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.