Sunday, December 31, 2006

Guess the Movie Quote

Since I only have a few minutes to kill, here's something I've been wondering about for almost two months now. A quote from one of the greatest movies of all time popped into my head when I read about James Carter's part in the successful effort to neuter the new inspector general's office.

Hint: if you're thinking, "If is the middle word of life," you've got the right director. I've alluded to my suspicions both here and on another blog. I certainly found it hard to believe that a novice politician outmaneuvered all the reformers in the city -- figured there had to be somebody behind him. The newly elected reformer from District C has been distinguishing himself on the council.

If you haven't guessed it yet, it's:
Tattaglia's a pimp.

Which was followed by:
But I didn't know until this day that it was Barzini all along.

So, is somebody playing Barzini to Carter's Tattaglia? Or am I just an overly cynical blogger who's seen The Godfather one too many times? The mayor's staff would tell you that he's certainly smart enough to be a Barzini, but I had a more cynical idea. Whatever your opinion, all the best in the new year.

Full Disclosure: Since race and prejudice come up in every dsicussion of New Orleans politics, I should disclose my prejudice here: I found Carter's runoff opponent more attractive than him. That was a joke; I honestly don't remember who I voted for in that election. I couldn't find a difference between the two candidates and walked into the booth undecided. I honestly wasn't sure which candidate I had voted for a few minutes later; Harry Anderson might have convinced me to vote for Carter. I do have a serious prejudice against Carter -- I think that City councilmen should make a serious effort to answer constituent emails. I emailed five council members over the pay raise issue. I intended to write my representative, both at-large council members and every council member who was present for the budget committee meeting that discussed the issue. I had no reason to write Midura and I somehow forgot Thomas. If a citizen writes an email (it can be found here) that expresses heartfelt anger as a laid-off worker (there were, per the mayor, 3,000 of us) and legitimate concerns as a resident, the councilmember should try to respond. Head, who isn't my representative, gave a serious answer. Fielkow gave a brush-off answer, but at least he answered. In fairness, the emails to the other cuncilmembers were a little more restrained than the one to Carter.

My money's on Oliver the actor as Barzini. BOLD and Oliver put Carter over the top. C Ray's too lazy to exert the energy...
it's not OT.

Barzini is Jacques Morial and the Morial machine. Jacques backed his run and helped get him elected. I don't think OT ever even came out and supported him.

I was actively supporting Jane Booth in that election...Jacques showed up at her party the night of the first election after it was clear she wouldn't make the runoff...asking for her support for Carter.
If there's anything to the Barzini/Tattaglia analogy -- if it's not just an overly cynical blogger flight of fancy -- I was thinking OT. As a matter of fact, when I read the followng at Dangerblond's:

"Oh, and James Carter, or whoever is responsible for his election, please wise up and disassociate yourself with the Cynthias. You don’t see Oliver Thomas carrying any water for them. There is a reason for that."

I thought of another movie quote: "You have no idea."

Thomas is the one council member who could take charge and provide leadership, but he hasn't so far. Since the mayor's obviously more concerned with his own interests than the city's the council needs to take charge and it can't if Thomas doesn't. I don't care whether Thomas stays in the background like a Barzini or refuses to take action like a Hamlet, either way I'm looking for somebody else to vote for. Or, I'll start soon.

Two things about BOLD and Thomas's position in it. Anyone who's involved in a political organization like BOLD is obviously no reformer, but such involvement doen't mean somebody is a thoroughly corrupt crook either. Look at Truman and the Pendergasts. It's possible to be basically honest and still be a "realist" who thinks you have to go along to get along. But such people are never going to be reformers.

Also, when it comes to political machines, they really do act like mafia families. People think that they're always bitter enemies; more often than not they have their business-like understandings. Witness the number of players who are both Nagin and Morial allies-- Jimmie Woods comes to mind. I guess I stated the obvious to anybody who cares enough about politics to read blogs.
Even you get a few things wrong Dambala albeit not too many. OT supported Carter very strongly and even did some TV and radio spots for him. BOLD is the bull goose loony among the alphabet groups right now. I'm sure LIFE and Jacques supported Carter BUT OT is Barzini but to what end?

I agree with you about OT, David. His performance this term on the Council has been pitiful.
Adrastos and Dambala, even though you're both more informed than I am, I think you both have it slightly wrong. I don't think there's any one Barzini. Competing factions within a corrupt system might fight (sometimes bitterly) over turf or spoils or whatever, but they all have a common interest in maintaining that system. Often the best way do that is to run a new face that's connected to the old system. It should have been obvious when Nagin ran, I think that's what happenned with Carter. I'm sure that all the factions realized that if Gill-Pratt lost, they couldn't stand a reformer in District C. The only way to keep that from happenning was to run a faux reformer-- that's why Bold and Life (probably all the rest as well) both backed Carter.

I think the fact that Nagin's move to take the RTA from Haydel was coincident with a federal investigation gave two incorrect impressions. It made people think that Nagin was a reformer cleaning up the RTA, and it made people think that Nagin and Morial were bitter enemies. I suspect that they're business rivals at worst.
David - It's time to revisit this post. Now the question is who is behind Nagin? Carter's behavior in the Fielkow transparency dustup was extremely interesting. There he was in the niddle of the whole thing, he ran as a reformed versus his behavior since then, between Fielkow and the Nagin contractors, and it looked like his hand would be publicly forced and then..... what? Nothing on the vote, Fielkow suddenly dropped it.

So: Washington and Jacques Morial are co-directors of LJI. Jacques Morial has about 10 companies and a LIFE registration at 201 St. Charles's 25th floor and, guess what, the public records request from the mysterious Tionne Simon (see WDSU story) comes from the UPS location at that very address. How many offices on the 25th floor have their pickups there? Well?

The drive to save Nagin and the contractors (via the Nagin email deletions and the email deliveries) is coming from none other than Jacques Morial.
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