The Worst Mayor in America

Ray Nagin is the worst mayor in the United States. Or surely close to it. I just finished listening to an interview with this man on WWL radio and am amazed at his inability to show any type of leadership and even to express himself coherently. Only rarely does he formulate a sentence that does not include the word “frikkin'” or that does not end in “man?” He has threatened President Bush and other government leaders with the wrath of God for not doing enough, suggesting that God is looking down on the relief efforts and that Bush is going to pay for not doing more and doing it sooner. His sentences are punctuated with slang and profanity. He is out of control.

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I realize that this must be a trying time for Mayor Nagin. Surely he is under incredible stress and is grieving for his city and for all the loss of life. But this is a time when the city needs a leader. This is a time when the city needs a voice that is urgent, but not panicked. This voice needs to be collected and controlled while still conveying the urgency of the situation. A good leader would not lose control as the mayor has. New Orleans needs leadership and Nagin is simply not providing it.

Do you remember how, in the days following September 11, Rudolph Giuliani showed leadership within the city of New York? Do you remember how he worked with the President and with others? Do you remember how he became the voice of New Yorkers, speaking to the world on their behalf? Love or hate the man, he was a leader and his city rallied around him. Nagin is not a leader. He is a complainer and a fighter. He seems to be only barely holding on, on the verge of falling apart altogether. It seems the only people rallying around Nagin are members of the media who delight in his anti-Bush tirades.

It is my hope that the military can take control of the city and that a leader arises who can bring hope to the people of New Orleans. I hear a military commander has been dispatched to the area who, the moment he stepped out of his helicopter, began to bark orders and to make people move. That is exactly what the city needs. Perhaps he can take control. Surely he can do a better job than Nagin, who is just an embarrassment to the city.