Veteran New Orleans political consultant Cheron Brylski, who manages the "Krewe of Truth" political emailing list, sent out a missive last week titled "A Toast to Productive Assholes, Part 1," in which Brylski asked the question: "Do we care if Mayor Mitch Landrieu has been an asshole sometimes during his first term?"
"I've tangled with him myself on different issues and political strategies, and I'm fully aware he doesn't like to loose (sic) arguments," wrote Brylski, who has been associated with the Landrieu family since the 1980s, when she helped the campaign of now-Sen. Mary Landrieu when the mayor's sister was running for her first statewide office as treasurer.
"But ... there are assholes and then there are productive assholes," Brylski added. "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." It was a colorful, if backhanded, salute to Landrieu's style of negotiating and governance, which in his first term as mayor has seen him clash with groups from New Orleans firefighters (over the cost of their pension fund) to taxicab executives and drivers (over modernizing New Orleans' taxi fleet).
It was only the first bit of bad language on the campaign trail last week. At the Alliance For Good Government forum Jan. 16, District A candidate Drew Ward took exception to incumbent Councilwoman Susan Guidry's claim that she had encouraged the development of corner stores in her district. "Guidry full of shit. Has blocked every such bus. in her Dist," Ward tweeted while the forum was still going on.
New Orleans politics has always been a full-contact sport, but only now has it become a scatological event. — Kevin Allman