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Katrina: Battered “Bushite” Syndrome

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Hey you folks on the “right” – time for you to write your retraction. In your zeal to absolve this President, his administration, and the folks he appointed to lead the country in times of disaster from any responsibility for the massive failure to act, you made one little mistake.

You bought the administration lie that the Governor of Louisiana didn’t declare a state ofemergency in time, that somehow the whole federal government was just poised to rush in and offer assistance if that lady had just done her job right. If she had just taken up Bush on his offer of aid instead of asking for 24 hours, then the cavalry would have been right to the rescue.

It’s like you guys are battered wives, hoping the next time an “unnamed White House official” (read Karl Rove) says something to defend the President, it will be honest – even as you sit nursing the wounds of the last lie. And the lie before that, and the lie before that, and the lie before that.

Lets look at the reality of the situation, shall we?

The Governor signed the papers declaring a state of emergency on August 26th. Tell me if you can, what day did the storm hit? What day did the levees break? Was it the 26th? No. Was it an almost surety by the 26th that New Orleans and other coastal areas were going to take a huge hit from the storm. Without a doubt.

Tick-tock, tick-tock, Bush’s team was on the clock.

And they waited until five hours AFTER the storm to request that “Homeland Security” personnel be dispatched to the area – within 48 hours. Forty-eight hours (53 really) of waiting when every hour can be the difference between life and death.

Forty-eight hours to watch American citizens suffer. Forty-eight hours to watch in horror as the waters swept away civilization. Forty-eight hours to watch people die before our eyes.

Forty-eight hours after the storm to get the right people in the area, when the request by the Governor was put in three days before.

Where is the excuse? Where is the justification? What lie will they spin now to cover their incompetence?

Will they say FEMA didn’t know the area around New Orleans was at risk? Or that FEMA didn’t know the storm was heading there with a righteous fury? How about that they were waiting on, as some people have implied, the proper piece of paperwork to be filled out in triplicate and sealed with wax from the Pope himself?

Perhaps they will blame the city and the state and say they didn’t have a good plan to evacuate people. OK fine, the local and state officials deserve some blame, but they were begging for help. Begging.

They were begging for help because there was no effective way for them to evacuate the city fast enough. That’s what happens when you have a city that is filled to the brim with the poor. When you tell them to leave, where do you expect them to go? How are they supposed to get there? Did it ever occur to you that it might be hard to leave when you’re to poor to own a car? Too poor to get a hotel room? Too poor to buy food for your family?

Of course being poor won’t give the victims any leeway. It’s their fault they didn’t have a better plan. Instead of owning up to the fact that the number of people living at or below the poverty levels has gone up 17% in the last five years, and admitting that maybe, just maybe, that increase contributed to the disaster – we have people like Senator Rick Santorum blaming the victims because “they didn’t heed the warnings” and “put people at risk” and therefore perhaps should face tougher penalties.

Punishing the victims instead of the criminals, wow, how familiar does that sound from this party?

This presidency was saved by one disaster nearly four years ago. His nonexistent domestic policy was forgotten for the comfort of safety and security. Now we know how illusionary that safety and security is. To bad it took another disaster to drive that point home.


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About Cranky Liberal

  • This whole bit about the administration claiming that Blanco didn’t declare a state of emergency is bull, of course. It originates in a single article with a single unnamed and unverified source, and has never been officially claimed by anyone in the administration. It’s a pure media creation which has no substance to it at all, and has been latched onto by those on the left who want to make it look like the administration is trying to cover its ass. The fact is they don’t need to claim that no state of emergency was declared, because that has nothing to do with where things broke down in Louisiana.


  • Um No Dave, the whole thing was that a single “unverified” source tried to spin a load of horse crap to the Washington Post, who just ran with that story as they often do to support this White House.

    But let me get this straight, are you trying to tell us that it wasn’t the typical facetious spin control from this Administration? Are you blaming the media for creating something out of this when it was an “unnamed senior White House official” who started the lie?

    Are you claiming that it is only the “left” trying to make the Bush administration look bad? So what do I make of the dozens of comments I received when that lie first came out from right-winged apologists who used that quote to absolve his Shrubness from any culpability.

    I guess when They were doing it, it was patriotic or something, and now that people are trying to get the truth out it’s a smear campaign right?

    Try again Skippy.

  • Liberal

    “…those on the left who want to make it look like the administration is trying to cover its ass.”

    In what parallel universe does it not look like the administration is trying to cover its ass?

  • Hey Liberal – I’ve seen pampers do a worse job at cheeck coverage than Rove&Co.

    But you do have to wonder how some people can look at this and just go “what problems?”

