Wednesday, September 14, 2005

At Last

The same day Little Lord Shrubelroy finally admitted that his hand was in the cookie jar that the buck kinda, sorta, to "the extent that the federal government was responsible," stops, oh, somewhere in the executive branch...the 'nuts--with Jake Tapper's help, of all people--shouted "WAAAIIIIT!!!" SCAPEGOAT found a, um, scapegoat:

Congressman William Jefferson.

In wingnut eyes, he looks "just like OJ--of course they know."

Jefferson, to be fair, did a REALLY stupid thing: according to the report, on September 2nd, while "touring" his Uptown neighborhood in a military vehicle to "inspect damage," he had the driver pull over to his house in order to retrieve personal items: three suitcases, a laptop computer, and a box about 2 to 2 1/2 feet square.

This is dumb for two reasons: first, the congressman is under investigation in an unrelated matter, and items were seized from his home during a raid last month. Second, the city is under armed guard. Citizens attempting to do the same would almost certainly be detained/arrested. Pulling a stunt like this is crass, pure and simple.

But the way Tapper reported on this would make you think the Congressman is Carlos Marcello...when the reality is that Jefferson's actions, as dumb as they are, amount to spitting on the sidewalk.

That didn't stop ABC from prominently portraying the congressman--and John "Fading into Senatorial Insignificance" Kerry--visiting shelters here in the Gret Stet... then you've got his very name--William Jefferson--to light a fire under 'nut feet...two out of three, if you think about it.

And, finally, as noted above, Congressman Jefferson is being investigated, which already puts him on the defensive.

To be honest, I don't know much about William Jefferson. He ran for governor a few years back (and was beaten badly), he tends to vote conservative (IIRC, he voted in favor of the appalling bankruptcy bill), and, given what I DO know about Louisiana politics, I can't believe his hands are all that clean. I wouldn't describe him as "charasmatic" at all. Competent? Perhaps...again, I just don't know, and Jefferson doesn't get a lot of press up here in BR.

In other words, he'll make a perfect scapegoat...or at least a scapegoat of the moment--for wingnuttia to latch on to. If nothing else, Jefferson provides a diverson while the administration desperately tries to get back "on message"...because slamming folks IS the message. And, to be fair, retrieving personal items in the way he did WAS dumb. Even Ray Nagin--asked to comment by Koppel following the report--could only say he hoped there was an explanation.

Here's my explanation: Jefferson did a dumb thing. What's that got to do with the abject failure on the part of the federal government to respond to the disaster?

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