Jefferson Parish. Given the circumstances, Dollar Bill was the WORST possible choice for this region's future.
Yet none of these "Meta-issues" about Jefferson's reputation and future ineffectiveness seemed to matter to most West Bank voters, who were largely outside of Jefferson's "machine". I believe a decisive portion of West Bankers decided to vote for Dollar Bill because it was in Derrick Shepherd's long-term interest, or because of Karen Carter's comments in Spike Lee's film (that were widely promoted by Sheriff Harry Lee's anti-Carter mail campaign).
According to most analysts, Carter's position on the post-Katrina blockade of the CCC bridge was a potent issue in this race. Again, I believe the Meta-issues in this race decisively trump this sort of thing. But even this local "issue" is utterly without merit. William Jefferson himself marched on the CCC in solidarity with those who were prevented from crossing to safety after the storm. Sadly, Carter listened to analysts (like myself) and pollsters who said she was ahead and didn't need to "lose" (white) votes by cultivating some backbone and sundering Jefferson's awful coalition. Jarvis DeBerry absolutely nails it
when he writes what Carter should have said (but didn't):
"Hello. My name is Karen Carter, candidate for Congress, 2nd District. I have been criticized by some Jefferson Parish officials because I had the audacity to say on camera -- without spin or doublespeak -- what should be obvious to everyone: that it is the responsibility of law enforcement officials to assist those fleeing danger, or at the very least, not impede the progress of people who are moving away from a situation that threatens their lives.
"I'm talking, of course, about the illegal and immoral blockading of the Crescent City Connection on Sept. 1, 2005, three days after the Army Corps of Engineers' levees broke and flooded our beloved city. What I said in Spike Lee's documentary, I'll repeat here for you. I thought I lived in America until the day armed officers stood on that bridge and turned my people, your people, away. It was wrong.
"No matter how Gretna Police Chief Arthur Lawson wants to justify it, no matter what Jefferson Parish Sheriff Harry Lee says about my uppityness, the truth remains that their position -- the indiscriminate turning away of tired, hungry, thirsty, frightened men, women and children -- is morally indefensible. It's not American, and it's not Christian.
"It neither bothers me nor surprises me that I'm being attacked by the people who supported the blockade. But I have to express disappointment at William Jefferson's continuing silence on this matter. Voters, you know where I stand on this issue. Mr. Jefferson, what's your position?"
All she has to do, I told friends a couple days after the primary, is ask Jefferson what his position is. How's the guy who defended his decision to invite the firebrand Dyan French Cole (aka Mama D) to talk to Congress about the grand Katrina conspiracies cooked up by white folks going to take the side of the Gretna Police Department? Black folks ain't having that. So Carter will grill Jefferson, he'll be forced to admit that her position is right, and the Crescent City Connection issue will be reduced to political insignificance. White voters will know that both candidates feel the same way.
And surely, I thought, given all the times I've heard Orleans Parish District Attorney Eddie Jordan described as a "convicted racist," white voters are not going to throw their support behind the congressman whose office masterminded the firings of those 43 white people in the district attorney's office.
Would such a hypothetical commercial have won it for Carter? Possibly. We'll never know. In the meantime, while Dollar Bill waits to fight his indictment in a protracted, public legal battle, I know of businessmen and lawyers who consider his election "the last straw" and have decided to leave New Orleans for good. These guys are moderates and conservatives, and they saw larger issues at play than Carter's position on, say, abortion.
"Should one vote?"
That was the question radio host Rob Couhig asked former GOP Congressional candidate Joe Lavigne in this radio interview (due to time constraints, I'm working from memory, but David posted an audio link
that still may be good). Joe answered that "yes", despite the bad choices, we should vote. I agree. But apparently the question about whether one should vote was a real dilemma for former mayoral candidate turned radio host Rob Couhig (among others). After that query, Couhig then asked Lavigne about the theory "some people" have that we should re-elect Bill Jefferson so that Jefferson will get indicted and we'll have another election with perhaps some better choices. Lavigne admirably poo-pooed this idea as well, asserting that you have to "vote for today", instead of voting strategically on the hope for some far-flung hypothetical eventuality. (Couhig had more to say in the interview about his endorsement of Nagin, but I'll address that another time.)
