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Day 815: New Orleans vs. America

NYTimes: Panel Picks 4 Debate Sites, Angering Excluded New Orleans

IHT: Organizer told New Orleans “not ready” for presidential debate

New Orleans was turned down as a site for one of the 2008 presidential debates because organizers said it had not sufficiently recovered from Hurricane Katrina to handle such an important event, the woman spearheading the effort said Monday. 

“I was shocked to say the least,” said Anne Milling, founder of Women of the Storm, a group of local women who have aided recovery efforts and lobbied for federal aide. “This is exactly the sort of thing we do so well. I can’t understand the reasoning.”

A number of NOLA bloggers are incensed about this turn of events and rightfully so.  If New Orleans is good enough for the Society of Exploration Geophysicists annual meeting, various large medical conferences and can host thousands upon thousands during Carnival season, why not one measly presidential debate?  If a debate is not held in the nexus of our unraveling as a nation, the cynosure of the descent, the lens that focuses the knowledge that our government doesn’t have a stitch on, where else? 

Not one of the 2004 debates may have been held there, but where did the 2004 Republican National Convention take place?  New York City.  And where will the 2008 convention go down?  Minneapolis.  Far be it from the GOP to face down hard truths in a city where they have failed Americans repeatedly.  But, why allow the GOPers to take sole blame (or why do they unconsciously blame themselves) for keeping the national conversation away from New Orleans when debate locations are chosen by a bipartisan commission and the spineless Democrats have chosen Denver as their party location?

The arguments are not about America and its problems any longer; they have been whittled down to non-topics as asinine as Islamophobia, the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman and who has more political experience.  If we were to calmly and rationally talk about the state of Americans at home and abroad as well as our real plagues, sans the stage makeup and bluster, hell, America may make some progress.  Not movement.  Progress.

Something Nameless Tim said over email today continues to stick with me and is worth sharing with a wider audience.

“[This] underscores how totally controlled by the two major parties this particular debate organization is.  Once upon a time, presidential debates were organized by the League of Women Voters and PBS.  Now it’s this “Presidential Debates Commission,” which is a puppet of the Democrats and Republicans.  They have adopted increasingly tight rules to keep anyone but their annointed candidates to participate and they play the game of trying to one-up each other.  If the destruction and recovery of New Orleans is an issue, then in a legitimate political process, that would make us MORE desireable!!!” [sic]

American politics is a club and we, the people, are not invited.  New Orleans does not further any party’s political agenda like New York City did the Republicans’ continued presence in Iraq.  This in itself is telling of the Democrats’ poor strategy because they could use this place to their advantage and gloat about how horribly the current administration bungled the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the flood, and how they could do better if elected.  Of course, they won’t.  Such Oh So Obvious cannot happen when the wool is pulled over our eyes and a Republican president tells Democrats for which candidate to cast a vote.

The ignominy of being a New Orleanian and an American today.

6 comments… add one
  • Schroeder November 21, 2007, 12:38 AM

    We’re not invited, but they’ll still inundate us with donation requests.

  • Northeasterner November 21, 2007, 7:37 PM

    This is B.S. One of the debates should definitely be held in NOLA. — Northeasterner

  • Editor B November 26, 2007, 2:44 PM

    Thanks for sharing Tim’s comment. He’s right, you know!

  • Tim November 27, 2007, 11:49 PM

    Oh, look at that garbled comment of mine–I musta been some angry when I wrote that!

    Here’s what I found with some additional research. Past presidential debates were sponsored by:
    1960 – ABC, CBS, NBC
    1976 – League of Women Voters
    1980 – League of Women Voters
    1984 – League of Women Voters
    1988 – Commission on Presidential Debates
    1992 – Commission on Presidential Debates
    1996 – Commission on Presidential Debates
    2000 – Commission on Presidential Debates
    2004 – Commission on Presidential Debates

    And so on…

    Get the full story about the scam of these modern debates at:



  • Louisiana 1976 November 30, 2007, 1:31 PM

    I’m a Daily Kos diarist (blogger) who’s been trying to get off the ground a grassroots effort to demand a fifth debate for New Orleans. The original diary can be seen at

    Following is a “pass-on” bloggers and others who are angry that New Orleans has been rejected as a debate and wish to contact and have others contact the commission members are encouraged to copy and paste in blogs and elsewhere. This needs to be spread about the blogosphere so it gets wide exposure.


    The presidential debate site selection commission’s rejection of New Orleans must not be allowed to stand in light of how Katrina and its lingering after-effects are continuing to affect this country. We need a New Orleans debate so that this will be discussed. Her rejection as a debate site is morally indefensible, un-American, and a politically-motivated sham. And to compound this, commission members have been telling various lies about New Orleans to CYA. Here is contact info for the group members:

    Co-Chair Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr. (President, CEO of American Gaming Association) [Ed. Fahrenkopf was head of the RNC in the 80’s]

    Co-Chair Paul G. Kirk Jr. (Retired Partner of some law firm) [Ed. – Kirk was the head of the DNC in the 80’s]
    617-338-2987 pkirk@sandw.com

    Howard G. Buffet (Howard G. Buffet Foundation)

    Sen. John C. Danforth (Former Senator, that is)
    314-259-2980 jcdanforth@bryancave.com

    Antonia Hernandez (California Community Foundation)
    213-413-4130 ahernandez@ccf-la.org

    Caroline Kennedy (Famous Daughter)

    Mike McCurry (Former Clinton guy)

    Newton N. Minow
    847-835-3118 nminow@sidley.com

    Dorothy Ridlings (Huh?)

    Sen. Alan K. Simpson (Former Senator, that is)

    H. Patrick Swygert (President of Howard University)

    Now, what we need to do is, whether we call or e-mail these commission members, let them know they need to accede to the following demands to make things right for New Orleans and Louisiana:


    1.) Publicly apologize to the people and city of New Orleans and the state and people of Louisiana. Add that rejecting New Orleans as one of the four original debate sites was in error.

    2.) Tell the truth about New Orleans–that she has beautifully hosted all sorts of events after Katrina and would be the perfect site for a presidential debate.

    And the following is the most important because it is the only satisfactory way this issue will be resolved. It is non-negotiable–nothing less will be acceptable:

    3.) Plan, schedule, and announce a FIFTH presidential debate to be held in New Orleans.


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