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Couhig: the duke of dithering

November 7th, 2009

How does Rob Couhig get away with attending forums for mayoral candidates when he won’t yet declare whether he’s actually going to run?

Recall that in ’06 Couhig blasted Mitch Landrieu for taking too long to decide whether to run for mayor. He criticized him on the radio, in commercials, and on blogs for not being decisive enough. Couhig called Landrieu the “Prince of Vacillation”— a person who freezes at the moment when “bold leadership is required”. This claim was the centerpiece of Couhig’s attacks on Landrieu.

Fast forward to September 2009. Couhig boldly announced that he would announce something “soon” about his mayoral intentions. This excited the Couhig Conservatives, who are (it cannot be repeated too often) very, very smart voters. However: curiously— inconceivably— weeks and months have passed without Couhig announcing a decision about his candidacy. At the very moment bold leadership is required, Couhig… has dithered. He isn’t ready to formally commit. He has said that he wants to make sure that if he runs he will win (I could save him some time and money on that analysis). And, in a truly bizarre statement, he claimed he needed to make sure he could win because “the city’s psyche is fragile”.

Yeah, he said that. Couhig’s mulling things over because, if he ran and lost, it might shatter the city into human fragments. Our collective psyche might never recover. Things would boil over and there’d be race riots or teabagger riots or more cat tossing or something equally apocalyptic. Suffice it to say, Couhig is dithering because he cares about our minds.

What bothers me is that Couhig gets a platform at a mayoral forum without officially announcing that he intends to be mayor. How does he get away with that? What if he surprises everyone and decides not to run (read: Georges pays him off)? Then what? Isn’t it unfair that he gets to enjoy a public platform with no risk as an official candidate? If he attends forums and decides not to run, didn’t he diminish the public’s opportunity to evaluate the announced candidates who are serious about becoming the next mayor? And if Couhig is definitely running, then why is he taking so long to announce?— especially after he promised to announce something “soon”, and especially after he lambasted Landrieu’s “vacillation” during the last election?

How is Couhig allowed to get away with this? When will the media ask him why Landrieu is the “Prince of Vacillation” but he’s not “The Duke of Dithering”?

At the Gambit blog, Kevin Allman has this most satisfying observation to report about the debate:

About the third time Couhig bashed Mayor Ray Nagin, the audience was getting restive; it was obvious somebody wanted to stand up and yell “Then why’d you endorse him last time, Rob?”


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