For now, the question "Should one vote?" is enough. More precisely, "Should one have voted in the runoff election between William Jefferson and Karen Carter?" My view is that yes, you should have voted. Apparently, though, there was less voter turnout among (white) voters than there was in recent Post-K elections. The stakes couldn't be higher, but many weren't motivated enough to vote "For" Carter. Nor were they motivated enough to vote "Against" Dollar Bill Jefferson. In my opinion that is nearly an abdication of civic reponsibility, considering the stakes.
In a comment at Mark's Wet Bank Guide
, the Traveling Mermaid encapsulates the view of some of these LA-02 voters, saying:
The way I see it, I had no real,relevent choice in this election. So I elected NOT to vote. Voting for anyone I don't believe in is hypocritical and I refuse to play the "lesser of 2 evils" game. That is way too frivolous an attitude, IMHO.
So what do you say about someone like me?
Here's what I would say. Not voting is still a "vote" of sorts-- the weakest one available. It's an abdication of civic duty to others who do
decide to vote. Now, if you truly think that there is absolutely no difference
between two candidates, I suppose then it doesn't matter much. To you.
But the stakes are higher in Post-Breach New Orleans. I don't have to tell you that. These are some of the most important elections we will ever participate in. The survival of the city is at stake, and our region is attempting to attract crucial funds to rebuild levees and wetlands. So, EVEN IF there was no qualitative difference between Carter and Jefferson's local "machines", surely politically-aware voters must understand how the rest of the nation would perceive William Jefferson's re-election. They're disgusted and flummoxed by it. Rightfully so, I would say. Liberals dislike the choice. Moderates dislike the choice. Conservatives dislike the choice. Re-electing Jefferson makes it that much harder for Louisiana's Congressional delegation to lobby for crucial, life-and-death tax dollars. It was a collosal mistake, one that gives comfort to those who want to de-fund our region, and to those who think we are too stupid and corrupt to govern ourselves. Compared to these "Meta-ssues" the stupid bridge question is a red herring. The best way to ensure that there are no future bridge standoffs is to vote in a way that best helps Louisiana repair the levees that created the conditions for the bridge blockade in the first place!Traveling Mermaid
urges us to vote for Saints QB Drew Brees in an online poll that will help deliver funds to an area Children's Hospital. I applaud and admire her advocacy. However, if I were to be snarkastic I might say the following:
This poll represents a dilemma to a voter like myself. I voted for Brees, but the poll wouldn't accept my vote unless I also selected a running back as well. There are no Saints available to choose from. I do not have an opinion on any of them, and view them as "lesser evils" (and potential playoff/SuperBowl opponents for the Saints).
Children's Hospital needs the money, and Drew Brees deserves recognition, but I don't want to play the "lesser evils" game and vote for non-Saints running backs whom I dislike. Should I bite the bullet and vote for one of these running backs (none of whom I care for), or should I opt out, and wait for a poll that includes both Brees and Deuce or Bush?[/snarkasm]
Just as I (ended up voting) for a non-Saints RB in order for my vote for Brees to count (and for our hospital to receive needed funds) I would hope some voters would hold their noses and vote Dollar Bill Jefferson out so that our LA Congressional delegation can more effectively attract needed flood protection funds. It's never hypocritical to vote in a democracy, whose choices are rarely ideal. It is more hypocritical to not vote, and then bitch about the results of other people's votes. (OT: Instant runoff voting reform?
Hell yes, I would vote for that.)
Is that an illuminating parallel, or am I way off?
