Many people have been puzzled and disturbed by the bizarre behavior demonstrated by Ms. McKeithen at the January council meeting, where she used her time on the dias to issue vague accusations and insinuations that she was under attack by others. The Almanac report did not do justice to the incoherence of her mutterings at the council meeting, although Rene Batti called it a “stunning message.” Rather Ms. Batti opted to change what most everyone there experienced as “mad ramblings” and followed up with an interview to get more clarity from Ms. McKeithen on her incoherent statements, at which point McKeithen accused Council member Lewis by name. Our inquiries about this incident found several hypotheses for this behavior.
First theory: McKeithen really loves pointing her finger at others, especially to accuse them of things that she knows she is guilty of herself and was totally primed to accuse someone of something but wasn’t able to lay her hands on anything remotely plausible, so she just came out with her strange and over-blown accusations of whatever was on her own mind (or perhaps that she herself had been doing). This seems to be largely therapeutic for her.
Another theory that was articulated: McKeithen is increasingly expressing the conviction that people are out to get her. This kind of paranoia is not an uncommon syndrome among elderly people. (Furthermore, given how many people she has attacked and sent packing for one reason or another, there is no saying how far off her belief may be!)
The third speculation: At the beginning of that meeting, Widmer was selected as mayor, having been Vice Mayor. He then had to announce his selection for his Vice Mayor. It was clear as he articulated his dilemma, that he saw his choices as being between “effectiveness” and “fairness.” So let’s review: Prior to Widmer, Dobbie and been Mayor, prior to him, McKeithen had been Mayor, prior to that it was Marsala and Carlson. That left only Elizabeth Lewis, who had been on the council for three years and had never been mayor. The prior year, she should have been selected as Vice Mayor but, in a rather odd and frankly troubling set of votes (starting with Widmer launching an “abstain” attack on Lewis, thereby blocking from the nomination of Lewis as offered by Jerry Carlson) her nomination failed because of Widmer. Then, as if planned, Widmer himself (a newbie councilmember of a mere 5 minutes old) was quickly nominated in her place as Vice Mayor by McKeithen and Dobbie, and Widmer supported that vote. Well, perhaps Kathy thought that by showing her friend Widmer so much favoritism and nominating him to be Vice Mayor ahead of Lewis (a three-year veteran of the council whose turn it was was), that Widmer would reciprocate to throw his support to her, i.e. the “effective” choice. As it turned out, Widmer chose Lewis and did the fair thing, and eschewed McKeithen (or whoever McKeithen had been pressuring him to select). At any rate, his choice drove McKeithen to distraction and she was so full of rage at that moment that she just had to vent by finding some way to attack Council member Lewis and everyone else who she saw as being out to get her, even with no basis in reality.