Democrats & Liberals Archives

New Orleans Rocks Republicans

Not rock and roll, but rock and rattle, rant and rage. As the New Orleans fiasco ravishes the wretched, the infirm and the poor, reliable and respected Republicans recoil with horror and anger, ruing the day they embraced Bush’s arrogant and corrupt regime. It has finally been revealed to them that when the rich drown government they are ruthlessly drowning the poor.

Last Friday, my wife and I were trying to predict how David Brooks would phrase his support for Bush - as he has invariably done in other Bush crises - on the News Hour with Jim Lehrer. When Brooks started speaking, I was so flabbergasted that I almost fell out of my seat. Here is some of what he said:

"Well, what you get is you get these meteorological storms and then these political storms because in the moments of extremists people see who's up and who's down, who's at fault and who is suffering. So, for example in 1897 there was the famous Johnstown Flood, a pond owned by millionaires including Andrew Carnegie flooded the town of Johnstown. The public anger over that helped spawn the Progressive Movement.

"Then in 1927 you had the great Mississippi Flood, which flooded New Orleans. And there you have first of all, you had great demand for the government to get involved in disaster relief which had not happened much before then. And that helped lead the way to the New Deal. You also had the situation where the town fathers flooded some of the poorer and middle class areas to relieve some of the presssure on the rest of the city and then reneged on their promises for compensation for the people who had their homes destroyed. The anger over that, helped lead to the rise of Huey Long, the populist governor.

"So what you get is this moments of extremists, people see the power inequalities, the poor suffering, the rich benefiting and then they react. And so you get these political reactions.......

"I think it is a huge reaction we are about to see. I mean, first of all, they violated the social fabric, which is in the moments of crisis you take care of the poor first. That didn't happen; it's like leaving wounded on the battlefield.

"So there is just -- in 9/11 you had a great surge of public confidence. Now I think we are going to see a great decline in public confidence in our institutions. And so I just think this is sort of the anti-9/11 as one of the bloggers wrote."

Brooks is telling us to "take care of the poor first." Up to recently he has been in favor of the "conservative" policies of Bush, whose motto is "take care of the rich first."

Bush is following in the footsteps of Reagan, Goldwater and yes, Herbert Hoover, the president who said that he is "the only person of distinction who has ever had a depression named for him." Hoover served as Secretary of Commerce under Presidents Harding and Coolidge. From Coolidge he learned that

"The chief business of the American people is business."

This motto has never been followed more relentlessly than now. We have tax cuts for the rich. We have laws to make charge-card companies richer, energy companies richer, transportation companies richer. Bush ran around the country trying to kill Social Security to help his rich business friends. Now he is hatchng a tax "simplification" measure that will make all businesses richer.

What about the rest of us? Well, if you want to "drown government in a bathtub," you must reduce unnecessary expenses, like preparing for disasters, building infrastructure, reducing poverty, building a good health care system.

So, Bush reduced the budged for FEMA. Worse, he placed FEMA under Homeland Security, thus increasing the bureaucracy. Homeland Security was busy giving out contracts to various businesses with wild but lucrative schemes for keeping our homeland safe. FEMA was not important. It got short shrift.

Bush has been worshipped as the guy who would prevent terrorism, the leader who would bolster our homeland defenses, the leader who would keep us safe.

Safe! Who feels safe! A couple of days before it happens, we are warned that hurricane Katrina may crash into New Orleans. FEMA is asleep. Katrina arrives. FEMA is asleep. Something like 4 - 5 days later, FEMA wakes up and is confused. Now, after all the horrors have been on display for many days, FEMA is working.

Would the events have unfolded differently if a terrorist had sabatoged the levees? Of course not. We are unprepared. Four years after 9/11, we are stumbling around in the dark just as we did then. With one difference: this is an anti-9/11, as Brooks said.

I believe the New Orleans tragedy will be a turning point in our society. As Brooks implies, we favor the rich until the poor suffer miserably and then we follow a different political path. Liberals are eagerly ready to rock and reclaim, repair and renew.

Posted by Paul Siegel at September 5, 2005 6:04 PM
Comments
Comment #78255

Paul,

There are many more moderate Republicans that have been stereotyped by the left as radicals (heatless wingnuts). These days the Party machines appear more intent on spin and dividing the people so they can get their share of the corporate dole than on raising up good qualified candidates for office. Hopefully more on both sides of the aisle will “lose confidence in their institutions’ and work toward a united solution to our problems.

Posted by: jo at September 5, 2005 6:28 PM
Comment #78258

We had better get united and work for the
common good[remember that?] or we will all fall
together as a nation.

I have never seen us more disunited than we are
now, not even in the Viet Nam fracus. Surely
we can do better than this. The fat cats had
better realiZe that 90% of nothing is nothing.

Posted by: Disgusted in GA at September 5, 2005 6:42 PM
Comment #78265

Interesting point! Democrats have lacked something to gather around and attract the independents. Maybe this tragedy can transform into something that will help Democrats gain power and change government from something like “government for the RICH people” to something like “government for ALL the people”.

Posted by: Bob Boydston at September 5, 2005 7:51 PM
Comment #78266

I agree that in this case, Bush didnt go a great job, but you better get used to the fact that you won’t be running against George Bush in 2008. On the same programs where you saw David Brooks, you probably also heard that this disaster in particular has helped the case of Rudi Giuliani. So the criticism of President Bush has made it less likely that the more Bush-like George Allen won’t be getting the nomination. My priorities in the nomination game so far are McCain, Giuliani and Allen, in that order. Thanks for reordering the priorities of other Republicans to make them more like mine.

Returning to the disaster, you did see a distinct difference in how the damage was handled in Mississippi and in Louisiana. One quote from todays Washington Post: Bush lost patience with local officials when he learned that thousands of people were sent to the New Orleans convention center for relief only to learn their was no assistance for victims there, the aide said, calling this the “tipping point.” Bush infuriated Blanco and other local officials when he sought late Friday night to federalize the relief effort and seize control of National Guard and other operations. The governor refused, and tensions between the federal and local officials worsened.

Notice the parts of this. The response in Louisiana was not federalized and when the President tried to get the responsibility, he was rebuffed. There is plenty of blame to go around, but in the end it won’t all stick to GWB.

Posted by: jack at September 5, 2005 8:00 PM
Comment #78268

Jack,

I suspect that had Bush offered to “federalize “
the relief effort by Tuesday instead of Friday
night the governor might have been more agreeable. The hue and cry had raised alarums
among the repub. hierarchy and they had to try
to look competent. But Bush was apparently still
cutting brush at the ranch on Tuesday.

BTW, where was Cheney? At an undisclosed
location?

Posted by: Disgusted in GA at September 5, 2005 8:28 PM
Comment #78271

Disgusted

The officials in Louisiana refused to declare an emergency or request that of the Feds. The Feds must defer to the states.

One of the problems - which both sides share blame - was the lack of a good working relationship between the feds and local officials.

Plenty of blame, but not all goes to Bush.

Now we need to look for solutions, not blame, anyways. And since the Feds got in things are improving.

The original post was about politics, not the disaster. The title is New Orleans Rocks Republicans. I just point out that even if you manage to blame Bush, Dems won’t be running against him ever again. And this disaster seems to have strengthened the reputation of Guiliani. Maybe the Dems will be running against him. Good, as far as I am concerned. He will rock Dems.

Posted by: Jack at September 5, 2005 8:39 PM
Comment #78273

Paul:

Just thought you might want to see this:

http://abcnews.go.com/US/HurricaneKatrina/story?id=1094262&page=1

It appears that the blame is pretty well spread around. Whatever our viewpoints of Bush before katrina, they are about the same after. Bush’s overall approval did drop a few more points.