The point of voting against Jefferson was to show the country that we are open to change and that we do not endorse corruption. That was enough motivation in itself, in my opinion. To a large extent, appearance is reality
to the rest of the country. If nothing else, this was not a vote for Carter, it was a vote FOR the appearance of change. And the appearance of change is necessary to help our Congressional delegation to persuade the rest of the country that their tax dollars are necessary for vital flood protection in S. LA. Sure, Carter wasn't a great, inspirational candidate-- but, to the rest of the country, this was a choice between Corruption and Anyone Else. Like it or not, the appearance to the rest of the country-- even to those who are our friends and allies-- was that we endorse corruption, and that there's no guarantee that monies sent to LA will be used wisely.
Did William Jefferson's re-election play into Senator Coburn's decision
to not release nearly a Billion dollars in flood control moneys the other day? Perhaps. Who else will use Jefferson as an easy excuse to vote against the New Orleans metro area?
Again: these are some of the most important life-or-death elections we will ever participate in. And every vote counts. What good is it to wait for someone who might be a Great Candidate if S. Louisiana is lost because the rest of the country perceived us as hopelessly stupid and corrupt? National perceptions dictate that ANYONE BUT JEFFERSON (Shepherd, Carter, Lavigne) was the right choice in this election. What good is it to elect someone who would protect the West Bank from dehydrated looters if he is too ineffectual to protect the West Bank from the Gulf of Mexico?
Jefferson has said he would not step down EVEN IF he gets indicted. What could be worse for S. Louisiana's reputation than to endure a protracted trial of a sitting congressman on bribery charges? How many hundreds of millions in potential federal aide did this election cost us?
Going forward (heh), the political lesson of recent elections is that money and media endorsements can't overcome bland, spineless, vague campaigns. Candidates who fail to directly confront "greater evil" candidates who run insinuating, "dualistic", two-faced campaigns (whether explicitly or via surrogates) will lose in the faction-plagued New Orleans metro area. Period.
Again, I agree with Da Po blog and Traveling Mermaid that I showed some bias against the Best Bank in a previous post. I apologize. When I saw the early results, I saw an easy political "script", but it was later proven inaccurate (since the E. Bank favored Dollar Bill as well). Clearly, the East Bank has plenty of problems of its own, and there's no reason to minimize them by deflecting blame. Both "Banks" are in this together, for better or worse, I acknowledge that.
However, while I agree with Da Po Boy
that we cannot ascribe motives to individual
voters, we can judge individual voters who speak for themselves. In the Dollar Bill re-election thread at Free Republic
, big_easy 70118
Karen Carter was a horrendous candidate. She supported gay marriage, late term abortions, Hillary's healthcare plan and economically was to the left of Stalin.
As it stands now, Carter is winning in Orleans Parish by a vote of 52-48. However she is getting trounced in Jefferson Parish (which is actually 50-50 white-black) 73-27.
I live in uptown New Orleans. I voted for Bill Jefferson today for several reasons. Pelosi would have welcomed Carter with open arms. It would have been one more vote for the far left socilaist agenda.
Jefferson being indicted in office will be a great boon to the GOP. And I am not the only conservative who thinks so.
Furthermore, I love denying the white liberals in this city any power whatsoever.
Congratulations to this intrepid New Orleans Freeper on his strategic "victory". Press on!
I realize this post has been compiiled in haste and is repetitive and could use future editing. Until then, readers must self-edit.
H/T The Flaming Liberal
Not voting is implicitly voting for the majority. Sitting at home on Saturday was a vote for Dollar Bill.
The election of Bill Jefferson means that both the GOP and Pelosi will focus their wrath at Dollar Bill, and New Orleans.
"Lavigne admirably poo-pooed this idea as well, asserting that you have to "vote for today", instead of voting strategically on the hope for some far-flung hypothetical eventuality." Uh...wasn't this the entire strategy of Couhig and the GOP in the mayoral election?
In this post, you wrote. Sure, Carter wasn't a great, inspirational candidate-- but, to the rest of the country, this was a choice between Corruption and Anyone else. Like it or not, the appearance to the rest of the country-- even to those who are our friends and allies-- was that we endorse corruption, and that there's no guarantee that monies sent to LA will be used wisely.
