Monday, August 25, 2008

New Guy Paying Some Attention

Bush Recovery Czar Doug O'Dell is going hard after Ed Blakely. He doesn't mince words.

But in several interviews, O'Dell expressed continuing frustration with Blakely, an urban planning professor from Australia who once served as deputy mayor of Oakland, Calif.

He said Blakely is often absent and unavailable and leads an office that produces "ethereal visions" of recovery that cannot be financed with federal recovery dollars.

"I'm basically asking Blakely, who's probably getting paid a whole hell of a lot more money than I am, to do his damn job," O'Dell said.

"He's there not only to plan, but to execute. Not only to manage, but lead. He's not an elected official, but as a nonelected official he wields enormous influence over the future of this city and the speed of its recovery," he continued.

"And he's failing, in my view."

These statements are significant, he's throwing Blakely under the bus. Recall that Blakely had an awfully hard time getting invited to the Excellence in Recovery Awards from last Friday. Also notice that O'Dell has nothing nice or mean to say about Ray Nagin. We know that Nagin has soured on Blakely over the last couple of months, with a lot of confirmed chaffing around outside hire Ezra Rapport, who resigned very suddenly over the summer.

O'Dell is a Bush administration official and Ray Nagin is an unofficial Bush administration pawn.

Just saying I think it's a little too soon to read O'Dell's statements as purely 'straight talk.'


jeffrey said...

Agreed. Although we all enjoy the irony of Blakely now being called out as the NOLA buffoon.. the fact that he's now being thrown under the bus is just an indicator of 1) How isolated and irrelevant he has become and 2) The fact that he's probably on the way out.

Anonymous said...

Why is "under the bus" the punditry phrase du jour? It's annoying. You could have a whole conference panel on why journalists and bloggers alike love this stupid phrase.

E said...

I have been thinking about different phrases that have gotten a lot of play and was considering doing a post on just that.

I have always used 'under the bus' because that is where Philadelphians like me throw their best athletes but I do apologize because I can see that it has become a group-think favorite.

jeffrey said...

I blame the sports commentariat for that one. Also my laziness while writing on the internet.

Puddinhead said...

That's a phrase I first heard in association with team sports, most often baseball, and initially referring to a fairly specific scenario. Things have gone terribly wrong somehow for the team (usually the visiting team in the classic scenario), and the sportwriters are clamoring for the quotes from the players with which to garnish their "team pulls a Titanic" stories. In no mood to talk after the humiliating performance, most players are instead rushing to shower and dress and board the team bus for the ride either back to the hotel or straight to the airport.

The "team players" dispense terse "We win as a team, we lose as a team" quotes. Often, however, there can be found one "me" guy perfectly willing to explain in detail to the press how he played absolutely no role in the debacle. In fact, his practically superhuman efforts would have been enough to carry the team to victory...had it not been for that boneheaded play that one of his teammates made. Metaphorically, he "throws his teammate under the bus" as a distraction before boarding it himself to ride away from the press scrutiny.

Interestingly the act is (or was) almost universally recognized as a rather distasteful device for deflecting responsibility and blame, although more recently I find the public view of such incidents to have evolved such that the "thrower" is rarely held in as low esteem as is the "thrown" anymore.

Scott said...

That was the one thing that jumped out at me. He didn't have anything at all to say about Nagin and that struck me as a bit suspect. His comments come of as candid and are likely correct, but you have to be aware of the agenda at work.

And part of me cringes because as jeffrey points out in his own post, it plays into a particular narrative about New Orleans'. But then I recall what Barry said Saturday: "You tell the truth"