Arizona Senator and presumptive Republican nominee John McCain will be spending a couple of days in Louisiana this week, according to his campaign website.
On June 3rd, McCain will be holding a rally in Kenner– Governor Jindal’s old stomping ground– at the Ponchartrain Center. Doors open at 7PM.
Then, the next morning, McCain will be holding a “town hall” meeting at the Baton Rouge River Center. According to The Baton Rouge Advocate, this will be followed by a fundraiser:
McCain also will be in town for a fundraising luncheon.
Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Gov. Buddy Roemer are hosting the 11:45 a.m. lunch at the Holiday Inn Select on Constitution.
Tickets range from $2,300 to $1,000 per person, depending on whether the seating is “preferred.”
His visit, of course, comes as national Republicans, including the folks at the Washington Times, are fueling speculation that McCain may pick Governor Bobby Jindal as his running mate. I’m sure the events in Kenner and Baton Rouge are just a coincidence.
During his last visit to Louisiana, McCain angered many when he suggested that he was not sure if he would support rebuilding the Lower Ninth Ward. To be sure, he made the comments before he had officially rejected the endorsement of John Hagee, the lunatic preacher who believes that Katrina was God’s punishment for Southern Decadence.
Of course, one has to wonder why, exactly, McCain is still on the fence about the Lower Ninth, considering that it’s actually located on higher ground than much of New Orleans. From the New York Times:
Scientists who have studied the topography of New Orleans say that warning is far from certain. “I didn’t see anything that makes me think the Lower Ninth is any more dangerous than other places,” said Hassan Mashriqui, a researcher at the Louisiana State University Hurricane Center.
Much of the Lower Ninth is “two to three feet higher” than areas of the Lakeview neighborhood and the western side of Jefferson Parish, Dr. Mashriqui said. “Nobody is talking about people having to move from there.”
Dr. Mashriqui, who is also part of the state team investigating levee breaches from Hurricane Katrina, said the failures were largely because of artificial navigation canals in the area that magnified the storm surge.
Although the corps has begun building gates to protect the canals on the opposite side of town, it has only begun to discuss similar large-scale flood-control projects that would benefit the Lower Ninth.
Now, Dr. Mashriqui said, “They will blame the locality for the destruction, instead of flawed engineering.”
Now, let’s ask ourselves this question: Why would people blame the locality instead of engineering? And why, two and a half years later, is anyone– let alone a Presidential candidate– open to neglecting the Lower Ninth?
I’ve never heard anyone question the practicality or the feasibility of rebuilding Lakeview– which was also destroyed and is actually on lower ground than the Lower Ninth.