I guess this is the biggest problem I have with this argument. LA-02 is not the rest of the country's district. The rest of the country has had a misguided and low opinion of us for as long as we have been.. ostensibly.. a part of it. I don't expect that opinion to change as the result of one Congressional election. For this reason, I find it an unconvincing argument that Jefferson's victory jeopardizes Louisiana's hope for federal aid in future rebuilding efforts. Were Carter elected, such aid would still likely be withheld due to American endemic antipathy toward Louisiana rationalized through some other means.
The franchise in LA-02 belongs to the voters of that district. They have a right to choose their representative without weighing the ill-considered opinions of assholes in Peoria or bowing to some sort of federal extortion. We are not Iraq. We do not need to prove to anyone that we can "govern ourselves." While I am appalled by the lack of local outrage at this condescension, I am familiar enough with the Louisiana inferiority complex to not be surprised by it.
I voted against Jefferson because I believe his voting record on trade, on economic justice, and on the war constitutes a reprehensible betrayal of the interests of the very voters he worked so hard to pander to. I had no confidence that Carter would be any better but I think he has failed as a Congressman and deserved to be punished for it.
Carter could have made this race about something.. about advocating meaningful change for the desperate people of this district. Instead she did next to nothing. Ultimately, she has only herself to blame.
Add to that last bit for clarity. Carter is to blame for this election.. not the voters of this district. Similarly, the Americans are to blame for the abandonment of New Orleans... not the voters of this district.
Thanks for the guilt trip. I chose not to vote....I just couldn't bring myself to pull the lever either way. But honestly, if we had a reset button and the same election was tomorrow, I still wouldn't vote for either one....regardless of my civic responsibility, it's just a personal decision. Neither one of them deserve to hold a public office. Maybe I should get a bumper sticker that says, "Don't blame me, I didn't vote." or is it "Blame me, I didn't vote."?
big_easy 70118: Comus rides again.
JP is the mirror opposite of Orleans demographically -- the former two-thirds white/black, the latter two-thirds black/white
Gloomypants Jeffrey: We're in a circumstance where we're relying on tax dollars from "assholes" outside the district to help us rebuild our levees and coast. Without those things, we are doomed and political "representation" is of no consequence to district voters who will eventually have to move to other non-flooded districts anyway.
Regarding federal funds, I suppose it's easy to take a fatalistic view. I am more hopeful than that. Ask anyone (off record) in the LA Congressional delegation-- GOP or Dem-- about whether Jefferson's re-election substantively helps or hurts our cause.
I still think that it's more self-defeating for residents of a mostly urban and poor district who are by the war and by the bankruptcy bill and by all manner of awful things done to them by this congress to be asked to "throw their vote away" on the appeasement of outside interests.
Elections should be more important than "meta-issues" they should be about the issues that affect the populace selecting a representative.
I don't think it's fatalistic to assume that your adversaries are acting in bad faith. In such a situation, it works just as well to extend a defiant middle finger in their direction as it does to play the part of push-over.
Incidentally... were Carter "to the left of Stalin" economically (yes there is indeed much fallacy in this metaphor but we shall take it for its intended meaning) she might have been worth voting for.
(I guess you could say technically that I voted for her.. but only technically)
Sadly, I have also heard the Freeper’s explaination from several sources. But what I have heard the most is those who voted for Jefferson in hopes of getting a “do over” “when” he gets indicted. Somehow, in a fit of fantastical thinking, this always results in the candidate they desire getting elected.
But to rain on the parade a little…In terms of assessing the motives of voters, whatever they were, with a 15% turnout, are we getting to the point where the sample size is just too small to draw any conclusions?
What Jeffrey and Dambala said. People have a right not to vote for bad candidates and they've always done so and always will. Like Dambala, I wouldn't change my decision to sit the election out. Karen Carter blew her chance to win my vote and the votes of many other people. Blame the candidate and not the constituency. The candidate who runs the best race usually wins and that's what happened here.
I'd also like to point out that Harry Reid is our ace in the hole. He wants to help Mary get re-elected and her clout seems to be growing.