I think you are far from “the truth” on this one to focus exclusively on Bush. It looks to me like a “screw up” from top to bottom.

Questions:

1. Wasn’t anyone telling Bush this is important and his visability could save lives? Playing a guitar doesn’t sound very appropriate.

2. Why did the head of homeland security hear about the people at the convention center from national news?

3. Why didn’t the Mayor release the buses to help evacuate? Whey are they sitting under water?

4. Why didn’t the govenor request troops sooner?

5. Why did the people decide to loot so quickly forcing the govenor to switch from search and rescue to riot control?

You are choosing to isolate on Bush, and that is because you hate Bush. The truth is that you can choose to isolate on any place you choose from the citizens firing on those trying to rescue people, to the police and firemen who turned in their badge. (or the ones shown looting themselves).

When the Louisianna state patrol needs to enter New Orleans in full combat gear with M16’s locked and loaded in armored vehicles, there is a serious local problem.

It is a far better approach to look objectively at the data, and then assign blame where it needs to be. I believe this affair dealing with Katrina is an outrage, but it is an outrage that goes up and down the entire chain of command from President Bush to the looters, and just about every level of leadership inbetween.

Actually the initial polling data across American seems to support this conclusion as well.

Hyper partisenship in early stages is not going solve much.

I have heard someone say, “Bush sent the money for the levy to Iraq. I have also said, “The democrats don’t have a problem busing the poor to the polls on election day!!” Pick a target and I can come up with more cheap shots. What is the point when we haven’t even started burying the dead yet?

Craig

Craig

Posted by: Craig Holmes at September 5, 2005 8:47 PM
Comment #78274

From the Great Mother (Barbara) Bush:

“And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this (she chuckled slightly)—this is working very well for them.”
NPR/Marketplace International

http://marketplace.publicradio.org/shows/2005/09/05/PM200509051.html

Wow… what utter lack of understading or humanity.

Posted by: tony at September 5, 2005 8:56 PM
Comment #78281

Does anyone know where Cheney is?

Posted by: Aldous at September 5, 2005 9:24 PM
Comment #78297

tony,

:-( nobody wants to come to Illinois? We have best of both worlds, southern drawls and hospitality in rural south with midwest yankee twang and urban disdain up north. :D

Aldous,

Over in Europe investing in an exclusive bi-partisan gated retirment community so our ‘hard-working’ public officials and their faithful followers can enjoy the spoils of their theivery in peace sans rumors of responsibility or whispers of ‘character’?

Posted by: jo at September 5, 2005 10:15 PM
Comment #78298

There have been many times conservatives have accused the left of wishing for disasters or problems with the economy in order for the democrats to take back power. I myself have said these very things. But the left goes ballistic & asks for proof of a statement like this.

I present exhibit A: Bob Boyston said, Democrats have lacked something to gather around and attract the independents. Maybe this tragedy can transform into something that will help Democrats gain power and change government from something like “government for the RICH people” to something like “government for ALL the people”.

I find this type of rhetoric troubling & so should everyone else on this blog. If you cannot denounce this type of thinking then I will have to believe it is the mainstream thought of the left.

I find the innuendo presented by Paul Siegel equally troubling: I believe the New Orleans tragedy will be a turning point in our society Liberals are eagerly ready to rock and reclaim, repair and renew.
So this tragedy is nothing more than a chance for the democrats to win elections. So much for compassion of lost lives & families.

I have said many times, it is all about power. The left does not care for anything except the lost power. Paul in Euroland made a statement in a previous post, the republicans & democrats used to be civil with each other, what has changed. I told him they were fine for 40 years when they were in control. Now they are the minority & are very angry. So angry they would slander & say anything, no matter if it were from the depths of Hell itself, anything to win back power. This post by Siegel is disgusting & only shows his hatred for any one who believes differently than him. It is not a post for discussion, it is a post of hatred.

All your replies & not one condemnation for these hateful words.

Perplexed

Posted by: Perplexed at September 5, 2005 10:23 PM
Comment #78303

Jack,
“The officials in Louisiana refused to declare an emergency…”

I’m sorry, but you’re the victim of Republican disinformation, or, to put it more accurately, a lie.

The Washington Post originally reported this, based upon information provided by a “senior administration official.” Since then the Post has retractred the accusation. It was a lie. Newsweek has reported the same, without attribution, and has yet to retract the innacurate reporting.

Jack, you really need to steer clear of the Bush administration. They lie and lie and lie, and make well-meaning followers look bad in the process.

Aldous,
Last I heard, Cheney was on vacation through Thursday. I haven’t heard anything since. But, what the hey, thousands of Americans dead, a city destroyed, you can hardly expect Cheney to cut short his time off, or Bush to drop the text of a prepared speech on the 60th anniversary of the end of WWII the day following the destruction of NO. I mean, we’re talking the 60th anniversary, people!

Posted by: phx8 at September 5, 2005 10:47 PM
Comment #78305

phx8,

This is really addressed to all that seem to make this claim.

When I go on vaction, I don’t think about my job. I try not to take phone calls or talk to anyone that I work with. I’m on vacation.

Are some of you really that naive to think that the President or Vice-President of the United States is ever truly on vacation? Their jobs require their attention 24 hours a day. There has never been a time when either of them came back to work to find something has happened to surprise them. They are surrounded by staff that continually feed them information. So stop embarassing yourselves by saying that George was on vacation during the storm or Dick was on vacation and couldn’t do whatever, because youare talking from ignorance.

Posted by: Denuded at September 5, 2005 10:57 PM
Comment #78307

Phx8

So when did the LA officials request the Federal help and ask for a state of emergency?

Posted by: jack at September 5, 2005 11:03 PM
Comment #78309

The governor of LA declared a state of Emergency on August 26 and an evacuation was ordered 48 hours prior to the hurricane hitting. They needed the extra help down there to evacuate and they didn’t get it. This was much more widespread than 9-11. I’m not saying they couldn’t have done better, but the response of the help should have been there immediatly.

Posted by: Melanie at September 5, 2005 11:17 PM
Comment #78310

Jack:
They asked for help and the state of emergency was declared, both prior to the storm.
I live southwest of N.O. and had to evacuate. Back home now (Terrebonne Parish), unlike those unfortunate people who cannot say the same.
But I watched the news intently as the storm track shifted to New Orleans area and listened to everything that was said by Blanco and Nagin, as well as several other officials. I heard them say that the state of emergency was declared, that they had been in touch with the President, and that they had requested help so that the relief effort could begin as soon as the storm had passed.
Why this story has spread that they didn’t ask for help or that there was no plan is beyond me. I witnessed both firsthand.

Posted by: Cole at September 5, 2005 11:18 PM
Comment #78313

to denuded: On Tuesday, the president was playing guitar with a bunch of people in Texas. This was after the tragedy. That just doesn’t look like he cares a whole heck of lot. condi was in New York spending $ and seeing shows. Why wasn’t he at the White house signing all the necessary papers and giving the orders to get the necessary people and supplies down there. He is the President after all. don’t give Rudy so much credit either. He probably would not have done much better in this widespread destruction.

Posted by: Melanie at September 5, 2005 11:23 PM
Comment #78315

I’d be curious to know just how how Bush could have reacted—specifically—that could have spared him criticism from the howling mob that’s been circling him for nigh five years now. Unfortunately, any valid criticisms are going to fall on deaf ears because the public has been innoculated against the left’s constant din of attacks. It’s the old “cry wolf syndrome,” a failure to make even valid points in a sane and fair-minded fashion.

The ABC poll already shows that the percentage of those who don’t blame Bush personally is higher than his approval rating—and it’s higher than those who voted for either him or his opponent in the last election. This demonstrates that it’s not only Republicans who aren’t pinning the blame solely on Bush. And this is AFTER the national media’s feverish attempts to pin blame on him and BEFORE the facts of the massive bumbling of New Orlean’s leadership have been carefully examined.

