The value of Ray Nagin is that he says things other politicians are thinking and doing but leave unsaid. This is his one real non-zero-sum game theory intrinsic value. He just doesn't understand why anyone would think what he says is wrong. This is why he sees nefarious motives behind all his critics - the only reason they would criticize someone for being right is if they have an underhanded agenda.
Nagin doesn't believe in transparency, because he doesn't think he holds anything back. I think at this point, if there is anything he won't say on camera, we can accept that he really doesn't know it.
But let us not believe, for one single minute, that this is only a New Orleanian problem. Let us not believe, for one single minute, that this is only a Democratic or Republican problem. Let us not believe, for one single second, that this is only a black/white problem. Hiring contractors previously convicted of felony corruption goes on lots of places and is a practice engaged by many governments.
This is why transparency in government contracting is so important, not just in New Orleans, but everywhere. People must be able to see the process, know who they are paying, and know their tax dollars are not just lining pockets. I think about this every time I see a school falling apart, a pothole in a road, when a new development springs up in the Atlanta or Gulfport suburbs, or a thousand other times when I know a government contract is involved.
And if any contractor fails to do the work right (or on time, or on budget), or is convicted of corruption, or who hires illegal immigrants through subcontractors so they can engage in wage theft - they should never, ever, ever get another government contract again ever. Let them go work for private business, if private business will hire someone with such a record; but don't ever let them near a tax dollar again.
Most politicans disagree with what I just said, but would never admit it. For all his faults, at least Nagin doesn't mind going on the public record with his opinion.
All the more reason to encourage Palin/Nagin 2012 - Chocolate Moose Party, Baby!