Monday, June 04, 2007

When Clancy Met Robby

In this week's Gambit, Clancy DuBos brings up a point that I was unaware of:
A run for Congress is possible -- but not with the money that Nagin has been raising thus far. That cash falls under state campaign finance laws and cannot be used in a federal campaign. Nagin could, however, use his current campaign fund to run for governor.

(Clancy seems to take it for granted that Nagin would follow federal campaign finance laws.) He also brings up a point that's been missing from most of the discussion of a possible Nagin run for governor -- how he could run a losing campaign and still gain in stature by filling a statewide African-American leadership void. Frankly, theories that Nagin would run as a favor to his Republican allies never made any sense, but it's easy to remember what a failed gubernatorial bid did for Cleo Fields. Or would have done, had Fields not been videotaped stuffing his pockets with money that Edwin Edwards handed him.

The case could easily be made that a failed run for governor could actually strengthen Nagin's position for future elections, including a possible run for Jefferson's seat. Instead, DuBos suggests that Nagin sees a run for governor as a way to position himself to succeed Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton on the national stage. One would really have to wonder where DuBos came up with such a foolish notion, unless he listened to Rob Couhig's morning radio show. Couhig thinks that Nagin wants to run for the Senate, but other than that, at least twice a week, Couhig will say that a statewide race would (in Nagin's mind) make him a national figure -- like Jackson and Sharpton.

I really don't care if DuBos is stealing ideas from Couhig, and I doubt that anybody reading this would either. But it does point out just how much group think goes on among the local press corps. I've brought this up in emails to one or two other people before, but it seems obvious that the nobody in the local media is ever going to question any of the accepted ideas about the mayor until events force such questioning. For example, it will be an unquestioned fact that "at least the mayor is honest," unless he gets indicted for something. Or enough people start stating the obvious.

Very late clarification:

With thanks to Jeffrey, I did make the Cleo Fields comparison in a post a month before the DuBos' column, but I wouldn't accuse him of stealing ideas -- not mine anyway, I'll get to the Sharpton/Jackson foolishness. The comparison seemed so obvious that I'm surprised that it took mainstream pundits so long to make it.

I actually need to give some credit to Rob Couhig. Before the gubernatorial speculation began, but after the questions about Nagin's fund raising had started, Couhig mentioned the black leadership void at the state level, said that Nagin liked the attention that comes with campaigning more than he liked the work of holding office, and that even a losing campaign for state office could vault him into a leadership position. So far, so good, but Couhig also came up with the truly bizarre notion (seconded by Clancy) that by filling a black leadership void at the state level, Nagin would get onto the national stage with Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. Couhig also seemed to think that Nagin shares his thelandrieus (it's always thelandrieus with Couhig) obsession; I actually heard Couhig say, "I don't think that Nagin's finished with thelandrieus yet" on his talk show one morning. So I did take the plausible idea that losing a statewide race could benefit Nagin from Couhig, I jsut thought that the Sharpton comparison was absurd and decided that a Cleo Fields analogy was more sensible. Also, a senate run to punish thelandrieus would seem to be a violation of federal campaign law. Then again, Couhig may know Nagin well enough to know that Nagin doesn't consider himself bound by campaign laws.

Thank you thank you thank you for pointing out the Cleo Fields model in a Nagin for Governor discussion. I think this is more than anything else the likely explanation for a "crazy" entrance into the race at this point. I think, in examining Nagin, most observers make the mistake of not thinking small enough.
You're right about people not thinking small enough, but it's not that small. That campaign did a lot for Fields' stature, even though he was trounced.
It makes a perverse sort of sense. Nagin runs for governor, loses to a Republican, since any African American candidate will almost automatically get into the run off, although right now there is not a strong Democrat running.

He then runs against Jefferson (or against someone else if Bill is convicted) and goes to Congress.

I can't believe the African American establishment will accept Nagin as a replacement for Jesse or Al. Obama seems the obvious heir apparent there, especially if he makes a strong showing in the Presidential race. If Obama wins it's absolutely no contest.
I don't think they'll accept him as a national leader either. I think what's noteworthy about the analysis is the level of group think among local political commentators. But losing an election can make you look like a loser, or it can position a politician for other elections or for other political jobs that aren't elective.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Old Favorites
  • Political Boxing (untitled)
  • Did Bush Take His Ball and Go Home
  • Teratogens and Plan B
  • Foghorn Leghorn Republicans
  • Quote of the Day
  • October's News(Dec.1)
  • untitled, Nov.19 (offshore revenue)
  • Remember Upton Sinclair
  • Oct. Liar of thr month
  • Jindal's True Colors
  • No bid contracts