With all of this press coverage, to say Landrieu is doing a mere publicity tour for his book is a gross understatement. He is obviously using the book launch to generate massive national media coverage to set the stage for a presidential race in 2020.
In a Politico story posted this morning, Landrieu is hailed as “The Cajun Democrat who could shake up the 2020 field.” In the glowing article, the writer quotes from a number of Landrieu fans, including political consultant James Carville, who calls the Mayor, “a remarkable talent…on the Bill Clinton, Barack Obama scale.”
Not surprisingly, the writer fails to interview one Landrieu critic who could provide another perspective and some balance to the piece. It is similar to the rock star treatment he has been receiving on the national stage.
In these interviews, none of the hosts ask Landrieu about the myriad of problems he is leaving behind in New Orleans. They seem clueless about the Sewerage and Water Board debacle that was caused by Landrieu’s incompetent management. The city’s serious problems such as the high rate of violent crime, horrible street conditions, thousands of blighted homes, escalating drug crisis, surging homeless population, and a 52% rate of black male unemployment are never mentioned. Instead, Landrieu is given a platform to claim that supporters of the Confederate monuments are akin to white supremacists and President Trump voters are guilty of racism and backing a candidate very similar to David Duke.
This slander of monument supporters and Trump voters is never challenged by the liberal hosts, but it is a truly scurrilous charge by a political scoundrel. Many preservationists and New Orleans citizens concerned with historic preservation opposed his effort to remove the monuments. They were not motivated by racial concerns, but by a reverence for history. They realized that to learn from history, New Orleans should not try to erase history, especially during a year in which the city is celebrating its Tri-Centennial.
In his interview on The Daily Show, Landrieu ludicrously claimed that he was “surprised” at “how visceral the backlash was” to his scheme to remove the monuments. Of course, he knew very well that removing monuments that had stood for over 100 years would generate opposition.
People throughout the metropolitan New Orleans area were upset because the Mayor was using a sham process to remove the monuments. He never gave the citizens a vote on the issue and instead rammed a “nuisance ordinance” through the lap dog City Council. After prevailing in court, he eventually removed the monuments in the middle of the night, using city firefighters and police officers. Overall, it cost at least $2 million to remove the monuments, a waste of precious resources that should have been used to address the myriad of other problems the Mayor spent two terms ignoring.
Regarding the racism charge against President Trump, Landrieu is resurrecting the favorite bogeyman of the liberals, David Duke. Trump was elected due to his ability to connect with downtrodden Americans of all races and backgrounds. His appeal was based on improving economic and national security, not pitting one race against another. Landrieu knows that Trump is not a racist, but he realizes that making the outrageous accusation will generate support among the far-left wing of the Democratic Party.
All of these defamatory claims and publicity seeking comments are part of Landrieu’s obvious attempt to generate support for a presidential bid. However, it should matter to both the media and Democratic Party leaders that his entire narrative is based on a mountain of lies. He created the controversy over the Confederate monuments to boost his national profile. Prior to Landrieu manufacturing the controversy, there was no raging debate in New Orleans about the monuments. He took advantage of the national controversy over the murders of African American churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina to target the Confederate monuments for removal.
Throughout the two year monument debate, every step Landrieu took was based on improving his national political standing, not making New Orleans a better community. He divided the city, ignored major problems, but generated plenty of publicity for himself. Now, he has a book, national acclaim as a presidential candidate, but, in his wake, he left a divided and broken city.
New Orleans has not healed from the strain caused by Landrieu’s selfish campaign to remove the monuments. He promised to find new locations for the monuments and create new attractions for the old sites. Of course, he is leaving office without fulfilling these promises. The next Mayor inherits not just the monument problems, but a myriad of other troubles Landrieu failed to address. This is the story the national media should be reporting, not the fairy tale Mitch Landrieu is spinning in his shameful tour to sell books and launch a presidential campaign.
Jeff Crouere is a native New Orleanian and his award winning program, “Ringside Politics,” airs locally at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and at 10:00 p.m. Sundays on PBS affiliate WLAE-TV, Channel 32, and from 7-11 a.m. weekdays on WGSO 990-AM & www.Wgso.com. He is a political columnist, the author of America's Last Chance and provides regular commentaries on the Jeff Crouere YouTube channel and on www.JeffCrouere.com. For more information, email him at [email protected]