Government & Politics

Rose report is awfully cute, also plain awful

Chris Rose has produced a darling little piece for Fox 8 TV on Police Superintendent Warren Riley and Mayor Ray Nagin’s mysterious invocation of the “shadow government” during campaign-season radio appearances on WBOK talk radio.

He ‘fesses up to calling in to the show ask for the names of those who comprise the shadow government. That was a cool thing to do because when Riley and Nagin refused, it exposed them as total cowards who would rather use the phrase “shadow government” to frighten people than to actually explain how wealth and social connections influence municipal political decisions. (Nagin would have had to tell Rose and WBOK listeners, “Easy chum, just look at my 2002 campaign finance reports.”)

The problem is that Rose similarly chickened out on offering an actual explanation as to why people are so suspicious of the local decision-making process or why Nagin would use the line to broadside political enemies. Instead, he just says the shadow government is just totally “supernatural” fabrication, “crazy-making” that has been blindly accepted as fact.

And here’s the weird thing: They have repeated it so often – the Shadow Government controls this city, not them – that it has lost its shock value and we all just nod our heads as if it’s a given – as if they didn’t just say something completely whacked out – and I guess we’re so accustomed to weirdness on a grand scale around here that nobody steps back anymore, evaluates the situation at hand and responds: Say what?

With all due respect to my new quasi-colleague (The Lens has a joint reporting agreement with Fox8), there’s something wholly hypocritical about bemoaning the lack of perspective amid a rant in which he dismisses as loony tunes the New Orleanians who believe that wealthy and socially connected elites enjoy disproportionate political access.

It’s one think to call Nagin and Riley onto the carpet for cynically hiding behind the term “shadow government;” it’s another to offhandedly dismiss the corrupting influence of money and status as a delusion. I recently wrote a brief exploration into this very topic that I hope Rose will read.

He might think I’m nuts. We can be bunkmates at the Crazy House.

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  • Matt Davis

    So who IS wealthy and well connected? Whose donations are influencing things? I’d love to see some investigative work on the shadow government—who they might be.

  • Matt,

    Just watch the list of names Landrieu starts to work into his circle. If they look familiar you know why

  • Chaz Tulip

    You think some time write good well, make statement. Clear.

  • Yes, Matt.
    Leslie Rosenthal Jacobs chairs the Economic Development Committee:
    Bye Bye Charity Hospital. Hello Boss LSU! But are you Insured?
    Now let’s see who Mitch will put in his new Flood Control Committee.
    Lemme guess…is it really a question of Option?

  • There is Spread and then there’s SPREAD

  • Leslie Jacobs (Strategic Comp./Insurance Admin.), (Zip code: 70118) $2300 to KOPPLIN FOR CONGRESS on 02/11/08
    Scott Jacobs (Strategic Comp./Ins. Administrator), (Zip code: 70118) $2300 to KOPPLIN FOR CONGRESS on 02/11/08
    (Leslie Jacobs brother)
    Stephan Rosenthal (Strategic Com./Ins), (Zip code: 70115) $2300 to KOPPLIN FOR CONGRESS on 02/22/08

  • I left this one out by accident. Now I’m done.

    Perry, whose campaign relied on social media Web sites to solicit small donations from around the country, collected cash from more than 800 donors, the bulk of them giving between $5 and $250.
    Princeton University professor Melissa Harris Lacewell, Perry’s girlfriend, gave his campaign $2,300, as did Tulane law professor David Marcello. Perry’s largest combined donors were Stephen Rosenthal and his wife, Sandra, who gave $9,500.

    Is this what you call backing the Dark Horse?

  • This is getting too interesting. At the same time Leslie Rosenthal Jacobs was running for Mayor (or not after padna Mitch entered) her brother and sister-in-law gave $9500 to an absolute losing competing candidate. Why?
    Maybe someone else can answer the political gaming here since it is Way out of my league.
    Here is where I got that $9500 contribution:
    But perhaps this explains things, I don’t know…
    Stephen R Rosenthal / Principal Rosenthal Agency
    New Orleans LA
    Donation to Friends Of Mary Landrieu Inc
    Updated Q1/2008

    Sandra F Rosenthal / Activist-Self-employed
    New Orleans LA
    Donation to Friends Of Mary Landrieu Inc
    Updated Q1/2008

  • Well, Matt, you asked.
    While at the Sec of State website, I noticed that the Rosenthals, Steve and Sandy, gave $10,000 @ $5,000 each to Leslie Jacobs 1 month before Mitch entered the race and Jacobs dropped out. Then on Jan 13th gave the $9500 @ $4750 each to James Perry. I mean, that’s a bit of piss-off at Mitch for spoiling sister Leslie’s thing, or what is it? Almost 10 Grand to a bonafide Loser? James Perry didn’t have a chance. So what? Nobody gets That Pissed Off do they? Almost $10,000 worth of miff? Nah.
    So right there, apart from Friends of Mary Landrieu (and I haven’t noted Karen-whats-her-name for congress, another 5+ Grand the year before), but right there in this past year these people have blown through more Money than I will spend on Food? $20,000? Is that MAD MONEY or what?
    But you asked, and it’s all right there in the Sec of States website.
    What this has to do with Movers and Shakers I don’t know. You tell me.
    Leslie Jacobs didn’t give a damn dime to Mitch, but hey, she’s heading his Economic Development Committee. Soooo…

    Now what this has to do with Sandy Rosenthal and I don’t know.
    And frankly, I’m not ready to ask that yet given the unbridled support my own blog has carried for that group. You’d have to ask Sandy Rosenthal.
    But no one in Congress knows what the hell is the 8/29 Review.
    And the Corps is setting up for a Slam Dunk on Option 1.
    And there is forking Garbage in the levees in Jefferson Parish.
    That is what I know for a fact.
    I guess when the 5th Anniversary comes amidst the El Nino, check out how much some of these people spend on just their clothes to celebrate.
    This Emperor has Nice Clothes.

  • I, for one, am glad to see Chris Rose give his opinion on any subject. The Shadow Government is a good subject, as would be The Saints. My family miss his columns in the T-P.

  • Thomas


    The problem with your premise, “that wealthy and socially connected elites enjoy disproportionate political access”, is that it reveals nothing new. If Nagin and Riley were merely alluding to that premise, it would make total sense and frankly, it is applicable ALL local, state and federal sytems of governance in the U.S. You think “wealthy and socially connected elites” don’t enjoy more access in Washington? Just as George Soros. Or on the opposite end of the spectrum, Halliburton.

    No, I fear our esteemed leaders were alluding to something more visceral and conspiratorial. Of course, you’re not paranoid if everyone truly is out to get you, right?

  • Thomas, how many “self employed activist” do you know who can drop over $12,000 on campaign contributions in ’08-’09?
    Let’s wait and see who ends up on Mitch’s Flood Control Committee.
    It could be a good thing. But, that kind of goodness is perhaps outta my league. I just work for a living. All my “activism” is lagniappe and from the heart, the cheapest kind of love but still priceless just the same.