Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Tardy Election Blather

Note:Couldn't post yesterday, not much to add now to the analysis at: Library Chronicles,Right Hand Thief,Third Battle, adrastos, and others (those were the ones I saw before a very busy day).

Hard to believe how wrong I was about Watson; knew that it was somewhat incompatible with my belief that Nagin was underpolling, but not that incompatible. With a little forethought, I should have predicted either Nagin or Watson to do surprisingly well. Race wasn't going to go away as a factor no matter how bad Nagin's performance, throw in fear of land grabs and disenfranchisement,NIMBY and talk of welfare queens and it's surprising that it wasn't more of a factor (I'm not saying that all of Nagin's vote was race based). Watson's poor showing can only be explained,IMO, by the fact that nobody wanted to waste his vote on a protest vote.

Hard to reconcile Watson's one per cent vote with Couhig's ten per cent. Two different demographics, but you'd think the fear of a wasted vote would be the same. Either those voters had no real preference between Forman, Nagin and Landrieu, or they had no real preference between Forman and Landrieu. My guess is the latter. I don't think that many of those voters expected Couhig to make a runoff, but they did fear that, if they didn't vote, Nagin might not make a runoff. That vote's Landrieu's to lose. Any "angry white" voters that might otherwise hate the Landrieu name enough to sit out the runoff have seen the pictures of Nagin and Jackson.

Nagin's smartest move (at least his smartest "clean" move) was to turn all criticism of his performance into criticism of his performance during the crisis. Most of the people who blame the city for what happened live in the suburbs (of some city) or in rural areas. He succeeded in making most of the criticism of his performance look unfair, at least to some voters.

Other than that, I'm not sure how many white voters Nagin was expecting to reach (directly, at least) with the mention of Bollinger and Canizaro. That was designed to let Forman's rich backers know that they could still do business with him. I'm not sure if a month is enough time for the backing of few wealthy investors to influence the perception of many white voters, he just needs the financial backing of a few of them. He also wanted to reassure the media that he hasn't turned into a demagogue. Judging by the T/P's profiles of Landrieu and Nagin, the mayor doesn't need to worry about biased coverage, yet.

I missed Jeffrey's comparison of Bush and Nagin when it first appeared at Library Chronicles, I've long been struck by similar but somewhat different similarities. To begin with, I think that Nagin's business background makes him an autocratic executive who hates to even explain his decisions. I'm not sure whether Bush really is an autocratic executive or just plays one on TV. Both govern in campaign mode and both are adept at turning administrative mistakes into political pluses.

There are more, but those explain the logical progression from NIMBY to Chocolate City.

Comments:
Nagin's smartest move (at least his smartest "clean" move) was to turn all criticism of his performance into criticism of his performance during the crisis. Most of the people who blame the city for what happened live in the suburbs (of some city) or in rural areas. He succeeded in making most of the criticism of his performance look unfair, at least to some voters.

I completely agree. Nagin's performance during the storm and the immediate aftermath was his most visible moment, and I think the passion and anger he displayed won the support of many (even if it was of limited effectiveness.) The candidates should have praised him for that and bashed him for the reconstruction effort. There's been so many miscues by the Nagin administration (FEMA trailer placement, abandoned cars, rising crime, etc.) and I didn't hear those being addressed substantially during the debates.
 
Heck even I shouted "Hell yeah" when Nagin gave us his famous "Get off your asses" rant on the radio. I even thought he should have incorporated the tape of it into his campaign ads.
 
rcs, with the Tullis Drive situation, I thought that the FEMA trailer placement issue would finally start to hurt him. Only Watson brought it up and he brought it up as a racial issue rather than a competency or as the result of sending mixed signals issue (he brought that up, but it was lost in the racial and religious stuff).

Personally, I thought that the mayor's autocratic style contributed to the NIMBY fubar, but the behavior of the council made him look like the good guy--what I meant by administrative incompetence turning into a political plus. Most people saw it as a good guy/bad guy situation, I saw it as a "plague on both their houses" situation. It says something when Blanco has to come in and play the adult.

Anyway, if Landrieu is smart, next time Nagin talks about the evacuation, he'll say the issue is post-K performance. Bringing up FEMA trailers could be skating on thin ice, but if he's smart he'll figure out a way to mention Tullis Dr. in a way that'll hurt Nagin with both the displaced and the undisplaced.

Jeffrey, I saw that you mentioned Alphonse Jackson on your site. Do you think it's too terribly far fetched to see the hand of Karl Rove behind those comments? Come November, would the administration rather have a mayor that blames D.C. for the slow pace of recovery or one who blames B.R.? There was some discussion of the matter on Polimom, BTW.
 
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