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Mississippi right choice for Presidential Debate

Posted by paulquinn on June 10, 2008

While the Obama and McCain are out searching for the best vice president, Ole Miss and Oxford are prepping for the upcoming debate. 

Construction on University has become a headache but is looking good, new restaurants are opening up on the square, and journalist have visited to see how their team will cover Ole Miss’ historic weekend. 

I know the Daily Mississippian is thinking of story ideas and acquiring press passes for the few (if even) reporters and editors selected for on sight coverage (I have had my fingers crossed since the announcement was made in November 2007).

Ole Miss was selected as the first of three debates, of course we were all pumped when it happened, however the announcement made at least one city furious – New Orleans. The New York Time reports the story in November.  

Many in New Orleans were stung by the decision and said the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates, which chooses the sites for the general-election debates, had unfairly sent a signal that New Orleans was still not ready for prime time. And they said politics had been at play because Republicans in particular did not want to have to confront the severe challenges that New Orleans poses.

“Members of the Commission on Presidential Debates continue to come up with preposterous excuses — some of them contradictory — as to why they snubbed New Orleans as a debate site,” an editorial in The Times-Picayune of New Orleans said yesterday. “No wonder New Orleanians think the process was rigged and three presidential candidates have criticized the decision.”

“The sense of outrage in New Orleans is very significant, from the state leadership to government to business,” said Arnold Fielkow, president of the City Council and former executive vice president of the New Orleans Saints. “We feel a wrong has been done, and we hope it will be corrected.”

The frustration in New Orleans was fueled by what many saw as a secretive process that turned its back on a chance to provide an eye-opening view of difficult issues that they want the candidates, and the nation, to address.

Sorry to say New Orleans but your not the only city in this country with problems.  Ole Miss has been recovering from our turbulent past for a lifetime, we still have some race issues and academic questions (easy to get in, low rankings for many  schools and Departments) but we are certainly “up with the times.” 

And the debate will only help address our remaining problems, quit being selfish and give us a break.

In the past 10 years Ole Miss has progressed more than the 100 years before, and its our time to prove to any doubters out there we aren’t as bad as we once were. (I still feel there are race issues on campus, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t improved ten-fold since even the 1980’s).

The historic significance of having the first major party black canidate here debating has also added symbolism to the Sept. 26 debate that NOLA just couldn’t have.

NOLA will still be recovering and dealing with Katrina (and new possible storms) in four years, but Ole Miss has come along way since 1960’s. Despite the racism I have seen (from NOLA natives as much as anyone) and written about it’s time for us to showcase what we stand for today.

One last time: you are not the all important Mecca of the world people should always be thinking about, I think history speaks for itself in why Oxford is a better choice than New Orleans.

Here is a link to everything Ole Miss presidential debate. Please go and explore this website. 




2 Responses to “Mississippi right choice for Presidential Debate”

  1. mattm said

    the problem we in new orleans had is that we were told we could not handle the presidential debate. New Orleans has hosted almost every big event that goes on in thsi country at one time or another, and has hosted several events much larger than a presidential debate since Katrina.

    As I remember Oxford does not even have the required number of hotel rooms that were required to even put in a bid for a debate, and all of the people coming in will have to be bused in from Memphis.

    New Orleans could handle a presidential debate in its sleep and for the commission to suggest otherwise is a joke.

    I hope oxford puts on a good debate, and wish you the best of luck. We in New Orleans had no choice but to call the commission out on its reasons why New Orleans was not chosen

  2. paulquinn said

    While you are correct about not having quite enough hotel rooms, the town and the school have set up a website, which will will enable all the journalist here to have a place to stay in town.

    So NOLA can hold the big event – congrats, but the Commission took the advise of a NOLA resident and decided it wasn’t the right place. Y’all just wern’t ready.

    On big game weekends in Oxford we hold well over 100,000 people and the debate won’t draw that big a crowd so we should do just fine. Why does it matter that y’all can hold the big event, so can we (and Austin, Memphis, Atlanta, Tuscon etc etc…)

    The NYTimes story was not the only article I read where NOLA complained, there was a editorial in the Times Picayune (couldn’t find it) that blasted Oxford as a terrible place to host the debate. We are dealing with hotel shortages, quite nicely, and now journo’s don’t have to stay in ratty NOLA hotels.

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