Credit Ashley with my seeing this.
I appreciate everything you've said here. You've earned my respect back most esp with acknowledging the Best Bank bias & the folly of pointing fingers at a particular group - no matter who comprises it. We all need to be more mindful of that.
As to not voting in this election, I stand by my decision. Read Jeffrey's comments, his thoughts are mine and he's much more eloquent! (albeit grumpy)
I thought long and hard before deciding not to vote & I wasn't sitting at home filing my nails on Saturday. I knew the implications of my decision but that's just it. It's MY decision.
Thanks for listening. That is all.
I voted for Carter because I wanted Jefferson and his family out of local politics, and also the fact that he was pushing the Religious Wrongs' fruit freakin' B/S. (This is Poly Sci 101 for a member of the Queer community: if it's a bigot, kill it.)
BTW- 'tis easier to vote out a one-term Rep than a nine-term Rep.
I suppose we can be amused by the irony that what made Jefferson vulnerable was, IMO, the decisive factor in his re-election. Of course, Jefferson's legal problems alone wouldn't have re-elected him if some people didn't try to be too clever for their own good.
I'm going to sound like a village explainer who won't stop repeating himself, but there's a point that I don't think I've made well enough before. Jefferson didn't get what should have been enough votes to win. I knew he wouldn't and Tom Watson, Paul Morton and Harry Lee combined didn't make me think that he would. It wasn't until I read Adrastos' and Dambala's posts and then noticed the lack of Carter yard signs that I realized she might not get anywhere near the votes I expected.
I don't think the importance of the local chapter of the right wing echo chapter can be understated in regard to that. Even though they live in Mandeville, I used my sister and brother-in-law as examples of people who might have been expected to vote for Carter (if they still lived uptown) until they heard that Carter was a flaming lib and Jefferson would probably be kicked out of office. People like that didn't listen when Jefferson brought up abortion, as matter of fact, most weren't even specifically thinking of family values. They somehow got the impression that Carter was way to the left of Jeff. on all issues, economic and social. I wish that I had listened to WWL before the election, but I know that Couhig helped spread those two ideas (Carter's liberalism, a do over if Jeff. re-elected) If the guy won't muzzle himself, he needs to be turned into an object of scorn and ridicule.
But a lot of people didn't vote for Carter because of her BOLD connections. Just assuming that Jefferson loses his seat, how many of those people will bother to vote in a Shepherd/Thomas election?
I should have said until I listened to Rob Couhig, read Damala and Adrastos...
I was in no way trying to imply that acouple of bloggers that a greatly respect cost Carter the election. Carter was a lousy opponent, but there would have a conservative effort to discourage voting if Jefferson's opponent had been anybody but Lavigne. Couhig seemed delusional enough to think that a white repub could take that seat.
David, I didn't take *your* comment that way.
I am astonished that so many people think Oliver the actor will run for Congress. He's running for Mayor and has said that he doesn't want to be a junior Congressman. In this instance I take Oliver the Equivocator at his word. Repeat after me: Oliver is running for Mayor in 2010.
I completely agree with Oyster. National perception now, regardless of any inferiority complexes, does matter while New Orleans begs for federal assistance.
However, I dislike Oyster's analogy of voting for the Fed Ex Air/Ground players of the week. There is a way to select a player when no Saints player is in the running. When faced with the decision of which running back to vote for, I engage in a calculus of which city's Children's Hospital might be in the greatest need of assistance. Say I've voted for Drew Brees at QB and now turn to these hypothetical running back choices: Jamal Lewis of Baltimore; Lawrence Maroney of New England and Shawn Alexander of Seattle. I'll vote for Lewis because Baltimore is the poorest city and likely in the greatest need of such a donation to the Children's Hospital. (And I'll always vote for a Ravens player since the Wire has given me an intimate understanding of the needs in Baltiimore.)
I can speak to that issue. Baltimoreans need to stop wearing purple sweaters to Saints games.