What—specifically please—was Bush’s mistake? We have a situation here in which a hellish hurricane has effected an area the geographical size of England and wiped out a whole city. How is this the president’s fault? Some people actually seem to think that the president of the United States has a magic wand he can wave to control Mother Nature.

Some seem to think that George Bush should have personally gone to New Orleans and forced everyone from their homes at gunpoint on Saturday night—instead of merely pleading with NO’s mayor to evacuate them, which the mayor failed to do. Is the left’s wish that the president be an absolute dictator whose commands must be instantly obeyed by local and state governments?

An underfunded levee? The section of levee that broke had been recently modernized. Should other sections have been modernized? Perhaps, but that would not have changed the outcome of this disaster.

I hear many complaining—rightly—that this disproportianetly effectd the poor. So what could have been done about this by the president? The fact that some are poor and as result often suffer in ways that the rest of don’t is an unfortunate fact with a host of causes. It’s just as reasonable to blame Democratic policies for the existence of the poor as it to blame Republican policies—perhaps more so.

Posted by: sanger at September 5, 2005 11:26 PM
Comment #78316

Cole: the reason that story is spreading is because the right spin team put it out in the MSM. They lied to take the heat off of themselves. And yes, one paper has already retracted that statement that the governor hadn’t declared an emergency. She did. I do have a question. What is the story I’m hearing about all the buses and why the mayor didn’t use them to get people out?

Posted by: Melanie at September 5, 2005 11:28 PM
Comment #78317

Bush is incurious and shallow. He “believes’ and delegates. To him, at that point he’s done his job. With regards to FEMA, he delegated to a crony appointee with no experience or abilities in managing something like FEMA. There should be no surprise that it’s the usual Bush tactic of screw-up then lie your way out.
Maybe the big lie won’t work this time but I think Barnum was close. You can fool some people all the time.

Posted by: Dave at September 5, 2005 11:33 PM
Comment #78318

Melanie, good questions. Seems to me that if New Orleans declared an emergency and then did little or nothing or about it, that also takes the heat off Bush.

The fleet of buses you’re hearing about sat idly in a parking lot while the poor residents of New Orleans lacked transportation out of the city. Another huge screw-up by New Orlean’s Democratic official. But wait… what was Bush doing playing a guitar instead of driving one of those busses around New Orleans? I fear that’s probably where this discussion is headed.

Posted by: sanger at September 5, 2005 11:35 PM
Comment #78319

Sanger: Who said Bush caused the Hurricane or could of stopped it? You guys really reach to make the oppositions arguments seem wrong. First, I wouldn’t of expected to see him there until it was safe, but he has the power to send in all the help he can as fast as he can and that is where the anger is. Cutting on funding for FEMA and the levee construction was not very wise and of course it attributed to the destruction. These are facts that you guys continue to make excuses for. Hard hard is it? Have you ever heard of logic and common sense?

Posted by: Melanie at September 5, 2005 11:36 PM
Comment #78320

Sanger: See, don’t mock me. How would you feel if you were in the situation like NO and you don’t see hardly any help coming, your starving and upset and then to see the person in charge of this great country of ours hamming it up in TX with a big joyful smile on his face? I do have another question. After the governor filed a state of Emergency, what authority does she have after that? and doesn’t that basically give FEMA the green light to go do their thing?

Posted by: Melanie at September 5, 2005 11:42 PM
Comment #78321

Melanie, the section of levee that gave way around Lake Pontchartrain was a brand new and modern construction. The state of levees in other areas had nothing to do with this disaster—hence the question of their funding is irrelevant and your statement that “it of course contributed to the destruction” is plainly false.

Posted by: sanger at September 5, 2005 11:44 PM
Comment #78322
I believe this affair dealing with Katrina is an outrage, but it is an outrage that goes up and down the entire chain of command from President Bush to the looters, and just about every level of leadership inbetween.

Craig,

I tend to agree with this assessment, though it’s clear even in the article you cite that Mr. Bush is being held responsible by a rather large proportion of the population: “Forty-six percent of Americans approve of Bush’s handling of the crisis, while 47 percent disapprove.”

It should have been handled better by all levels, but only the federal government really had the resources to react to this kind of calamity - the likes of which none of us has ever seen in the U.S. - in an effective way. One thing this nation really lacks right now is a way for the feds and locals to collaborate in an effective, orchestrated way on short notice. We need to deal with this problem sooner rather than later.

In the meantime, let’s applaud the folks who have been working their butts off on the rescue operations and who have helped plug the levees. And, if you’re inclined, say a prayer for those poor souls who lost their lives and for those who are going to have to now recover the bodies under wretched, horrible conditions.

Posted by: Reed Sanders at September 5, 2005 11:48 PM
Comment #78323

Melanie, if I were in a situation like NO, starving and upset, I wouldn’t be watching television OR reading liberal blogs and wouldn’t care one whit if the President spent a few seconds playing a guitar during a photo op. And the opposite would also be true—it wouldn’t make me feel any better if he was moping around, biting his lower lip and telling me “that he feels my pain.”

Posted by: sanger at September 5, 2005 11:48 PM
Comment #78324

Melanie,
Thanks for providing Jack the info. The Republican disinformation needs to be spotlighted.

Cole,
My wife & I were in New Orleans to celebrate our 25th anniversary. We evacuated Sunday morning, shortly before the mandatory evancuation announcement. Glad to hear you made it out. My wife & I are still beside ourselves over the whole thing.

Sanger,
What do I expect from a president? I expect leadership. It’s that simple.

Leadership involves leading.

Vacation at Crawford is not complete withdrawal. However, it is withdrawal from Washington DC & face-to-face contact with most government servants… you know, the people paid to serve the US… Bush isn’t an imperial ruler, he’s elected to represent the people of the US in the Executive Branch of government.

More than any single individual in this country, Bush is expected to serve as a leader.

It’s not happening, and people are very, very upset.

Posted by: phx8 at September 6, 2005 12:01 AM
Comment #78327
What—specifically please—was Bush’s mistake?

sanger,

Since you ask: Within an hour of the levee breaking, Mr. Bush should have been notified by his staff, even if was the middle the night. Within several hours after that, he should have made a short speech to the American public and assured them that he was doing absolutely everything in his power to address the catastrophe. He should have been in regular contact with Chertoff, Brown, Blanco and Nagin, among others. They all should have been standing together on a single stage in at least one of their communications.

This all should have occurred with 12 hours of the levees giving way. Mr. Bush should also have used the power of the presidency to make sure FEMA was reacting in as timely a manner as possible. If they were unable to react as quickly as the public might expect, Mr. Bush should have been there to clearly explain the situation.

In short, he should have provided quick-response leadership during a crisis that was of historic proportions. In the last few days, he’s done a somewhat better job, to his credit. But there’s never a second chance to provide decisive leadership in a crisis like that. I must say that, even if Mr. Bush didn’t “get it” immediately, his staff should have. Something somehow went badly wrong.

Having said all this, I think that Jack is right and that Giuliani will be the Republican who best benefits from this mess. However, Rudy has his own problems. Still, I imagine Giuliani and his team would have never missed the opportunities and imperatives that the Bush team did. As a Democrat, I am not at all pleased to see Mr. Bush fail, either in this case or in the continuing saga of Iraq. Country comes before party, by a long shot.

Posted by: Reed Sanders at September 6, 2005 12:16 AM
Comment #78328

Melanie
I can put the bus situation in perspective for you, I believe. There were approx 200 to 250 buses in a parking lot that were filmed. Some people have said as many as 600 buses, but that is not true.

