Sunday, February 19, 2006

Where are you Mitch?

It's time for Mitch to get into the game if he's serious about running for mayor. Mitch Landrieu mentions on the Web are dying down according to Technorati:

I'm sure he's thinking about the 2007 race for governor. The cajun parishes that swung for Blanco in 2003 will probably be looking elsewhere for leadership in 2007. "Republicans are acting like sharks that smell blood in the water," according to The Rothenberg Political Report.

Mitch is probably wondering more than anything how he'd fare against Bobby Jindal. There's no doubt that the governor's job is a more powerful position, and a stepping stone to a national race, but the mayor's job will make more of a difference to New Orleanians, especially since (as we've seen), a lousy mayor will hurt the city as much as a lousy governor.

I'll go out on a limb here, but I don't think Mitch could beat Jindal. Mitch's negatives among Republicans are greater than Jindal's negatives among Democrats. I know this is not a time for partisan politics (I wish Republicans agreed), but things being what they are post-Katrina, my sense is that Democratic-leaning voters think more independently than Republicans and are more likely to switch camps (precisely the reason why cajun parishes swing). That gives Jindal the edge in a close governor's race.

I don't think Mitch loses if he runs for mayor. He has a better chance of making a difference, and of being a hero, by successfully rebuilding the city. He'll have a bigger impact by handling the day-to-day details than by overseeing the process from Baton Rouge.

Of course, there's also a greater risk of getting mud in his face given the difficulties ahead -- and the ever-present threat of another hurricane. But Mitch is up to the challenges -- he's savvy and smart, willing to state his case and stand by his principles, and with his big heart and low-key manners, he wins friends and converts easily.

So Mitch, where are you?


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