...this blog kills fascists...

Friday, September 02, 2005

Vacationing Through an Apocalypse

Howell Raines, former NY Times Editor, tears a hole in the president in this column from yesterday's LA Times. Not sure how I missed this one:

Certainly the sacrifices of New Orleans need a kind of national reckoning, one that would enable the people to see the president who forgot to care for what he is. Every great disaster — the Blitz, 9/11, the tsunami — has a political dimension. The dilatory performance of George Bush during the past week has been outrageous. Almost as unbelievable as Katrina itself is the fact that the leader of the free world has been outshone by the elected leaders of a region renowned for governmental ineptitude.

Louisiana's anguished governor, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, climbed into a helicopter at the first possible moment to survey what may become the worst weather-related disaster in American history. Even Gov. Haley R. Barbour of Mississippi, a tiresome blowhard as chairman of the Republican National Committee, has shown a throat-catching public sorrow and sleepless diligence that put Bush to shame.
While I'd written earlier of my outrage over Governor Barbour--indeed all the governmental apparatus; local, state and federal--enacting no plan to rescue those whom they all knew would have no means to evacuate on their own, I know he is not unmoved by the disaster that has struck this state. I also think he knows how horribly he'd screwed up the planning; whether it was rooted in callousness, ineptidude, or naivete, perhaps we'll never know. He'll never admit as much, of course. Still, his response to the tragedy was practically Churchilian compared to the forever AWOL Bush; though only when in that juxtaposition. The point remains: Bush has been and remains entirely irrelevant to this situation.
This president who flew away Monday to fundraisers in the West while the hurricane blew away entire towns in coastal Mississippi is very much his father's son. George H.W. Bush couldn't quite connect to the victims of Hurricane Andrew, nor did he mind being photographed tooling his golf cart around Kennebunkport while American troops died in the first Iraq war. After preemptively declaring a state of emergency, the younger Bush seemed equally determined to show his successors how to vacation through an apocalypse.

On Tuesday, he urged people to stay where they were, even if their evacuation residence might be the leaking-roof, clogged-toilet Superdome. On Wednesday, as he met by intercom with his emergency team and decided to return to Washington, as Pentagon and Homeland Security promised relief by the weekend, intensive-care patients were dying at Charity Hospital in New Orleans. They had languished for two full days because the overworked Coast Guard helicopter crews available in New Orleans did not have time to reach them.

The populism of Huey Long was financially corrupt, but when it came to the welfare of people, it was caring. The churchgoing cultural populism of George Bush has given the United States an administration that worries about the House of Saud and the welfare of oil companies while the poor drown in their attics and their sons and daughters die in foreign deserts.

0 comments: to “ Vacationing Through an Apocalypse

Post a Comment

Blogspot Template by Isnaini Dot Com