There is a plan in New Orleans which involves two aspects of protecting the citizens. They are evacuation and shelter. Those that can evacuate, do so. Those that cannot, go to a shelter. This is the same in every major city which has some need for evacuation plans. It is also the method recommended and approved by FEMA. It’s worked for many years in New Orleans.

Now, let’s suppose that all of the logistics involved in getting the thousand-or-so people on to those school buses could be overcome in such a short time (getting the word out; setting embarkation points; putting together drivers and buses; arranging for food and water for the buses; arranging for destinations, etc.)
So now the buses are on the road. The evacuation routes are already jammed, because the entire city is evacuating, as we have had only two days to do so since the predicted track shifted and had N.O. squarely in its sights. You have all of these people on the buses, under the care of the city, and the storm turns so that they are right in the path of a Cat 5 hurricane. Many of them are killed.
The question in the media the next day is, “Why did the mayor put these few people (which did not even make a dent in the total left who could not evacuate), on a bus and send them to their deaths when he could have just taken them to the shelter which has worked so many times in the past?”
The thought of putting these people on the buses in this particualr situation is ludicrous. If I were the mayor, I would not have done it, either. Perhaps if I had a week or more to arrange the trip properly, and could be assured that they would be out of harms way prior to the storm arriving, I might do it. But in this situation, only an idiot would have put them on those buses.
Should the buses have been moved to higher ground so that they could be used after the storm came through? Yeah. I’ll bet that they will in the future. But all that would do is make a couple hundred buses available after the fact. It still wouldn’t have changed much in this situation.

Posted by: Cole at September 6, 2005 12:16 AM
Comment #78329

Phx8, it’s fine to expect leadership—we should expect that. But I’m still waiting to hear of an actual measure that Bush should have taken that was within his power that he didn’t take. Where was the failure in leadership? Is it at least possible that even the best leadership can’t solve every problem—especially problems of enormous scope and complexity—within minutes, hours, or even 48 hours?

I’m not trying to put Bush above blame here. No one does everything exactly perfectly in either their lives or jobs—so where was the problem? If you think that face-to-face meetings were the problem, or a minute or two with a guitar, then I just don’t agree.

The Presidency is not an office job where if you’re not at your desk you’re not at work. Face-to-face meetings? If the President of the United States calls, there’s not a person in government who doesn’t take that call and listen to whatever he has to say for as long as he wants to say it.

Is there any evidence at all that federal, state or local officials and first responders had the ability to act and just didn’t because they were waiting for a face to face meeting with the President. It just doesn’t make sense.

Posted by: sanger at September 6, 2005 12:19 AM
Comment #78330

phx8:
Thanks for the kind words. Glad to hear you and your wife made it out in time. You had the opportunity to be one of the last “tourists” to see the city as it was. It will never be quite the same again.
Of course, it will probably always be that decadent place to enjoy the touch of the sinful life. I hope it regains its charm. I see that two bars are still open in the FQ, even tho’ they have no power or water. Don’t drink out of the glasses! (of course, that has probably always been good advice in the Big Easy!)

Posted by: Cole at September 6, 2005 12:23 AM
Comment #78331

Cole, nice analysis of the bus situation. We’ll see how some review committee sees it in the future.

Posted by: Reed Sanders at September 6, 2005 12:26 AM
Comment #78333
But I’m still waiting to hear of an actual measure that Bush should have taken that was within his power that he didn’t take.

sanger,

See my response to you above, in case you missed it.

phx8,

Glad you got out on time. What was it like trying to get out of there on Sunday and how far did you get?

Posted by: Reed Sanders at September 6, 2005 12:32 AM
Comment #78334

Reed, was Bush NOT notified right after the levee broke? You suggest that he wasn’t. What are you basing that on?

Bush DID make several short speeches about the disaster on the day the levee broke, though he wasn’t standing on the stage with the entire cast of characters you mention. But so what?

Again and again, the complaint seems to be that Bush didn’t make the proper symbolic gestures, but the body of evidence shows that he at least gave the orders to do things which turned out not to be humanly possible. We know, for example, that BEFORE the hurricane struck he was on the phone pleading with the mayor of New Orleans to evacuate the city. We know that the evacuation order was eventually given but many refused or were unable to comply.
We know that he tried to get greater federal authority over the response and was rebuffed again and again by the officials of LA and New Orleans.

Posted by: sanger at September 6, 2005 12:32 AM
Comment #78335

Sanger, there was a call for evacuation prior to the mandatory evac was called for. It’s generally done in stages like that. There were mandatory evacs in lower-lying parishes before N.O. gave its order. The prior strong recommendation for evacuation got many people on the road without completely jamming everything up too soon. The end result was far more got out than would have if everyone rushed out at the same time. The three routes were still jammed, but not as bad or as soon as they would have been.
Issuing a mandatory evacuation puts other actions into effect. Calling for it out of sequence can cause problems for the people who are closer to the initial landfall of the storm. It’s a tough call. But, 80% of the city evacuated. That’s a pretty good result for any city. Especially when the available time was compressed as it was in this case.

Posted by: Cole at September 6, 2005 12:40 AM
Comment #78336

Sanger,
Books have been written on the topic of leadership. What do I look for?

1) Anticipation, preparation, contigency planning
2) Problem recognition
3) Prioritization
4) Aggressive response
5) Effective delegation
6) Even more aggressive response to address & correct failure points in plan
7) Being out front, staying out front

Is Bush responsible for a hurricane? Of course not. Is he resposible for having a plan in place, and planning for contingencies? Yes, through DoHS & FEMA. Delegate authority, not responsibility. Delegate effectively, with the best people taking point. The best people- not the college roommate of the previous head of FEMA, as in the case of Brown @ FEMA.

Recognize the problem. Do not continue to deliver a speech in San Diego about the 60th anniversary of the end of WWII, when a major American city has undergone catastrophe.

Take the lead. Demand solutions, facilitate communications. Don’t wait for someone from the state or locality to call. Insist your people be proactive, place that call, take the right action and catch up with paperwork & questions of turf some other time.

Well, that’s what I expect from leadership. For some reason it took 3 or 4 days for the federal government to get its act together. That delay has probably cost hundreds of lives, and the responbility for that delay goes to the top.

No one said anything about fair. That’s what being a leader involves; taking charge, and taking responsibility.

IF the work is too hard, get out of the way and let some one else do it.

Posted by: phx8 at September 6, 2005 12:49 AM
Comment #78337

Reed,
A lot of people left NO by car on Saturday afternoon. Saturday night the streets were nearly deserted. We were in a B&B, prepared to stay if and have a hurricane party if the storm veered away, or stayed weak enough. We left by car on Sunday morning, about 30m before the announcement of a mandatory evancuation by the mayor. Leaving just before the announcement cut approxamately 5 hours off the drive to Tallahassee. We blasted out of NO in no time, followed the contra-flow route to Hattiesburg (good call by some official on the contra-flow!), cut back down to Mobile, and then across the Panhandle. Gas stations on the Panhandle were absolutely nuts.

Posted by: phx8 at September 6, 2005 1:01 AM
Comment #78338
was Bush NOT notified right after the levee broke? You suggest that he wasn’t. What are you basing that on?

sanger,

You’re right. I don’t know the specifics of when he was notified. I only know that he didn’t seem to be in the loop. You say he made a speech about Katrina on Tuesday? Sorry I missed it. According to Bush’s own schedule, he made a speech commemorating V-J day on Tuesday. On Wednesday, he did make something of speech, in the Rose Garden. According to his schedule he waited until Friday to visit the affected areas.

You imply that symbolism isn’t important. I’d argue that symbolism is a critical part of leadership and that, in Bush’s case, it’s actually his strong suit.

I’ve tried to provide a detailed description of how I think it should have been handled. You don’t agree? That’s fine. I was just answering the question you asked in a detailed manner.

