Monday, September 12, 2005

What does Mary Landrieu think of you?

Pjaminet over at BrothersJudd links to the video of Senator Landrieu on Fox News Sunday provided by The Political Teen and asks readers to "Refute this defense." I think he is being sarcastic, though that joke does seem to permeate the attitude of the general public when considering the work ethic of government employees.

Sure, there are pockets of mismanaged staff and lazy employees in government but it is not exclusive to government alone; most private enterprises have a little better time weeding out those lower performing supervisors and staff and have, again, in most cases, escaped inclusion in the joke. As for the inference that a 'sunny day' might be an irresistible temptation of enjoying the day while working, doing a bit of daydreaming or losing some efficiency by taking a little longer lunch or leaving early, well, I'd say that afflicts us all.

Maybe this area of Upstate NY is not a good example. Maybe this area is just not one of the "most" that Senator Landrieu educates listeners about but I find Senator Landrieu's comment inapplicable. On the Federal level, the service in the two Post Offices I frequent are more satisfactory, models of efficiency and hard work. I frequently deal with several state departments as well as see many of their employees out working when moving about town and I can't say they work any less harder than those not obviously state employees. At the lowest eschalons, the local DMV office is amazingly efficient and, I have to say it was enjoyable to deal with them. Ditto for the other county, town and city employees. And let me note, for the record, I am not one to have a laid back attitude with waiting in line.

Maybe Senator Landrieu is talking based on her experiences in her little corner of the country. When I think about it, I remember these same "people" Senator Landrieu wants to include in her characterization doing more than their duty in a downstate enclave called New York City in the midst of harrowing disaster one day more than four years ago and that was a sunny day. And they kept doing it for weeks. And on that sunny day and, for many other days both sunny and cloudy besides, hundreds and hundreds of other local and state employees came to lend a hand and work hard.

But with the truth of her comment put out of the way, the real basis for this post is Senator Landrieu's comment. Here is a fuller quote of her response to Chris Wallace's question of whether it was not also "incompetent and insulting" -- Landrieu's characterization of the federal response made in comments on the Senate floor -- to declare a mandatory evacuation and not marshal the transportation required of those without available means to evacuate (ht: The Political Teen, for the video from which this transcript was made):

... I am not going to level criticism at the local level. These people did ... (cross-talk) I will, I will answer it. I am not going to level criticism at local and state officials. Mayor Nagin and most mayors in this country have a hard time getting their people to work on a sunny day, less alone for getting them out of the city in front of a hurricane. And, it's because this administration and administrations before them do not understand the difficulties that mayors, whether they are a Land Oak (?) or Miami or New Orleans, face. In other words, this administration does not believe in mass transit. They won't even get their people to work on a sunny day less alone getting them out ... (interrupted) ...less alone, I will if you let me finish ... If I could, please...

It is obvious that Senator Landrieu had prepared a blanket response, this blanket response, to fend off requests to indicate their might be, in her mind, some blame to posit at the local and state level. Is this what her staff put together or did she think it up by herself? Not that that matters too much. If it was her staff, she obviously had memorized it by air time and in memorizing it, she obviously agreed with and approved of it.

Let me just leave aside that, these PEOPLE that Senator Landrieu holds up as representative of government employees, both management and staff, ARE HER CONSTITUENTS. These PEOPLE voted for her in large numbers, particularly in New Orleans. It seems to me, the fact of the matter is Senator Landrieu's response indicates she harbors a very, very low opinion of her constituents. Extremely low, considering she was brazen enough to declare it on national television. And the fact that this comment has such an air of 'stock phrase' in them there parts that Senator Landrieu's haunts, I wonder how often she uses it in the circles she favors when not doing her public duties. I wonder how widely she spreads this buttery stock phrase over other identifiable groups of people of Louisiana. She obviously had no second thoughts about buttering it over most of the local and state government employees throughout the country and I think she was adding most of the federal employees at the end. She obviously had a hankering to make sure we knew her opinion of people she has dedicated her life to being in a position for bossing around and calling incompetent.

That might be something Kanye West could think about. The citizens of Louisiana ought to think about it, too, and then consider my earlier post with respect to Senator Mary Landrieu.

Update: The Daily Howler has the most comprehensive mauling of Senator Landrieu's appearance on FNS that I've seen. It's worth reading every word of "There's Nothing About Mary". (ht: The Corner)

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