Monday, June 2, 2008

McCain's New Orleans Paradox

Posted on Mon, Jun 2, 2008 at 12:02 PM

by Sam Winston

According to John McCain's website, he will be at a rally in Kenner tomorrow and a town hall meeting in Baton Rouge on Wednesday.

Aside from peaking more Jindal VP speculation (including this NYT piece calling Jindal the "New Champion" of the Right), his visit and his campaign's latest charge on Iraq presents an interesting paradox to New Orleanians as well.

After stating publicly that Barack Obama should have visited Iraq more and that thus McCain's eight visits make him the better authority on the war, the campaign continued to press the issue by plastering the heading "Tell Senator to Visit Iraq" front and center on McCain's website. Yet, as Sam Stein of the Huffington Post points out, that rationale would make McCain anything but an authority on New Orleans and the Recovery.

According to a Mother Jones piece on McCain's Katrina Record

"Forty Senators and 100 members of Congress visited New Orleans before he[McCain] did; he finally got there in March 2006. He voted against establishing a Congressional commission to examine the Federal, State, and local responses to Katrina in med-September 2005. He repeated that vote in 2006."

McCain came once more in 2007, though the official purpose of the trip was a private fundraiser, and then most recently in April to tour the ninth Ward with Jindal.

"Contrast this schedule to Obama's. By February 2008, the Illinois Democrat, according to his website, had visited New Orleans five since Katrina struck. Those trips included public announcements about Gulf Coast recovery plans, tours of devastated areas, public speeches, and campaign events.- HP

As an FYI, I don't buy either argument on the given merits of being there more times, nor do I think Katrina provides near enough leverage nationally for Obama to try and use it in this way. My main point is that if you are a New Orleanian that buys this particular McCain-Iraq argument, you pretty much have to also admit that he is not as good as Obama is for the Recovery.

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