Posted by: Reed Sanders at September 6, 2005 1:03 AM
Comment #78339

Phx8, now you’re suggesting that Bush didn’t take calls? Whose calls didn’t he take? That he didn’t even recognize a problem? That he didn’t then tell the responsible authorities to move heaven and earth to respond to the problems? You’re making serious allegations about things you could not possibly know anything about based on the record before us.

The record of events showed that he not only took calls but made them. That he ordered all sorts of measures be taken that—now get this—that could NOT have been taken within minutes and hours because it was not humanly possible to sweep in and make all those problems go away in the blink of an eye. The reason, for chrissakes, was the worst natural disaster in the history of this country. There are limits to what mere human beings can achieve, and wanting a God or a dictator instead of a president won’t change that.

Posted by: sanger at September 6, 2005 1:05 AM
Comment #78340

Why is it so hard for the Republicans to admit that DHS enacted “The National Respone Plan” for the first time and it did not work. In fact, the problems caused by bringing up these legal issues of State & Federal Rights stopped every Agency from doing their job.

Could it be that the Republicans wanted to control of NO/LA with total disregard to State Rights? Look at the facts. Mr. Brown from FEMA is still in the Lime Light, but Mr. Chertoff the Head of HDS is no in the background. Sorry Red States, your elected President screwed up and cost 1,000’s their life because once a State of Emergency is called and Federal Aid is requested the political ball of duty and responsibility squarely fell at the feet of Homeland Security according to Legal Documents.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at September 6, 2005 1:09 AM
Comment #78341
We blasted out of NO in no time, followed the contra-flow route to Hattiesburg (good call by some official on the contra-flow!), cut back down to Mobile, and then across the Panhandle.

phx8, thanks. Watching the aftermath must be particularly tough for the folks who were just there.

Posted by: Reed Sanders at September 6, 2005 1:11 AM
Comment #78342

phx8:

So I see by your post that you ultimately went east. Most here were afraid to go in that direction and were advised against it because the storm would most definitely hit hard on the Miss/Ala coasts, as it did. At one point, the police were reported to be preventing travel to the east (unless you traveled north first, as you did), although I later heard that this may not have been true.
You were fortunate to get out when you did. Glad you made it. The evacuation for Hurricane Ivan (the first time contra flow was tried) ended up in a huge traffic jam. This one went much more smoothly.

Posted by: Cole at September 6, 2005 1:13 AM
Comment #78343

Mobile was a litte hairy during the evacuation, huge traffic jam going through the tunnel. Eerie, looking out the window at the approaching storm.

Sanger,
“Phx8, now you’re suggesting that Bush didn’t take calls?”

Here is what I wrote:

“Take the lead. Demand solutions, facilitate communications. Don’t wait for someone from the state or locality to call. Insist your people be proactive, place that call, take the right action and catch up with paperwork & questions of turf some other time.”

Please do not pretend I wrote or meant something different from what is in print.

“The record of events showed that he not only took calls but made them.”

The record of events suggests that whatever he did in the first 3 or 4 days was neither effective nor timely, and this is a failure of leadership.

Was it a tremendously difficult problem? Yes, sure. Believe me, I can understand why it might have taken until Tuesday or even Wednesday for the relief effort to get in gear. But this went beyond that point. And we’re not talking about small potatoes here. We’re talking about the leadership of the most powerful single individual in the most powerful nation on earth, facing the worst natural disaster in a long, long time.

The performance of Bush’s adminstration was not up to snuff. We deserve better!

Posted by: phx8 at September 6, 2005 1:31 AM
Comment #78344

This is part of a distressing trend to demand perfect responses in situations where perfection is impossible and to assume perfect knowledge when that also cant be had.


This was another example of an intelligence failure. But in this case, the President must rely on local authorities to tell him what is going on and/or the news media. Through the wonders of Internet, we can have access to the same information Federal decision makers used.

We all know that news reports the day after the hurricane passed told us that New Orleans had been spared. CBS reported - “In New Orleans’ historic French Quarter of Napoleonic-era buildings with wrought-iron balconies, water pooled in the streets from the driving rain, but the area appeared to have escaped the catastrophic flooding that forecasters had predicted.”


The president of the New Orleans city council estimated that 100 people were trapped on their rooftops.

If you look at the PBS Newshour, you see what kinds of reasonable preparationswere being made.

It turns out that this will probably be the worst national disaster in U.S. history. No matter what anyone could have done, there would have been damage. It really is not a particular cause for blame.

In any case, there are lots of people involved with this. The first response must be local. The second response is the state. The federal government comes after that. It just doesnt make organizational sense to pass the buck all the way to the president. That is not how it really works and it is not the way we want it to work. We dont give our president that much power in the homeland. What the Constitution separates, we dont want to combine in one man. I dont want to give the president that much power to do good because I am not sure it would always be used for that.

Harry Truman famously said the buck stops here, but he knew better about a presidents actual ability to get things done. Talking about Eisenhower becoming president he said, ”He’ll sit here,” (tapping his desk for emphasis), “and he’ll say, ‘Do this! Do that!’ And nothing will happen. Poor Ike-it won’t be a bit like the Army. He’ll find it very frustrating.”

Posted by: jack at September 6, 2005 1:43 AM
Comment #78347

Jack,
While President Bush is “The Man in the Whitehouse,” he must assume responsibility for the actions of his Staff and Cabinet Members. In the Real World, would a CEO be able to work away from a problem created by his workers? I don’t think so in fact The Courts of The Land have proved that even in today’s setting.

Did anybody do anything wrong according to policy? No, however the moment that Mr. Chertoff declared “The National Response Plan” would be put into action on September 1, 2005 the Lawyers from The State & Federal Government took over The Rescue Effort. Now, reasonable people know that the first time any policy or legal action is taken there is bound to be problems. Nonetheless, Mr. Chertoff failed along with other Civil Leaders to make the snap judgment calls under the Common Sense Clause of The Law so that assistance could be rendered. Therefore, The Republican Leadership has to take responsibilty for this screw up or explain to their supporters why they wanted to take away Local & State Rights.

Good Luck with that chore and now you know why the Democrat & Republican Leadership is remaining quiet and trying hard to move on. In a time of War is it really smart to tell your enemy that your Nation Response Plan does not work? Even now, the President and Others are operating on the “Old System” established by the Federal Government Aidding the States not running the show.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at September 6, 2005 2:11 AM
Comment #78352

Paul, good article. Republicans have also been cutting first-responder funding for years, despite pleas from Democrats.

And now, Congressional Republicans are coming back to work to make the estate tax cuts and capital gains tax cuts permanent, rather than spending money on FEMA and first responders. They’re going to get pummeled.

Are some of you really that naive to think that the President or Vice-President of the United States is ever truly on vacation… There has never been a time when either of them came back to work to find something has happened to surprise them.

This is laughable. Hurricane Katrina comes to mind.

As a Democrat, I am not at all pleased to see Mr. Bush fail, either in this case or in the continuing saga of Iraq. Country comes before party, by a long shot.

Reed, this is absolutely right. This is why guys like Jack can’t understand why anyone would criticize President Bush. If the criticism is purely partisan, it doesn’t make sense, yet we still do it. It’s because “Country comes before party, by a long shot.”

You imply that symbolism isn’t important. I’d argue that symbolism is a critical part of leadership

Dang, Reed. You’re on a roll. :)

Some people ridiculed President Clinton for his empathy, but it’s what made him a great leader. He let us know that, while he was in charge, nobody was going to get left behind.

And Jack, that Truman quote was to point out the futility of merely issuing orders, not the inability of a President to get things done. It’s a lesson President Bush should learn.

Posted by: American Pundit at September 6, 2005 2:53 AM
Comment #78354

Who will lead the Dems? This is an opportunity to take back congress in the midterm elections. Will Dems stand up?

