Democrats & Liberals Archives

Will Consensus Emerge on Katrina?

A recent poll suggests that a consensus is starting to emerge about the federal government’s performance in responding to Katrina. Among Democrats and independents, fewer than one in four (12% of Dems, 25% of independents) said Bush “did all he could” in handling relief, and even among the normally loyal Republicans, 40% said that Bush “could have done more”. Nearly two in three (76% Dems, 64% indies) rated the performance of the federal government as “only fair” or “poor”.

Katrina also shook the faith of many in the government's ability to protect America from man-made disasters. It has been noted that responding to an unexpected terrorist attack would be in many ways harder than responding to Katrina, which had been feared for years and forecasted for days. Many of us haven't quite worked through what DHS's performance in Katrina tells us about the US's readiness to respond to, say, a bombed levee during last spring's Mardi Gras. However, among those that say that Katrina has effected their answer to the question "Can the government handle a major terrorist attack?" the vast majority are less confident, not more. More than three times as many Republicans are "less confident" than are "more confident", and more than six times as many Dems or independents have lost (rather than gained) confidence.

Overall, two-thirds of Americans that believe Bush could have done more, and only a little more than a quarter (28%) believe he "did all he could". On this closely-watched issues, Democrats and Independents have similar viewpoints - and are agreed with by a nearly half of the Republicans. This is not simply Bush-bashing from a handful of partisans, and not merely a blame "game": our future safety and the safety of our loved ones depends on understanding where there were failures, who is accountable for them, and how they can be fixed. America needs a full bipartisan investigation.

Posted by William Cohen at September 8, 2005 8:21 PM