Bloggers on Ray Nagin's re-election.

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May 22 2006 6:33 PM

Hurricane Ray

Bloggers ponder whether the New Orleans mayoral race was all about race. They also discuss Montenegro's secession from Serbia, and Barbaro's life-threatening injury in the Preakness.

Hurricane Ray: Ray Nagin was re-elected as New Orleans' mayor, overcoming criticism of his leadership of the devastated city during and after Hurricane Katrina. Despite trailing by 10 points a week before, Nagin defeated Louisiana Lt. Gov Mitch Landrieu in Saturday's runoff, capturing 52 percent of the vote.

"Chocolate City Keeps Its Flavor," moans conservative Gateway Pundit, a reference to Nagin's quote about God wanting New Orleans to be a "majority African-American city." "It's hard to imagine a white politician getting a pass like Nagin did," the St. Louis blogger writes before going on to reconstruct Nagin's racial rant—substituting in the words "white" and "vanilla" to demonstrate the double standard.

"Having witnessed Marion Barry repeatedly elected mayor of Washington, D.C., I can't say I'm surprised at Nagin's success," Paul Mirengoff writes at Power Line. "Re-electing an unsuccessful or disgraced mayor apparently can become a source of civic pride, particularly when the racial politics are right."

Conservative columnist and blogger Michelle Malkin quotes reader Jim K.'s gripe: "Evacuees were bused in from Atlanta and Houston to vote for a guy who refused to use school buses to bus 'em out before Katrina? And the guy still won. I give up."

The vote was split along racial lines, as Nagin won 224 of 229 precincts in which at least 80 percent of the voters are nonwhite, according to the Times-Picayune, and Landrieu won 71 of the 80 where at least 80 percent of the voters are white. But on Unclaimed Territory, Glenn Greenwald catalogs and takes offense to the racial commentary. "The people commenting on this municipal election have no idea why Nagin was re-elected," Greenwald writes. "All they know is that they excitedly see an opportunity where they think this sort of spiteful racial commentary—which is normally beyond the bounds of what is acceptable—is permissible here, and they can't pass up the chance to spew playground epithets about Ray Nagin's race and about the intellectual level of the voters who re-elected him."

Read more about Nagin.

Serbian secession: Montenegro narrowly voted to secede from Serbia and become a separate nation, according to the results of a referendum held Sunday. Independence proponents believe that Montenegro, a poor, mountainous country of 650,000, will benefit economically from being on its own. Serbia-Montenegro was the last vestige of the former Yugoslaia, which formed after World War II and collapsed violently in the 1990s.

"There are a lot of issues here," writes the conservative Publius Pundit. Will the Serbian unionists fight back? Can a state so small defend itself and build a proper economy? What about EU membership?"

Some wonder whether the vote was fair. "Of course, other citizens of the existing federation who will be affected by the outcome—Serbs in Serbia proper, Hungarians in Serbia's province of Vojvodina, and, especially Kosovars (who are still technically citizens of Serbia, pending resolution of their 'autonomous' province's final status)—have no voice in the decision," observes the "neo-Madisonian" Fruits and Votes.

For countries like Canada that periodically face secession referenda, the Montenegrin vote is a worthwhile electoral study, suggests the Canadian lawyer at Pith and Substance. He makes note of the fact that the vote required 55 percent support for European Union recognition—and that this total, based on early returns, was barely achieved (55.4 percent). "The super-majority makes sense in the abstract, since it ought to be difficult to undo a constitutional relationship," he writes. "On the other hand, there is no doubt that there would be trouble if the final result turns out to be somewhere between 50% and 55%."

Read more about Montenegro.

Barbaro's battle: Barbaro, the Kentucky Derby-winning colt who broke down grotesquely in the Preakness on Saturday, still faces a 50-50 chance of survival, the horse's surgeon said Monday. Barbaro was said to be "bright and appropriately frisky" after undergoing a lengthy operation on his broken right hind leg, but he'll never race again.

"I don't care that he'll never race again," writesSacred in December's Missy, a horse-riding enthusiast in Oregon. "I don't even care if he can't stand at stud. I just want him to live. You can't help but be touched when a horse like this comes onto the scene. You can't watch his Derby win and not be moved by his power and effortless stride."

At What Was I Thinking? the mechanical engineer and Alabama blogger ponders why he's more moved by the plight of Barbaro than that of Natalee Holloway. Gina Spadafori, a pet-care author, rounds up her favorite media coverage and, after a post worrying that Barbaro would not make it through Saturday night, asks, "Who would have thought ... that Barbaro would still be alive? I'll guarantee you no jockey, trainer, track veterinarian or horse breeder did."

Read more about Barbaro.

Darren Everson is a sportswriter in New York City.