Advocate columnist Stephanie Grace wrote on Jan. 12 about “…one of Bagneris’ chief complaints about Landrieu, that he can’t work with other politicians and agencies…This, of course, goes to what’s shaping up as a major theme of the election. There’s no question that Landrieu has battled with not only the Obama administration, but with the city’s firefighters over the pension, its judges over the size of the bench and the prospect of a new courthouse, and so on. He’s ticked people off; they’re now going public. The question remains: Do average voters care? And even if they do, which side are they likely to take?”
Translation: Do we care if Mayor Mitch Landrieu has been an asshole sometimes during his first term?
I’m getting a lot of emails and texts and facebook posts about assholes lately, but this slap at the Mayor by those on the other side bothers me because it is irrelevant.
It reminds me ironically of a column written by Clancy Dubos back when Mayor Dutch Morial was running for re-election, and there were tons of complaints about him, but in the end Dubos wrote: “He’s an asshole, but he’s our asshole.”
So let me say something about assholes in general, and in politics in particular.
First of all, if you think creative people are all nice and fuzzy, watch the movie Jobs or read the book about the Apple genius. Nearly every visionary I’ve ever met is charming, productive and asshole-ish at the same time.
As it concerns politics, power is never handed over on a silver platter. In the case of New Orleans, after Nagin, our city was on the brink of a complete shutdown. Mitch has had to be an asshole to herd cats? So what! And look, I’ve tangled with him myself on different issues and political strategies, and I’m fully aware he doesn’t like to loose arguments. But…there are assholes and then there are PRODUCTIVE assholes. And in politics, the productive ones are often what you need when you have some place to go and no easy road to get there.
As Dutch Morial used to say…”It’s not that they don’t like me. They don’t like the fact I’ve made a decision.” Exactly. Even when I disagree, I still like the person who takes a stand and has a vision.
A toast to productive assholes…