Forgive me if this sounds repetitious. I have not read all the comments.

Posted by: BW at September 6, 2005 3:12 AM
Comment #78360

It may not be fair to blame the Administration for the hurricane recovery efforts.

But whatever the next disaster that strikes this country, it’s a good bet that it will be something Bush has ignored and cut funding for.

A pattern is emerging.

Posted by: Ms Schwamp at September 6, 2005 8:00 AM
Comment #78361

In response to “Who will lead the Dems? This is an opportunity to take back congress in the midterm elections. Will Dems stand up?”

“Who?” may be less important than “On what principles?”

If this debacle has demonstrated anything, it is the failure of crony politics, Reverse Marxism, and moralistic, as opposed to moral leadership. The last administration in which people were chosen for powerful Federal positions solely because they were the President’s pals (or pals of his pals) was Warren Harding’s.

Bush didn’t win Republican hearts because he articulated a compelling new message. He won them because he seemed to best articulate the only message that Republican primary voters wanted to hear. It was the message, not the messenger, who came first.

Democrats need a message first, and then seek those who best articulate it. It needs to articulate our ability and our commitment to meet the needs of all Americans, not just those who think, vote, or pray in an approved manner, with government that is lean, efficient, effective, and even-handed.

There are two such messages that have always compelled me. First, Franklin Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms” (which, in the form of Normal Rockwell’s paintings, greet everyone who enters my family room). Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion, Freedom from Want, Freedom from Fear are the foundation of a platform of legislation and reform in which most Americans can believe.

But the Four Freedoms rest on another set of principles: Government of the people, by the people and for the people.

Even though the Party of Abraham Lincoln has degenerated into the Party of Jefferson Davis and John C. Calhoun, I think many ordinary Republicans still share these principles with most Democrats. It is the Republican leadership, and the loud, corrupt, self-seeking, and self-righteous fools to whom they pay constant heed, who have forgotten them.

Posted by: Robert Benjamin at September 6, 2005 8:28 AM
Comment #78362

Jimmy Carter created FEMA in 1979. In 1992, Clinton raised the status of FEMA to a Cabinet-level position, with the ability to control and command 28 disparate relief agencies under its umbrella in order to handle situations like Katrina. Bush’s biggest mistake, in my opinion, was to place FEMA under the aegis of Homeland Security, thereby diluting its authority to really do anything independently.

Sure, perhaps hindsight is 20/20, but ever since 9/11, 3 out of every 4 dollars FEMA can spend has been spent on anti-terrorism efforts. Only 1 out of every 4 dollars has been allocated to natural disater relief. That said, I shudder to think how ill-prepared our country is in this post 9/11 world to handle another terrorist attack, given the utter lack of coordination following Katrina’s wrath.

Bottom line? The real fault in lack of coordination for the people of NO is a direct result of this administration’s actions to dilute FEMA’s power. Plain and simple, a national distater calls for a national effort, and the President is the only one who can wield that type of power. The fact that he did not do it soon enough will be cause for speculation and finger-pointing for months to come. FEMA was and is FUBAR, but just like the slow resposne to Katrina, the ultimate responsibility for FEMA rests with Bush.

If accountability and responsibility still existed in politics, we might be able to cut to the chase and move on without spending millions of taxpayer dollars to form committees and play the duck and cover game that have become all too polpular in today’s political landscape.

Posted by: Mister Magoo at September 6, 2005 8:49 AM
Comment #78363

Mister Magoo,
I could of not said it better myself. The Blame Game is easy, now what is The Democrats and Republican Leadership going to do as far as Manpower to rebuild the area since “The Poor” has been taken to other states? Why would these Citizens come back to the same old same old?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at September 6, 2005 9:02 AM
Comment #78364

Empathy - as defined from the ‘right’ side of the tracks…

“And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them.” —- Barbara Bush, 9/5/05, NPR

(Sorry to have posted this twice, I’m just still stunned at the lack of understanding of what exactly these people are going through. I guess if you have a warm cot to sleep on and a free bottle of water once in a while… whooa! It’s the gravy train!)

Wow.

Posted by: tony at September 6, 2005 9:10 AM
Comment #78377

It has just been leaked that in a secret underground laboratory in the Nevada desert, President Bush clones are being produced until the quantity is equal to the population of every man, woman and child in the United States.

This will satisfy the Democrats and Liberals needs for the president to bear responsibility for every conceivable thing that can happen to every living breathing being.

Posted by: steve smith at September 6, 2005 11:06 AM
Comment #78383

—-
It has just been leaked that in a secret underground laboratory in the Nevada desert, President Bush clones are being produced until the quantity is equal to the population of every man, woman and child in the United States.

This will satisfy the Democrats and Liberals needs for the president to bear responsibility for every conceivable thing that can happen to every living breathing being.
—-

Do you think they can make some major upgrades & improvements to the current model before they go into production? Maybe add a muffler/filter to the top exhaust hole to minimize environmental waste? … then again my garden could use the extra fertilizer…

Maybe we could use these Bush clones to help block holes in the levees…

Someone here mentioned the issues involved with human cloning… but not sure how that relates to this…

Posted by: tony at September 6, 2005 11:48 AM
Comment #78385

Of course - the Bush clones would come in handy …

We could replace the rats in lab studies… ‘cause there are some things even rats won’t do…

Posted by: tony at September 6, 2005 11:54 AM
Comment #78386

phx8 writes:

Recognize the problem. Do not continue to deliver a speech in San Diego about the 60th anniversary of the end of WWII, when a major American city has undergone catastrophe.

Lets be reasonable here. We dont need a president who panics. You probably think he shouldn’t have kept reading to those first graders when 9/11 was unfolding.

Posted by: Ms Schwamp at September 6, 2005 12:11 PM
Comment #78387

Bear in mind that the clones have vacation days set on a completely random, but frequent schedule.

They automatically head toward Crawford, Texas when in the vacation day cycle.

Posted by: steve smith at September 6, 2005 12:14 PM
Comment #78389

—-
Lets be reasonable here. We dont need a president who panics. You probably think he shouldn’t have kept reading to those first graders when 9/11 was unfolding.
—-

Ummmmm - YES! He said he didn’t want to make them panic… tell them he had to go to the bathroom… that he had to take a phone call. Sheeesh… they are 6 years old, they will not worry if he leaves a little early.

I would like a President who could function as a leader before his PR team has time to get revved up.

Posted by: tony at September 6, 2005 12:21 PM
Comment #78390

—-
Bear in mind that the clones have vacation days set on a completely random, but frequent schedule.

They automatically head toward Crawford, Texas when in the vacation day cycle.
—-

Then we could clone Sheehan as well - sort of a dysfunctional Barbie & Ken kind of thing…

Posted by: tony at September 6, 2005 12:22 PM
Comment #78391

I’m pretty much done with the who’s-to-blame discussion for now. The mainstream media, citing Republicans themselves, is doing its job in this regard. If the media can keep focused for more than an hour at a time, we’ll get more information in coming weeks and months and we should all push for a full investigation of what went wrong. But just one last note: even William Kristol, one of the staunchest partisan allies Mr. Bush has, noted, “I do think people think he could have showed stronger leadership.” And he noted, “The president kind of screwed this one up” and “I think the Clinton administration would have done a better job in handling Hurricane Katrina.” But then he added, “I’m also glad Bush is president and not a Democrat.”

Whatever. At least there’s a little truth-telling going on even in Washington. Let’s just fix things. Like him or not, Prez. Bush is our leader for the next several years. The real task we have is making sure the emergency-response system is given a good going over in the U.S. We still have months left in the hurricane season and still have too many enemies abroad.

