The September 21 New York Times tells readers that New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, “did not get everyone out, did not fire up the school buses for evacuees, did not have enough food or water for them in the Superdome or the convention center, did not protect people adequately and let the looters loot....”
The Times says Nagin, “had to answer for flying to Dallas the second weekend after Hurricane Katrina to visit his evacuated family.... And of course there was the famous flash of Nagin temper on the Thursday after the storm, when he railed at the federal authorities, ‘Now get off your asses and do something.’ In most cities, the public would say, ‘Sure, but why didn't you do it first?’”
None of this would be unusual or remarkable except for the fact that every word of this comes from an article in which the Times lionizes Ray Nagin as a “folk hero”. What is it the New York Times sees in this loser? Their title, “A Storm Survivor, Political Reputation Intact” boggles the mind. “Reputation intact”--says who? Certainly not the thousands of evacuees. Certainly not the anonymous authors of samizdat leaflets now appearing on New Orleans telephone poles which read, “(Louisiana Governor Kathleen) Blanco and Nagin Must Go!”
The New York Times article is a message to Ray Nagin: the hundreds of dead won’t matter. The looting won’t matter. The criminals shooting at rescue helicopters won’t matter. The hundreds of thousands of people driven out of their homes won’t matter--the Times’ Joyce Purnick is telling Ray Nagin that his precious reputation--and more importantly his job--can be his to keep.
US News and World Report calls Purnick’s article, “a heavy-handed editorial (posing as a news report), and a foolish one at that.” US News is thinking of the Times battered reputation, which is certainly taking another self-inflicted blow from this article. The more pertinent question is--after all the devastation to which he contributed, what is the Times telling Nagin he must do to go from goat to hero? What does the Times want?
The Times acknowledges all of Nagin’s vast failings in its article yet praises Nagin for only one action--an action so important that it can outweigh all the devastation caused by Nagin’s incompetence. According to the Times, Nagin “seems to be unapologetically making it up as he goes along, as he did on Monday (September 19) when he (temporarily) defied official advice to slow the reopening of his city.”
That’s what the Times wants to see more of.
In other words, the first complete destruction of an American city since 1906 doesn’t matter as long as Nagin hustles to get all those Democrat voters back into town before they settle in the neighboring red states where their votes will be diluted--or even worse, freed from the confines of Louisiana’s corrupt system, some may even start voting GOP.
If Nagin does his job he can count on the Times’ comrades at the Democratic National Committee and the Louisiana state Democrat organization to make sure he doesn’t face a serious primary opponent in February. The real issue for the Times is not the human suffering or the challenges of recovery and rebuilding--it is getting all those captive Democrat voters back onto the welfare plantation. They know the departure of these captive voters in the wake of the Katrina disaster will push Louisiana solidly into the Republican column. This article is a message to Nagin--get those voters back to Louisiana and we will fix everything for you.
If Nagin pulls it off, he will be more like a “hero of the Soviet Union” than any kind of “folk hero.”
In case Nagin didn’t get the point, the Times offers this bit of wisdom from James W. Nickel, a former Louisiana state Democratic chairman who is quoted saying, “There's a lot of pressure to get business going again in New Orleans....”
When Louisiana Democrats refer to ‘business’ they don’t mean ‘private enterprise’ they mean the ‘business’ of running a corrupt welfare state where the poor are kept on the dole, in poverty, and voting Democrat. In this system opportunity seekers are those who graft and skim from the treasury. As a shop owner, defending his store armed with a claw hammer and a revolver, told Purnick, “This isn't the United States, darling; this is a colony of the powers that be.”
And the Times is doing everything in its power to prod Nagin into keeping it that way.