Thursday, March 22, 2007

John Maginnis Gets It

John Maginnis started his column with a clever comment today:
With Congressman Bobby Jindal putting off campaigning so as not to blow his huge lead in the polls,

But that's not what impressed me. In one simple sentence he showed the way to express a concept that most of our local media and elected officials either can't grasp or don't how to communicate:
With a good economy, her own hard work and a scandal-free administration, Blanco was uneventfully but deliberately on her way to re-election when she was undone by two man-made disasters: the levee failures in Hurricane Katrina and her own Road Home program. (The latter was supposed to resurrect her fortunes but finished them off instead.) The only purely natural disaster she faced, Hurricane Rita, she handled pretty well.
emphasis added

Nagin is still the worst offender among local leaders; I couldn't begin to count the number of times I've heard him make the doubly incorrect statement that New Orleans was hit by the worst natural disaster to ever befall an American city. Now that I've had the chance to read his most recent speech, I can't believe that I have to point out what was really, really, REALLY wrong with it:
They are studying this model, this model of a natural disaster dispersing a community and changing the electoral process in that community.

If I helped determine public opinion for the entire city, I'd offer Nagin a deal: we'll give you one conspiracy theory for every man-made disaster.

Among the local media, WVUE (Fox 8) is the worst offender -- about both saying "natural disaster," and $110B in reconstruction aid. I meant to post about this before, but never got around to it. On the day of Bush's last visit, channel 8 (which has a one hour local newscast at 5) was on when I got home at about 5:30. Since they were discussing the president's visit, I decided to watch for a minute before changing to the ABC,NBC or CBS evening telecast. In the space of about two minutes, Nancy Parker, Rob Masson and John Snell all managed to mention the $110B that has been allocated for Katrina relief. John Snell even said something about the $110B which has been approved for "this area." I'm not describing it well enough, watching the broadcast, it seemed like a deliberate recitation of talking points. I saw nothing that compared on any of the other local stations later that evening. From now on, when I watch the nine o'clock news, I watch channel 38.

One more thing about Nagin's speech, he's still making the same lame, tired and almost certainly dishonest joke about going off script. It's getting staler than Bush's obligatory joke about being a C student whenever he gives a commencement address. If you're reading this Jeffrey, I think you missed one.

I'm not so sure what I missed exactly. I guess I didn't stress enough that Nagin is once again callously and dishonestly representing himself as a hero come to rescue us from the grips of a mysterious racially-based conspiracy. I guess I figured that much is obvious by now.

What I did try to say is that.. well there kind of is something very like a racial and class based "conspiracy" working against recovery... and that Nagin is a complicit player in it.

Part of Nagin's clown act is, I think, calculated to keep this issue confused.
I meant one more thing that they have in common, they both have a lame joke that they run into the ground-- Nagin's about going off script, Bush's about being a C student, he'll use it again when he gives commencement speeches this Spring. It was a joke on my part, I guess a lame one.
That's about right. We really are living in an age of pols whose crucial strengths are there Q ratings and under a governmental system based increasingly on cronyism. And, even for the most cynical among us (hello there) it's becoming less and less amusing. I'd like to finish this comment with something sunny but....
Gov. Memmaw is an older woman and Ray is a youngish man. Despite all the good and bad she did, the old female thing played a part in doing her in. She doesn't speak well but Ray doesn't either but he seems to get away with it. Just an observation.
Yeah, and Nagin seems confident, even if it's a fool's confidence or an ass****'s swagger. She seemed overwhelmed and lost right after Katrina, whereas Nagin wasn't visible enough to look overwhelmed. In retrospect, the hiding that Doug Brinkley blasted Nagin for is probably what saved his career.
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