Posted by: Reed Sanders at September 6, 2005 12:31 PM
Comment #78392

Listen While the stealing and war profiteering continues in IRAQ. The Bush/Cheney Cartel got caught with their pants down here in the US. The reason why we have been so slow in getting releif to the people in New Orleans is because the Bush/Cheney Cartel have all our resources tied up in this big scam they are calling a war in Iraq. Our kids are getting killed in Iraq so the richest of the rich can get richer.

Posted by: hgagnon at September 6, 2005 12:45 PM
Comment #78394

Why blame Bush? Why not? He’s in charge. It’s his responsibility, ultimately. He wanted the power that comes with the office of the presidency, he got it, and all the responsibilities and obligations that come with such power. The Republicans constantly deride the “Bush-bashers”, but ignore the very real reasons why nobody respects Bush as a leader.

First, he openly and willfully disrespects a large part of his population, and his party glories in it, rubbing their hands in glee at how agitated they can get the Liberals over their latest outrage. They miss the obvious question: should those who willfully provoke with ill will of others really expect those people to turn around and be submissive?

Second, he’s not honest with America. He tells us he’s got a solid case to go to war in Iraq when he knows it’s thin to start with. He tells us the response is the best we can do- practically nobody, not even his biggest supporters believe that. Can you expect people to trust the decisions, motives, and communications of a person who’s fallen short on forthrightness so often?

Third, his plans just don’t work as intended most of the time. He tells us we’re going to defeat al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and get Bin Laden. Doesn’t work. He tells us the tax cuts will grow the economy, grow revenues. There’s little evidence they’ve done that, and much that serious damage has been done to our fiscal situation. He puts together a plan to deal with catastrophic emergencies like Katrina- it’s a damn disaster. It’s not merely that is first plans don’t work, though, but that he rarely has any other ideas of how to do things right, and he’s so inflexible about other solutions. Is it wrong to question the agenda of somebody whose batting average in taking care of crises is so low, whose plan B always seems to be knocking his head against the wall until plan A works?

Bush supporters are so deep into being apologists for the president that they buy all the spin about deferred expectations of success, about his mistakes not really being mistakes (the flypaper strategy in Iraq), and about the only rationale for Democrat dissent being the envy of their election victories, their power.

The reality is, Bush has sown a crop of moderate and centrist liberals who by dint of observation have come to the conclusion that Bush’s leadership is dangerously out of touch with the needs of the country, people who might have supported Bush had Bush been more diplomatic, more competent, and more honest in the carrying out of his duties as president. The drop in support for this president is him reaping what he sowed in his actions.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 6, 2005 12:59 PM
Comment #78403

This is a cut and paste from comments I made on the R&C blog. It addresses specifics of the response and what was missed as well as other issues.

—————-

Were you aware that National Guard units from other states were prepared to help before the storm hit had to wait for three to four days for the bureaucracy of Homeland Security to support their deployment?

Did you know that FEMA Director Michael Brown’s background is in ESTATE PLANNING and that his most significant position before FEMA was being the head of the International Arabian Horses Association???

Did you hear Michael Brown on CNN blaming the fatalities on the people who REFUSED to evacuate??

Were you aware that 700 Hyatt employees and guests were moved to the front of the evacuation line at the convention center ahead of the poor people waiting there?

Did you see the list of countries that have offered us humanitarian aid (including Cuba - who offered 1,100 doctors and 26 tons of medicines)?

Did you hear that the Texas National Guard accepted aid from Singapore, including Chinook helicopters to help with search and rescue?

DID YOU HEAR THAT 11 SEARCH AND RESCUE TEAMS, SPECIFICALLY CREATED TO RESPOND TO CATASTROPHIC EVENTS HAD NOT BEEN RELEASED BECAUSE, ACCORDING TO HOMELAND SECURITY SPOKESMAN MARC SHORT, “THE GOVERNORS HAD NOT REQUESTED THEM”?!?!?!?

This is insanity and people dare think this is partisan politics?

I say if you are not outraged at the lack of preparation and response to what was the agreed upon most likely catastrophic event facing this nation, then you have a moral gap the size of the 17th Street Canal Breach.

———-

Sadly, I heard DHS Director Chertoff on with Tim Russert first blaming the people who refused to evacuate, then shifting to the states not mobilizing and finally, when realizing that passing the buck was not working, saying that we need to focus on the work and not the blame.

For everyone who thinks the states are at fault, read from the DHS website what they believe their role is.

In the event of a terrorist attack, natural disaster or other large-scale emergency, the Department of Homeland Security will assume PRIMARY responsibility on March 1st for ensuring that emergency response professionals are prepared for ANY SITUATION. This will entail providing a coordinated, comprehensive federal response to any large-scale crisis and mounting a SWIFT and effective recovery effort. The new Department will also prioritize the important issue of citizen preparedness. Educating America’s families on how best to prepare their homes for a disaster and tips for citizens on how to respond in a crisis will be given special attention at DHS. (emphasis added)

Now this wasn’t any situation, this was #1 on the list of most likely, most catastrophic scenarios, written about by many and simulated ad nauseum, including by FEMA one year earlier.

This is the scenario that apologists keep asking for an explanation of what went wrong.

Here is the answer - If nothing went wrong, if this was the best federal response to an expected major catastrophe and the federal response went as planned, if this is the best we have FOUR YEARS after 9/11, we are in trouble - then government is failing in its primary function.

Is there anything ambiguous about this answer?

For everyone - Do you trust Chertoff when he says we are prepared to respond to other threats to our safety?

Specifically for Republicans in metropolitan NY, LA, SF and Chicago - do you feel safe with Homeland Security on the job, especially knowing that how they reacted to Katrina was the best they could do?

Posted by: CPAdams at September 6, 2005 1:38 PM
Comment #78420

In my humble suggestion, we(ordinary people) should make sure that SuperDomes and AstroDomes
not to mention community centers are constantly (or at least during storm season) adequately stocked up and ready with non-perishables (food and water). Always cover our own butts, someone somewhere is always going to screw up, we must provide for ourselves. Count on that. This is fundamental. Republicans, we noticed.

Posted by: toochmerli at September 6, 2005 2:31 PM
Comment #78494

It should be a happy day for all the republicans they all lie for the money and in the end it will eat them.
bush played his guitar while all the people suffered and you can’t see the V.P. anywhere his lies almost killed him. this administration is like must of the people corrupt and godless but always talking about god .
the sorrow of all those brave soldiers maimed and died for these pigs they will pay a price when they reach the gates of hell.
how can these lier’s live with themselves ?

Posted by: peach at September 6, 2005 5:59 PM
Comment #78500

An Unnatural Disaster: A Hurricane Exposes the Man-Made Disaster of the Welfare State

by Robert Tracinski
Sep 02, 2005
by Robert Tracinski
It took four long days for state and federal officials to figure out how to deal with the disaster in New Orleans. I can’t blame them, because it also took me four long days to figure out what was going on there. The reason is that the events there make no sense if you think that we are confronting a natural disaster.

If this is just a natural disaster, the response for public officials is obvious: you bring in food, water, and doctors; you send transportation to evacuate refugees to temporary shelters; you send engineers to stop the flooding and rebuild the city’s infrastructure. For journalists, natural disasters also have a familiar pattern: the heroism of ordinary people pulling together to survive; the hard work and dedication of doctors, nurses, and rescue workers; the steps being taken to clean up and rebuild.

Public officials did not expect that the first thing they would have to do is to send thousands of armed troops in armored vehicle, as if they are suppressing an enemy insurgency. And journalistsmyself includeddid not expect that the story would not be about rain, wind, and flooding, but about rape, murder, and looting.

But this is not a natural disaster. It is a man-made disaster.

The man-made disaster is not an inadequate or incompetent response by federal relief agencies, and it was not directly caused by Hurricane Katrina. This is where just about every newspaper and television channel has gotten the story wrong.

