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All About C. Ray 

To call Mayor Ray Nagin the Village Idiot is to insult people with IQs of 20. Truth be told, people of extremely limited intelligence tend to be guileless, whereas hypocrites break our hearts on purpose, and usually for selfish reasons. How else to describe a man who lambastes people who fail to vote after failing to vote himself in one of the most important elections in years? Is he the ultimate phony, or just really, really, really clueless?

Perhaps hizzoner just doesn't know the difference between guile and gall " he has not enough of the former to fool anybody and way too much of the latter to be taken seriously.

By now just about everyone is familiar with Nagin's latest display of his unique brand of hypocrisy-as-leadership. A few weeks back, he ranted that he was 'disgusted" with the high level of apathy among voters who did not turn out to cast ballots in this fall's statewide elections, reminding them of the sacrifices that civil rights leaders and protesters made in order to secure suffrage rights less than half a century ago.

He went on to say that it is 'unacceptable" that so few turned out to vote in the Oct. 20 statewide primary. Then, of course, he had to add that he, too, is making a huge personal sacrifice these days " because, as we know, it's not about voting or civil rights or any of that trivial stuff; it's all about C. Ray Nagin, all the time.

'It was kind of offensive to me, because here I am busting my butt every day and all I'm asking citizens to do is to plug into the democratic process," Nagin said. 'Take 20 minutes of your time and decide," he implored before the Nov. 17 runoff. 'Don't just let this thing happen without you voicing your opinion."

Nagin's comment was supposed to be particularly poignant to African-American voters, whose interests he professes to champion " although it's hard to tell by his actions (or inactions) and his policies (or lack thereof). (As an aside that underscores that last point, Nagin was a big no-show last Monday when actor Brad Pitt and others unveiled their 'Make It Right" Lower Ninth Ward resettlement efforts. I guess Nagin was too busy 'busting his butt" for us to lend his support to the cause.)

The kicker to all this, of course, is that Nagin failed to vote himself on Oct. 20. He likewise didn't show up to vote in two important special elections last spring.

Nagin's hypocrisy and detachment have become so blatant that he's almost beyond parody. The man has become a walking caricature. Last week, in an early-morning live appearance on WWL-TV, he finally deigned to address his latest gaffe, if you can call his comments addressing an issue.

When asked by WWL's Eric Paulsen to explain his failure to vote, Nagin replied: 'I'm a pretty religious voter. I don't believe that report. And it causes me to question what's going on with voting, period. I get many reports from people saying, "Look, I've been taken off the rolls. My vote didn't count.' Now I'm going to be watching my vote a lot closer."

Huh?

Paulsen pressed him, asking him directly whether he voted Oct. 20.

'I'm a pretty consistent voter," Nagin said. 'I only recall maybe one or two times that I hadn't voted because I was out working and the clock ran out and I couldn't get to my precinct. But other than that I vote."

Again, a non-answer. Paulsen co-host Rob Nelson asked Nagin if the Secretary of State's office was wrong in stating that (according to its records) Nagin didn't vote.

'I don't know what's going on," Nagin said, not even breaking a sweat. 'I will tell you, I haven't read the whole report. I don't particularly pay attention to those kinds of reports, but I'm gonna watch my voting a lot closer going forward."

C'mon, Mister Mayor, give us a yes or a no, but not a maybe, he was asked.

'From my recollection and from the people who ride with me and stay with me, we have voted very consistently in the past couple of elections."

Including Oct. 20?

'Yeah."

There you have it. The whole world is wrong, including the public record, and C. Ray Nagin is right. And did you catch the 'Royal We" at the end of Nagin's reply " 'We have voted very consistently "?

Yeah, it's all about C. Ray Nagin, baby. All the time.

Next question?

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