Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Our Analysts Were Heard to Emit Low Mordant Chuckles

Sorry, but I couldn't help but think of the Daily Howler when I read Stephanie Grace's column in today's Picayune. For the record, despite the occasionally harsh criticism, I'm normally a fan of Ms. Grace's. But when I reached the conclusion of today's column:

You would hope the campaign would reflect that urgency, that Forman would have fended off his advisers entirely and, rather than wasting time with overstated attacks, clarified his plans for the city. You'd hope that Landrieu and Nagin would outline their own proposals more clearly and point to honest, not manufactured, contrasts. Maybe then there would be something to talk about other than campaign strategy. Maybe then we'd be able to compare the two candidates' strategies for saving the city.

my reaction changed from mild disappointment to utter amusement. That would be a fair enough complaint coming from a normal voter, but from a member of the local press corps, it's utterly inane.

Rob Couhig's no longer around to bring up serious issues (when the debate moderators allow it), so what's one of the paper's star columnists to do? Complain about the fact that the candidates aren't discussing serious issues, of course.

The paragraph would have been inept enough in a vacuum, but just guess what the preceding column was about? The politics behind Forman's endorsement of Landrieu, not exactly about campaign strategy, but close enough.

It's even worse than the above synopsis would make it seem. The first half of the column raises the issue of whether it was suspicious that Forman and Landrieu patched up their differences after attacking each other in the primary election. After raising the issue. She allows that it's understandable that the third place candidate would attack the second place candidate and that Forman's attacks weren't particularly bruising and Landrieu's counter-attack was barely an attack. In other words, she brought up an issue, seemed to realize that it wasn't an issue, and concluded with the plaint that real issues aren't being discussed. Could our local press corps possibly be more inept?

Unfortunately, it could. It's bad enough that press has been asking mayoral candidates about flood protection (the part of the resettlement issue over which the mayor has no control) more than about city finances (the part of the resettlement issue over which the mayor has some control), now we hear debate questions about national issues like immigration. Did the reporter that asked the question think for one minute that the election of Patrick Buchanan, Christine Chavez or my neighbor's Labrador could possibly affect U.S. immigration policy, or even the number of immigrant workers in N.O.?

If the ACoE would only announce that everything east of the Industrial Canal, as well as Gentilly and Lakeview, were off limits to resettlement, the issue would be far less important. Unfortunately, for the sake of the candidates, and the reporters that cover them, the rather complicated issue won't go away that easily? Damn ACoE, it's even worthless at being worthless.

If Grace is going to bring up the fact that serious issues aren't being discussed, she might want to mention that, in a February interview, the mayor said that the city's finance were going to get worse. Now he says otherwise. Somebody might want to ask both candidates about what they plan when to do when the emergency loans run out. Oh yeah, only our own intrepid analysts seem to have noticed that interview.

Since Nagin brings up the issue of the state's lack of a plan (for the CDGB money) somebody might want to ask both candidates what they are doing about the problem in their current positions or what they plan to do after the election.

If Grace really wants to get serious about the fact that serious issues aren't being discussed, she could even suggest fewer reporters for each debate. That way, follow up questions might actually be asked. Instead, we have reporters reading their scripted questions no matter what comes before.

Since my preference (animosity rather) in this election is clear, and since I've mentioned Daily Howler, I'll close with this gem:

MORE ON NAGIN: How stupid has our pseudo-liberal discourse become? Because Ray Nagin went on the radio and said loud cuss words while discussing George Bush, we are now supposed to pretend that he's a brilliant public servant--incapable of error, innocent of flaw. We want to make sure that you know these facts when you hear these brainless discussions. The third fact here is a new one:

In 2000, Nagin supported George W. Bush (R) for president.

In 2002, Nagin got elected mayor, saying he was a Democrat (D).

In 2003, Nagin supported Bobby Jindal (R) for governor over Democrat Kathleen Blanco.
It wasn't evil to support Bush and Jindal--millions of people did. And there's nothing wrong with being a Republican--millions of people are. But Nagin is a millionaire former cable exec who says he's a Dem but votes for the Reps. Despite this, all good pseudo-liberals now know to pretend that he is a man without flaw--although it's obvious that he, like his predecessors, had no plan to protect his city's poorest.
How stupid has our pseudo-liberal discourse become? Because Ray Nagin cussed at Bush, we all agree to pretend he's a peach. But then, you can't get dumber than what we have seen in pseudo-liberal land this past week. How stupid has our pseudo-liberal discourse become? Stupid--deeply, deeply stupid. Just keep reading for further examples.

It's a forgotten issue now, but some readers might find interesting to scroll down to the discussion of the term refugee.

People Get Ready touched on some of the above today.

Excellent reference to Somerby, there. I had forgotten about his comments about Nagin, from what seems like ages ago.
Horse race coverage. I don't know if Stephanie Grace has enough weight to throw around, but perhaps the T-P should start listing it's top 5 questions to Nagin and Landrieu related to rebuilding New Orleans on the front page until they start providing satisfactory responses. I bet that hole on the front page would fill up fast.
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