Democrats & Liberals Archives

A Disaster of a Double Standard

Here’s what gets me.

Republicans insist on witholding judgment on FEMA and the Bush Administration during this time on the disaster, on the grounds that the focus needs to be on disaster relief elements. Then they turn around and heep scorn on those officials closest to the disaster- the ones who are neck deep in the disaster itself, and because of the federal bungling of this issue acknowledged on all sides, the ones taking on much of the burden of the relief effort. How do we reconcile those two points?

That's easy. We don't. It's image politics again. Defer adjudication then give everybody somebody else to beat up.

If the Republicans want to be consistent about this, they can continue their perhaps justified criticism of locals while we Democrats take apart Bush for his delayed and somewhat foggy-headed response to the crisis.

Nagin predicted in that now famous radio rant that he would probably end up with a target on his chest for speaking out about the effort. The Bush administration has a habit of going after people who embarass the President or his officials. This pattern of behavior has not changed. Ask Valerie Plame and Joseph Wilson, the officer who questioned Rumsfeld about the armor, Helen Thomas, Cindy Sheehan, The 9/11 Commission, John Kerry, John McCain, Paul O'Neill, Richard Clarke, and others what Bush's response to being challenged is.

It's not to make things better, typically. Typically we get press conferences with spear carriers of some relevant profession behind him, a dramatic setting that has to be arranged, and an operation that sanitizes the audience of any who might not agree with Bush's speech. After all, it doesn't look good to get booed during your public relations stunts.

The question here is whether the public approval we see of Bush's speech and Bush himself is as advertised, whether Bush's reception on television equates to his real world reception. The answer is, it doesn't. Political dissenters are filtered out. The environment controlled, the questions kept nice and softball-ish.

In short, this is a president that people want to challenge, but can't, want to get through to, but can't. This is a president who is isolated behind a wall of advisors who often serve as his sole source of information about subjects. Deaf to criticism, walled off from competing theories and ideas to those of his advisors, and cloistered away from the vibrant real world of issues, the president continues to drumbeat his way through the issues that matter to him.

We've had cloistered presidents before, in the early part of the last century. We've had presidents who ruled from an ivory tower, or an elitists perspective. But never have we had a president faced with such disasters in his policies, who seems so disinterested in taking care of those problems.

It's easy to get mad, bashing your fist against the brickwall, while the stones fly from above. The Republican party has the power, and uses it much of the time without consultation from us. Hell, many Republicans make it a point to do that out of distrust of liberals. All we can do is complain, at this point, and keep an eye on things.

We don't like what we see, and we feel that nobody should. We make the quite reasonable assumption that Bush is the leader of the executive branch of the federal government and that responsibility for its response filters up to the president, George W. Bush, who swore an oath to protect the welfare of this country.

We are told to defer the trial until later, but the fact is Bush is not a criminal whose past behavior is of the essence, but a public, elected official whose present behavior is the most important issue. His trial is on right now, and his behavior is to be judged in progress. His reputation will improve if he succeeds. It will degrade if he fails. Simple as that.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at September 7, 2005 9:45 AM