Tuesday, March 21, 2006
TOP 3 “MONIED” DEMOCRATS TAKE HIT FOR USING MISERY OF STORM VICTIMS FOR PERSONAL POLITICAL GAIN
by Stephanie Grace
Mayor Ray Nagin wants voters to know he was there for Katrina. In fact, his standard stump speech contains a whole section on the subject.
Not to concede the point to the incumbent, Mitch Landrieu wants people to know he was there too, and to that end has filmed a television ad filled with scenes of him helping rescue New Orleanians from the floodwaters.
Yeah, well so were a lot of people, Ron Forman seems to be saying in another ad that started running after Landrieu's.
"Many people were heroes, reaching out to fellow citizens," Forman says in the ad, which treats viewers to a series of photos from the disaster, including one scene of a desperate, racially diverse clump of survivors that just happens to also appear in Landrieu's ad.
The results of Forman's efforts, of course, were mixed. The animals at the zoo made out OK, but the Aquarium of the Americas, which didn't have the power and supplies needed to regulate temperatures and control its delicate environments, lost thousands of residents. Turns out that saving fish from too much water is actually tricky business.
Voters might want to ask his opponents, "where are their fishes?"
Or they might be too busy wondering what happened to those poor people who showed up in both the Landrieu and Forman ads, and whether any of them actually support either candidate.
Or perhaps they're just asking if any of this is appropriate political fodder.
The use of images from New Orleans' own hallowed Ground Zero for political advantage clearly rubs at least some people the wrong way.
Landrieu... when his campaign discovered the footage from a documentary filmmaker he encountered in the 9th Ward, it couldn't resist purchasing it and putting it in an ad -- prompting enough of a backlash to force Landrieu to post a "disclaimer" explaining the circumstances on his Web site.
But if Landrieu comes across as calculating, neither Nagin nor Forman deserves a pass, as both are seeking points for basically sticking around and doing their jobs.