As I reside in Louisiana's fifth Congressional District (which is represented by another scandal-ridden Congressman, Rodney Alexander), I could not cast a vote against Bill Jefferson (though many of us in Central Louisiana would have loved the opportunity).
It's saddening and disheartening to hear that voters, such Diane P, supported Jefferson because they'd rather have him convicted in the national spotlight than be represented by someone favored by the leadership of the majority.
Actually, it's just plain stupid.
What happens to New Orleans affects the entire state of Louisiana. For whatever reason, some of you in New Orleans fail to recognize that.
I don't claim to understand the inner-workings of New Orleans politics (which is often described to me as having its own internal logic and tradition).
But I do know this: Voters elected to send a man who was caught with $90,000 in his refrigerator, after surveillance tapes captured him allegedly taking $100,000 in bribe money. (Perhaps he spent the remaining 10K refunding FEMA for the time they spent tending to his mansion during Katrina).
Mr. Jefferson repeatedly claimed that he has a sound explanation for all of this and that it would all be revealed in due time.
Well, although I'm not privy to the conversations between him and his lawyers, it seems to me that if such a sound explanation truly exists, it would have been made public already.
The reelection of Jefferson is a statewide disgrace. (Honestly, I can't understand why the man even decided to run again).
If you don't think that Jefferson undermines our collective ability to attract and retain funding for our region, you're being naive.
The message we must send to Washington is that the reelection of Bill Jefferson was a colossal and regrettable mistake, that we, as a State (not merely members of a single district) have no tolerance for corruption (or even the perception of corruption), and that Jefferson was only reelected due to a confluence of unfortunate factors (including, but not limited to, Harry Lee's obnoxious personal vendetta).
Mr. Lee, you accused Carter of grand-standing to get attention. Well, I believe that injecting yourself into this race (in order to hurt Carter's chances) is the definition of grand-standing.
Perhaps you're not a racist. But if you listened closely to what Carter said, you'd note that she never called you a racist, sir. Like millions of Americans, she was dismayed by your decision to block access to an American city to hundreds of people-- including the elderly, the infirm, the disabled, and small children.
It seems to me that the only way Jefferson could win was to cloak himself as a moderate Democrat, to scare people into voting on issues like abortion, with little regard for the real, daily tasks involved in representing the Second District.
And, unfortunately, it worked.
I wonder if Landrieu's bill (no more than a spit into a sea of financial needs) would have ever passed after Bill Jefferson's re-election.
Oyster, don't overlook the fact that Carter won in Orleans Parish, west of the Industrial Canal. We ought to be promoting the fact that it is voters from this area who are the driving force for the momentum behind many of Louisiana's reforms.
Oyster, you write: I can't believe this is not self-evident to everyone, but re-electing William Jefferson was not the "obvious" best choice for the East Bank or the West Bank or for Orleans Parish or for Jefferson Parish.
There were two choices in the runoff. 70.6% of the Jefferson Parish voters chose William Jefferson. That’s a big margin of victory as far as percentages go. Jefferson had more than twice as many votes as Carter in JP. If that doesn’t make it obvious who JP voters preferred, I don’t know what does. That’s what I meant when I contended, “Karen Carter may have been the best candidate for New Orleans. But, I think it is obvious that she wasn't the best for JP.”
Democracy doesn’t end on election day. If people think all they have to do is show up on one day and vote for the “right” candidate or vote against the “wrong” candidate, then it is they who are least justified in complaining about the state of affairs.
It is not what happened on December 9, 2006, that will decide the fate of our region. It is every day after which counts towards our recovery, as it was every day before that got us where we are. We no sooner would have “won” if Karen Carter had been elected than we have “lost” since Jefferson was elected.
If you tell me I am not participating in democracy because I did not vote in one race, I will point you to the other 364 days I and everyone else in my community have been here sustaining our region. No politician has ever done anything for me. Nothing. My community – family, friends, citizens – have done everything for me.
When you are a true member of this community and are dedicated to seeing its recovery, there are no last straws. As long as people are here, power is here. And the source of that power does not come from Washington, D.C., Baton Rouge, or City Hall. Nor does it come from money.
