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This time, Nagin inserts his entire foot into his mouth

I suppose I should thank New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin for validating a recent post I made where I wrote, at best, Nagin could make a general election runoff in the upcoming (fingers crossed) New Orleans mayoral election, but not win. In it, I noted Nagin’s recent good insider political skills but noted his conduct publicly concerning the initial phases of Hurricane Katrina’s striking the city and some remarks afterwards would keep him from reelection.

About the time I wrote those words, Nagin spoke to a rally in honor of Martin Luther King Day where, as has become his signature style, he waxed both astutely and idiotically. Maximal attention has been granted to his remarks about the Deity perhaps smiting his city with the storm, and that chocolate has been and will be the majority flavor of New Orleans’ racial composition.

New Orleans undeniably has its wicked side, but I just don’t think people would find that a convincing reason to unleash wind and flood on it (especially not when the Deity seemed to ignore situations such as wickedness in the White House in the latter 1990s). And absurdly asserting the war in Iraq is a mistake also meriting the Deity's attention will really win him bonus points among policymakers who back the war -- the same ones who have control over pursestrings that could shake some cash loose for reconstructing New Orleans. Moreover, Nagin lacks the Deity’s omniscience so how can he claim credibly that New Orleans always will be a majority black city?

Again, this isn’t the rhetoric that wins one another term in office and overshadows a very cogent point that Nagin also made – poorly. He claimed another reason why New Orleans took the Deity’s wrath was because blacks often were their own worst enemies when it came to achieving progress as a community.

Now, surely the Deity wouldn’t show His displeasure (if He even has any) at failures among black people or anybody else by injuring them – there’s enough in the way of excessive wind that does that already. But despite his apocalyptic rendition of the problem, Nagin’s central idea that the black community has done much to harm itself merely echoes others (which earns the wrath of those invested in the idea that pathologies in the black community are visited upon it by neither the Deity nor blacks themselves, but by evil whitey).

Maybe the “chocolate” remark was Nagin’s way of trying to reassure blacks that proposals for rebuilding New Orleans that he may endorse tomorrow that could be interpreted as discriminating against blacks will not. If so, even by his standards he reached new heights (or, perhaps better expressed, tumbled to new depths) of creating controversy. Or maybe he wants to appear as weird as possible, to make his political opponents underestimate him (the first part is working marvelously).

In the final analysis, this whole episode encapsulates Nagin’s political abilities – that while behind the scenes he seems to have some skills, his public behavior and rhetoric make him seem like a political eccentric. The latter traits certainly can’t assist in exercise of the former. He won’t get reelected, so the least he can do to help the city rebuild, and thus to reinvigorate the Louisiana’s economy, until he leaves office is when in public to just shut up.

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