  • steve

    in a democratic republic, a state government is first responsible. up the tier, you have federal. this is called a governmental heirarchy. our forefathers designed it this way so federal govt would not be too powerful; so the states could manage THEMSELVES

    we wouldnt have a loss of life to this magnitude if the democRATS did’nt drop the ball. Nagin, the governor..all failures

  • No, Crazy Liberal, I’m saying that not a single official word out of the white house has ever said that there was no state of emergency, and since there are public documents and statements which support the state of emergency, why would you believe one unverified source when he’s obviously saying something that’s not true and not espoused by the administration. The only reason to go with that story is to try to start a disinformation smear, and I doubt many people are dumb enough to buy it. If you check google you’ll find that no legitimate news sources are carrying the story.


  • Right, which is would mean that the State is in charge of the ACOE who have responsibility twoards the levee project? Yep, not the federal government at all. Or when a Federal state of emergency decree was handed down and FEMA was going to “ring” New Orleans with people ready to go and help – that was all a State problem, even though the governor knew they were going to need the kind of help only the federal government can provide, asked for it – then begged for it. Yep, it’s all the governors fault.


  • No Dave, the guy in the White House was trying to start the disinformation smear campaign so nice try. You get called on your bluff, and now it’s US trying to spread rumors and innuendo.

    Hey man, it’s after nine – maybe you should drink some coffee and wake up to reality.

    My main point was that YOU guys bought into that rumor and ran with it for all it was worth on Monday and Tuesday, even though it was absolutely false. See – the right winged bloggers ran with it as a way to bash the Governor, not the Left Wing Bloggers ran with it. I am meerly pointing out that 1. you were wrong and 2. thats what you should expect from “unnamed senior white house officials” also known and Karl Rove or Scooter Libby….

    Keep spinning though Dave, Keep spinning.

  • steve

    louisiana was indeed responsible for the repairs of the levee. it was their choice to neglect such repairs, and they payed the ultimate price. the democrats running the town were making sure they were getting PAID. They have had YEARS to fix this problem. Everyone in that city is responsible. They continued to vote democRAT through the years. this is what happens when you live in a bowl. you would think they would have modeled an evacuation plan like florida…NOPE

  • Hey Steve, did you think a long time on that democRAT thing? So tell me then, What was the SELA bill? What was it’s purpose? Who cut the funding starting in 2001? Why was the ACOE trying to repair the levees if it was purely a state matter? What is FEMA’s role? The Department of Homeland Security? What does a declaration of State of Emergency mean? No one is saying that the state and local people do notbear responsibility – but the role of a president is to lead. As he said himself he’s here to fix problems.

    Hansel and Grettle were less lost.

  • “What is FEMA’s role?”

    Most would agree, and FEMA’s doctrine states, it is to support at the State level of government when called upon.

    Their doctrin also plainly states not to expect any help from FEMA from 72 to 96 hours after the “official” declaration of an emergencey.

    Even if your date of the 26th is correct, and we will humor you in that repect for the sake of argument, that places FEMA personnel on the ground anywhere from the 29th to the 31st.

    Now go check, there are plenty of stories and photos that place FEMA supplies and people stageing within that time frame from Baton Rouge south.

    And while your searching for the obvious (yes I know I’m wasting my breath) check the Red Cross website. Then ask yourself why the LA Gov didn’t allow food, water and other comforts into the Superdome.

  • Just wanted to respectfully point out that the “Homeland Security” organization you mention in your seventh paragraph is not a Federal Organization, but a local one called the “Louisiana Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.” It’s the same group that prevented the Red Cross from going into New Orleans on Monday.

  • Sorry. Last sentence should have read, “It’s the same group that prevented the Red Cross from going into New Orleans on Monday, the day after the Hurrican hit New Orleans.”

  • Brian

    Thank you for the response. However, that doesn not change the main point – it was now ex-FEMA director Mike Brown who waited 5 hours to dispatch the help. And the link to the news article that I posted says the requested was made to Mr. Chertoff, head of the Federal Homeland Security Office, the request was being made to the Federal Governemnt to dispatch the people. I cannot say where those people would be dispatched from.

    Do you have an alternate source that disputes that Mr. Brown reuqsted the aid from the Homeland Security department? I would be cruious to read that.

  • shelley

    I take it none of you have been personally affected by Katrina. Who gives a shit about who’s to blame. I’ve been republican my entire life, but no longer claim any affiliation. The government did not aid Mississippi residents after Katrina, and they still have not shown up. It’s every man for himself down there. New Orleans received media attention due to your same political debate, and with the spotlight, has received a little bit of help. MS residents depend only on their neighbors. I don’t believe it would have been better served with a Democratic house, they just cover their asses a little better. On each side it is only a political face, and neither cares a damn about the citizens.