Adrastos, I happen to agree with you about Thomas. I'll find somebody else to vote for when he runs for mayor if he doesn't start showing some leadership rather than acting like heir apparent, BTW. But my point is, the squeemishness about voting for Carter in the runoff indicates that people will need to work a lot harder to get an acceptable candidate past the primary or learn to hold their noses and go into the voting booth in runoffs, in a lot of upcoming elections.
"Perhaps you're not a racist. But if you listened closely to what Carter said, you'd note that she never called you a racist, sir. Like millions of Americans, she was dismayed by your decision to block access to an American city to hundreds of people-- including the elderly, the infirm, the disabled, and small children."
I was dismayed as well at the thought of these abandoned survivors being turned back. My first thought was any of them would be welcome to enter my house for food and water. IF that is all that would be taken. I'm not accusing any of those on the bridge as being criminals but I am saying there were most certainly some among them.
Here is how I see it:
1. Nagin told these people to march over the bridge to the WB - to where? Where were they going? There were no buses waiting to evacutate them. There was no "safe" place for them to wait for our ineffectual government to send help. There was no large building with working bathrooms and food and water. The largest building was a burned out & looted mall. So what would you have done, being a desperate, hungry, dehydrated, tired person with you family in this situation. You would have broken in homes for food. So would I. And the criminals in the crowd would have looted and burned just like they were doing elsewhere.
The leadership of this city and this state and this country let those people down. The mayor was just trying to get them out of his hair. (oh, he doesn't have hair, hmmm)
He should have been down front and center in front of cameras at the Convention Center with those people demanding action!! That is what a leader does. Not sending them on a trek in 100 degree heat walking over an elevated concrete hiway to what?
One thing I'll say for JPSO & GPD is that they protected their jurisdiction. That is what local government is supposed to do.
"Protect & serve." Did Nagin do that? Did NOPD do that? (for these people)
I truly don't believe what happened on the bridge was racially motivated.
If you tell me I am not participating in democracy because I did not vote in one race, I will point you to the other 364 days I and everyone else in my community have been here sustaining our region. No politician has ever done anything for me. Nothing. My community – family, friends, citizens – have done everything for me."
Thanks to all who commented. I appreciate the discussion.
Adrastos: OT left the door wide open for a Congressional run iduring the WDSU interviews on election night. He said he previously disliked the idea of being one of many (rather than being Da Mayor) but now is not so sure. He had an "anything is possible" sort of demeanor. He ruled nothing out, so it's not a lock that he won't run or be drafted to run for Congressional Rep.. I'm sure Mayor is his first preference, but people might persuade him that he must run against Derrick Shepherd.
Da Po Blog: You're quite right that "Democracy doesn’t end on election day". But some days and decisions are more important than others. Our "do-nothing" politicians will have a huge role in getting the Funds we need to rebuild levees and flood protection. Without that, we can say goodbye to our communities. Re-electing Jefferson hindered that crucial effort.
TM: "I truly don't believe what happened on the bridge was racially motivated." I'm imagining 30, 000 whites trying to flee from a catastrophe zone and being assisted over the bridge, not blocked.
IRV! Do you think we've got any chance of actually putting any kind of actual preference voting format onto the ballots in this state? Then again Louisiana military members do use an IRV ballot for absentee voting. Go figure. Now if only the rest of us were actually given a real choice in our votes. (Disclaimer: I'm not in the 2nd District and I tend to vote heavily Libertarian anyway, so I tend to have just as much contempt... well maybe a little less.. for Dems as i have for Reps.)
"I'm imagining 30, 000 whites trying to flee from a catastrophe zone and being assisted over the bridge, not blocked."
I've been thinking about that. I'll concede I may be wrong in my opinion. I think I'm a bit naive sometimes....it's just, even though I was predominently raised in rural MS, I never heard (in my family) negativity spoken toward any group of people be they black, white, Asian, Hispanic or anything else. I've never had the mind-set to think in those terms.
Does that make sense?