Ray Ray needs a spanking
Ray Nagin, hot on the heels of an upset victory over a more sensible choice for mayor, displayed a flippant disregard for business at a church service speech he delivered on Sunday:
Responding to a reporter who said he overheard a pair of corporate powerbrokers at Landrieu's election night party Saturday say that Nagin's victory would prompt them to move their companies out of New Orleans, the mayor said he will continue to reject the kind of patronage that has defined the city for generations.
"If they decide they want to opt out of that, then I don't know where they're going to go," Nagin said. "Where are they going to find a New Orleans of 1840? It just is not there. So I hear all that rhetoric about them leaving. I don't believe it. Business people are predators. And if the economic opportunities are here, they're going to stay. . . . I hope they stay, but if they don't, I'll send them a postcard."
With his handlers circling him like nervous cats, Nagin, who showed no desire to walk away from the microphones, smiled wickedly as he pledged to welcome his former supporters back.
"Once they get over the shock of me winning this election, I think they will be OK," he said. "Six million dollars is a lot of money. I wish I would have had that. I probably would have advertised in Africa somewhere."
New Orleans of 1840? What's that supposed to mean? Send businesses that quit on New Orleans a postcard? Will you be able to afford the postage? Advertise in Africa? Is that your constituency?
Will somebody among Nagin's advisors putting together the 100-day plan please -- I mean PLEASE! -- tell the man to shut his effing trap!
I had a draft of this post working when I read on the front page of this morning's Times-Picayune that some business leaders had the same reaction to Nagin's gaffe:
"If we're encouraged to leave, then I think it gives many of us doubt on whether we should stay here. Frankly, I'd like to see the rhetoric change," said Gregory Rusovich, president and chief executive of TransOceanic Shipping Co. Inc. "We are struggling to keep our business in Louisiana, which is not the easiest place to operate a business."
At least there was one positive comment on Sunday by Nagin. This is the kind of message we need to hear more from Nagin:
"Here was a young brother who was out there doing what he was doing, taking advantage of this economic boom that is hitting the city. That's the New Orleans I want to see, where whites and blacks and Asians and Hispanics are all working together to expand this pie. And it's going to be a big pie."
Lolis Elie in The Times-Picayune interpreted Nagin's victory as a gesture of solidarity by black voters:
Black voters weren't going to spank Nagin in public, especially if white voters were going to join in the spanking.
Nagin would benefit, I think, from a vigorous spanking.
I truly hope I'm wrong, but Nagin voters might come to regret their decision:
The outcome of the election on Saturday reminds me of what former New York Mayor Ed Koch said when he lost his re-election bid to David Dinkins: "The people have spoken. It is now time for them to be punished."