Monday, February 18, 2008

Links, memes, crap to read on a Monday

  • I've been enjoying Humid Haney's blog more and more as the arguments in his comment threads have become increasingly contentious (but thoughtful). This last one on "Supporting the Troops but not the War" is a lot of fun. And don't miss Dambala's volume of collected links posted in response.

  • Clancy Dubos smacked Bobby Jindal hard on the Gambit blog a few days ago. In this post, Clancy does an excellent job of pointing out Jindal's paper-Dragonslaying goes well beyond even HannahMontanagate. I'd like to excerpt passages but you really should just go read the whole post. It leads one to believe that this Jindal-as-hypocrite theme isn't going away anytime soon. I will note the following about Clancy's post, however.

    First, I do not support Clancy's (or anyone's) use of the shorthand term "leges" for "legislators". "Leges" sounds like a skin infection your cat might pick up. We all know actual State lawmakers deserve a much less flattering word.

    Second, despite the fact that Clancy really doesn't spare the rod with Jindal this time, the post has drawn comments from Ashley and Daniel who both point out just how late to the game Dubos is with all of this.

    As many of you no doubt recall, Clancy's "Alternative Weekly" paper, endorsed Bobby Jindal in the previous two Gubernatorial elections. In 2007, the Gambit ran an embarrassingly saccharine cover story on the Jindal campaign that focused on the candidate's "Gen-X Geek Appeal" (the article was actually titled Geek Appeal) derived from the fact that Jindal.. uses a Blackberry or something.

    In the comment thread below his post, Clancy is taken to task a bit for his paper's uneven reporting on the Governor's race in general and for the Gambit's endorsement of Jindal which reads in the purplest of all possible prose,

    Now it's up to Louisiana's citizens to answer the call. We think the best way to respond is by electing a governor who will fundamentally change our political culture from top to bottom and present Louisiana in a whole new light to the rest of the world. In our view, Congressman Bobby Jindal will be that kind of governor.


    More than anything else, Bobby Jindal's integrity is above reproach. Given Louisiana's history of political corruption, that will be an immediate asset. As soon as he is sworn in as governor, he promises to call a special session to enact sweeping ethics reforms. That means full financial disclosure for legislators and an end to self-dealing among politicians at all levels of government.

    Rather than answering the commenters directly, Dubos attempts to distance himself from the commentary and reporting of his own paper,

    The Gambit endorsements are determined by a committee, of which I am one member, and the endorsement editorial of Jindal was written and reviewed by no less than 3 people who participated in the decision to endorse him. The newspaper’s endorsement is intended to be just that — the paper’s — not mine personally (no more than the TP’s endorsement is a personal stamp of approval by James Gill, or Ashton Phelps Jr. or Jim Amoss).

    But is this at all convincing? Phelps is the publisher of the T-P just like Clancy is the co-owner (with his wife) and publisher of the Gambit so we on the outside tend to assume his voice speaks a bit more loudly than the other "no less than 3 people" in that room. Surely, Clancy must know this.

    (The T-P's unbalanced treatment of the Jindal campaign through its commentary and reporting was even worse than Gambit's, by the way. But that's an entirely different can of Dragons.)

    In any event, Clancy Dubos should know by now that his name carries a direct association with the newspaper he owns. Besides, Dragonslaying has been Clancy's hobby-horse since time immemorium. This Louisiana inferiority complex that leads to an obsession with "zero tolerance" for "even the appearance of corruption" is practically personified by Clancy Dubos... and his "dear friend C.B. Forgotston". Both men have made careers out of this obsession often to the detriment of clear-eyed political anlaysis. In an earlier post, Clancy published some of his correspondence with Forgotston which concludes,

    In sum, we get exactly the kind of government we deserve, because we get exactly what we’re willing to put up with. If we demand better — and back up our demands with action during AND BETWEEN elections — you might be surprised at the level of “reform” that our lawmakers give us. But, as Earl Long warned, be careful what you ask for. Are we ready for real reform? If so, the incoming governor and Legislature offer a nearly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

    But, in the end, it’s really up to us.

    Despite Clancy's protestations, it's not too difficult to connect his paper's slant on things with his giddiness over the "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" presented by "Gen-X" Jindal.

    But this is nothing new for Clancy. After all, Gambit enthusiastically endorsed Ray Nagin for Mayor of New Orleans in 2002 imagining that "reform" candidate would provide a similar "once-in-a-lifetime" Dragonslaying opportunity.
    We enthusiastically endorse businessman Ray Nagin for mayor. More than any other candidate, he offers real hope for fundamental change at City Hall. His election will send a message to the world that New Orleans has finally embraced political reform.

    Notice how well that text compares with the similar language in Gambit's Jindal endorsement. Clancy's political recommendations tend to be "messages of light" addressed as much "to the world" as they are to Louisiana voters. And while the world hasn't quite received the message Dubos intended in 2002 via the Nagin Administration, Clancy still has trouble letting go of this now thoroughly debunked image of Nagin-as-reformer.

    Maybe he's falling out of love faster with Jindal. But I don't expect they'll be permanently on the outs. Never underestimate the power that the Dragonslaying narrative holds over most of Clancy's analysis.

  • While we're sort of on the subject, don't miss this week's Gambit (Not yet online) for the cover story featuring AntiGravity Magazine's Leo McGovern and the upcoming Alternative Media Expo this Saturday at CAC.

Update: More on Gambit and Jindal at The Reduct Box.

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