In a previous post I mused that New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin politically may have gotten a break with his city falling into disaster, that he could evoke sympathy. That was before we knew how extensively Nagin had shirked his responsibility to the city and then tried to blame others for it.
Nagin’s failure to competently discharge his duty began long before the Katrina near-miss cracked levees in Orleans Parish. He appeared not to take seriously disaster preparation even though he has been in office over two years. In retrospect, his plan seemed to be this:
1. Tell everybody to evacuate
2. Whoever doesn’t, get city buses to pick them up and take them to shelters, the primary one being the Superdome
3. When it was over, rescue who needs to be rescued using all public safety forces while pleading for help
It was a plan horribly flawed from the start:
For three days, Nagin ran around like a chicken with its head cut off, watching his plan fail, until he decided to move on to his Plan B – blame everybody else, especially Pres. George W. Bush. Which perhaps makes us understand why his policies did so little to have the city prepared for the crisis and to cope with it afterward – as is typical with the liberalism/populism that infuses the political culture of this state, especially in New Orleans, he abdicated responsibility and stuck his hand out waiting for somebody else to take charge and give him something.
The task of rebuilding New Orleans will be long and arduous, and the area and state cannot waste a moment in doing so. It requires wisdom and leadership that Nagin has shown us he does not possess. The grownups from the federal government seem to be in charge of the situation now, so if Nagin could mature for just one moment he can do what he must in order to maximize the city’s chances of recovery – resign as mayor.