The man-made disaster we are now witnessing in New Orleans did not happen over four days last week. It happened over the past four decades. Hurricane Katrina merely exposed it to public view.

The man-made disaster is the welfare state.

For the past few days, I have found the news from New Orleans to be confusing. People were not behaving as you would expect them to behave in an emergencyindeed, they were not behaving as they have behaved in other emergencies. That is what has shocked so many people: they have been saying that this is not what we expect from America. In fact, it is not even what we expect from a Third World country.

When confronted with a disaster, people usually rise to the occasion. They work together to rescue people in danger, and they spontaneously organize to keep order and solve problems. This is especially true in America. We are an enterprising people, used to relying on our own initiative rather than waiting around for the government to take care of us. I have seen this a hundred times, in small examples (a small town whose main traffic light had gone out, causing ordinary citizens to get out of their cars and serve as impromptu traffic cops, directing cars through the intersection) and large ones (the spontaneous response of New Yorkers to September 11).

So what explains the chaos in New Orleans?

To give you an idea of the magnitude of what is going on, here is a description from a Washington Times story:

“Storm victims are raped and beaten; fights erupt with flying fists, knives and guns; fires are breaking out; corpses litter the streets; and police and rescue helicopters are repeatedly fired on.

“The plea from Mayor C. Ray Nagin came even as National Guardsmen poured in to restore order and stop the looting, carjackings and gunfire….

“Last night, Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco said 300 Iraq-hardened Arkansas National Guard members were inside New Orleans with shoot-to-kill orders.

” ‘These troops are…under my orders to restore order in the streets,’ she said. ‘They have M-16s, and they are locked and loaded. These troops know how to shoot and kill and they are more than willing to do so if necessary and I expect they will.’ ”

The reference to Iraq is eerie. The photo that accompanies this article shows a SWAT team with rifles and armored vests riding on an armored vehicle through trash-strewn streets lined by a rabble of squalid, listless people, one of whom appears to be yelling at them. It looks exactly like a scene from Sadr City in Baghdad.

What explains bands of thugs using a natural disaster as an excuse for an orgy of looting, armed robbery, and rape? What causes unruly mobs to storm the very buses that have arrived to evacuate them, causing the drivers to speed away, frightened for their lives? What causes people to attack the doctors trying to treat patients at the Superdome?

Why are people responding to natural destruction by causing further destruction? Why are they attacking the people who are trying to help them?

My wife, Sherri, figured it out first, and she figured it out on a sense-of-life level. While watching the coverage one night on Fox News Channel, she told me that she was getting a familiar feeling. She studied architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology, which is located in the South Side of Chicago just blocks away from the Robert Taylor Homes, one of the largest high-rise public housing projects in America. “The projects,” as they were known, were infamous for uncontrollable crime and irremediable squalor. (They have since, mercifully, been demolished.)

What Sherri was getting from last night’s television coverage was a whiff of the sense of life of “the projects.” Then the “crawl”the informational phrases flashed at the bottom of the screen on most news channelsgave some vital statistics to confirm this sense: 75% of the residents of New Orleans had already evacuated before the hurricane, and of those who remained, a large number were from the city’s public housing projects. Jack Wakeland then told me that early reports from CNN and Fox indicated that the city had no plan for evacuating all of the prisoners in the city’s jailsso they just let many of them loose. [Update: I have been searching for news reports on this last story, but I have not been able to confirm it. Instead, I have found numerous reports about the collapse of the corrupt and incompetent New Orleans Police Department; see here and here.]

There is no doubt a significant overlap between these two populations—that is, a large number of people in the jails used to live in the housing projects, and vice versa.

There were many decent, innocent people trapped in New Orleans when the deluge hitbut they were trapped alongside large numbers of people from two groups: criminalsand wards of the welfare state, people selected, over decades, for their lack of initiative and self-induced helplessness. The welfare wards were a mass of sheepon whom the incompetent administration of New Orleans unleashed a pack of wolves.

All of this is related, incidentally, to the incompetence of the city government, which failed to plan for a total evacuation of the city, despite the knowledge that this might be necessary. In a city corrupted by the welfare state, the job of city officials is to ensure the flow of handouts to welfare recipients and patronage to political supportersnot to ensure a lawful, orderly evacuation in case of emergency.

No one has really reported this story, as far as I can tell. In fact, some are already actively distorting it, blaming President Bush, for example, for failing to personally ensure that the Mayor of New Orleans had drafted an adequate evacuation plan. The worst example is an execrable piece from the Toronto Globe and Mail, by a supercilious Canadian who blames the chaos on American “individualism.” But the truth is precisely the opposite: the chaos was caused by a system that was the exact opposite of individualism.

What Hurricane Katrina exposed was the psychological consequences of the welfare state. What we consider “normal” behavior in an emergency is behavior that is normal for people who have values and take the responsibility to pursue and protect them. People with values respond to a disaster by fighting against it and doing whatever it takes to overcome the difficulties they face. They don’t sit around and complain that the government hasn’t taken care of them. And they don’t use the chaos of a disaster as an opportunity to prey on their fellow men.

But what about criminals and welfare parasites? Do they worry about saving their houses and property? They don’t, because they don’t own anything. Do they worry about what is going to happen to their businesses or how they are going to make a living? They never worried about those things before. Do they worry about crime and looting? But living off of stolen wealth is a way of life for them.

People living in piles of their own trash, while petulantly complaining that other people aren’t doing enough to take care of them and then shooting at those who come to rescue themthis is not just a description of the chaos at the Superdome. It is a perfect summary of the 40-year history of the welfare state and its public housing projects.

The welfare stateand the brutish, uncivilized mentality it sustains and encouragesis the man-made disaster that explains the moral ugliness that has swamped New Orleans. And that is the story that no one is reporting.

Source: TIA Daily — September 2, 2005

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Posted by: DAVID at September 6, 2005 6:13 PM
Comment #78513

Wow. Blaming the aftermath of Katrina on “the welfare state”?! Brilliant! That’s really taking the whole blaming-the-victim thing to a whole new level — and all in the service of deflecting the blame from Bush and FEMA.

OK, so let me see if I’ve got this straight. We went into Iraq to get the WMD’s and then blame the intelligence community for giving us bad information. We bungle the management of one of the most devastating physical disaster in modern times and blame “the welfare state”…where does it end?!

I know, let’s go back to blaming rape victims for dressing too scantily. Or how about blaming murder victims for putting themselves in dangerous situations.

This is simply outrageous and must stop. The Republicans swept into power by claiming the government had become corrupt and never took responsibility for anything. Look at how the administration is acting now — and how its supporters are trying to defend it.

Posted by: Steve Westby at September 6, 2005 6:36 PM
Comment #78608

|All of this is related, incidentally, to the |incompetence of the city government, which |failed to plan for a total evacuation of the |city, despite the knowledge that this might be |necessary. In a city corrupted by the welfare |state, the job of city officials is to ensure |the flow of handouts to welfare recipients and |patronage to political supporters?not to ensure |a lawful, orderly evacuation in case of emergency

David, You are so right.

Posted by: George at September 6, 2005 11:24 PM
Comment #79281

For all the faults of the followers of the democratic party those who follow the republican party, those who follow the republican party seem to first be concerned about money in all things. That seems to be what drives them. I wish I could see proof of this otherwise. There are a few exceptios, but they seem to be of these fundamentalist Christian sects who’s beliefs certainly differ from my understand of Christianity. Notice how I say followers of, because it’s not about the parties, it’s about the people behind them.

Posted by: deb pendleton at September 9, 2005 10:12 AM
Comment #119846

Hi everyone. Just to let you know there is a great new raffle going on.. It’s for a brand new Mustang GT Convertible!!, I found it here.

Posted by: James at February 2, 2006 10:39 PM
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