My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


The American Left and the Impact Of Craniums On Drywall

The Left is doing its absolute best to pin the New Orleans issue on the President.

Nancy Pelosi: "There were two disasters last week: first, the natural disaster, and second, the man-made disaster, the disaster made by mistakes made by FEMA," she said.

She told reporters she had urged Bush in person at the White House on Tuesday to fire Brown.

And .. . .

"Instead of unconscionably blaming others, President Bush must take charge and take responsibility, and must get it right, and that is my concern and the message that I will bring to the president," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat. "Mr. President, you should have taken charge and you should have taken responsibility."

And the indispensible Howard Dean: Dean told the annual meeting of the National Baptist Convention of America in Miami that the nation must "come to terms with the ugly truth that skin color, age and economics played a deadly role in who survived and who did not."

And yet, for all their sound and fury, they just can't seem to make any of their outlandish charges stick to, or damage, the President.

When asked to identify who was most responsible for the problems in New Orleans after the hurricane, 38% of Americans said no one was really to blame, while 13% cited Bush, 18% the federal agencies, and 25% state and local officials.

Perhaps its because the American people, in general, are just a little bit (!) wiser than the play-for-the-political moment Democrats. Perhaps the public knows that the real story about events such as this tend to trickle out over days and weeks, and a full story rarely meshes with the immediate impressions. To wit:

. . . according to the mayor of New Orleans, her [Gov. Blanco] indecision when President Bush offered help delayed rescue efforts and cost lives.

New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin told CNN's "American Morning" Monday that he met with Mr. Bush and Mrs. Blanco on Air Force One on Friday and implored the two to "get in sync."

"If you don't get in sync, more people are going to die," Mr. Nagin said.

Mr. Bush met privately first with Mrs. Blanco, then called Mr. Nagin in for a meeting. "He called me in that office," Mr. Nagin said. "And he said, 'Mr. Mayor, I offered two options to the governor.' I was ready to move. The governor said she needed 24 hours to make a decision."

Huh. Do you suppose those 24 hours might have been, I don't know, CRITICAL to some people?

But it gets better:

Mr. Bush, at the request of Mrs. Blanco, declared the entire state of Louisiana a disaster area 48 hours before the hurricane made landfall. He also asked Mrs. Blanco to order a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans on Aug. 27 -- two days before the hurricane hit -- but she did not make the order until Aug. 28.

And now we hear this: (exchange between Hugh Hewitt and Major Garrett)

MG:I watch hurricanes all the time. And I see correspondents standing among rubble and refugees and evacuaees. But I always either see that Red Cross or Salvation Army truck nearby. Why don't I see that?

HH: And the answer is?

MG: The answer is the Louisiana Department of Homeland Security, that is the state agency responsible for that state's homeland security, told the Red Cross explicitly, you cannot come.

HH: Now Major Garrett, on what day did they block the delivery? Do you know specifically?

MG: I am told by the Red Cross, immediately after the storm passed.

HH: Okay, so that would be on Monday afternoon.

MG: That would have been Monday or Tuesday

Of course there are two levels to this story. The first is the unbelievable incompetence of the Louisiana State entities, led by Gov. Kathleen Blanco, which very likely resulted in hundreds, if not thousands of deaths. Honestly, denying Red Cross access to those stranded in the Superdome, while simultaneously refusing to enact your own emergency management plan which called for all transportation resources to be applied to evacuation, is startling . . . and tragic.

But the second level is represented by the strange squishy sound you can hear if you listen closely enough. That is the sound of the political worm turning. FEMA, the Red Cross, and other agencies were in place and ready to go--to do what they have been roundly criticized for not doing. And it turns out that they would have done their jobs if only Louisiana had gotten its act together.

If there's one thing Americans hate more than incompetence, it's opportunism in the face of tragedy. But it's kinda rare to see both so on display from the same side of the aisle all at once.

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