Monday, March 06, 2006

Ray Nagin, New Orleans' non-racist racist

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, who you may recall described his city as "chocolate," has extended his campaigning to Houston.

It's no wonder he wants New Orleans rebuilt so badly. As our friend Capital Freedom noted, he said rebuilding is "too important to be left to the market." I commented that he'd naturally say such a thing. The free market right now doesn't consider New Orleans worth rebuilding, not for the massive expense. So Nagin could well be out of a job unless the federal government spends hundreds of billions of dollars to rebuild (which takes away from everywhere else, from a Connecticut town trying to patch its potholes to Los Angeles trying to maintain its freeways).

But I may have been only half right. Nagin would certainly be out of a job once the voters see there's not enough of an economic base from which he can redistribute money (and win support for another term). However, he could be out of a job sooner than I thought -- New Orleans; next mayoral election is very soon. Many of Nagin's supporters are still living outside New Orleans, and it may not be enough that he pull a Kanye West and "blame" their plight on the feds not rebuilding New Orleans quickly enough. Louisiana Republicans are almost certain to challenge absentee ballots on residency grounds. Nagin's opponents will likely argue that living a year in Houston or elsewhere, including receiving U.S. mail and government checks at a non-New Orleans address, disqualifies one as a New Orleans resident. I would agree with that, but actual voter law is so often ignored anyway, and it's hard to say how Louisiana courts will decide. Such a legal battle, though, could be a circus worse than Florida 2000.

Notice something Nagin said to the mostly black audience, in a speech set up by the NAACP: "There are 23 candidates running for mayor. Very few of them look like us. There's a potential to be a major change in the political structure in New Orleans." Can you imagine the mayor of a mostly white Midwest town saying that of minority candidates? That would be decried for days in mainstream media as racist, but Nagin gets a pass.

Michelle Malkin used the term "apartheid," and even that is starting to look like an understatement.

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