Bush, returning from vacation in Texas today (!), flew over New Orleans at 2500 feet, then Mississippi at 1700 feet. There's a cute picture of him looking out the airplane window in this article.
1700 feet. Yep, that's about the closest you'd want to get to actual suffering, isn't it? You wouldn't want to fly over in a helicopter or anything like that. Might get in the way of rescue efforts.
Meanwhile, the (Republican) governor of Texas, in a shocking example of doing the right thing regardless of what it will cost, not only offered to put up the refugees from New Orleans, but offered to send their kids to school
in Texas, so long as they don't have a school to go back to. Just because it is the neighborly thing to do.
Actually a helicopter may indeed get in the way of resuce efforts since much of the work being done that way. One thing you'd waste a helicopter that could be used to save lives so the President could look at the ruins below.
Would you have him stop directly into the wreckage personally? His presence would make everything within miles come to a dead stop as it always does with every president.
Why would you be so thoughtless to what is happening as to complain about where the president is? People are dying and you're hissing about politics.
You should be ashamed of yourself. I'm a fan of your blog and I know from reading your stuff that you're smarter than this. Save the irrational paritsan crap for later.
It's naive to say that it won't be politicized. The fun's already begun.
And you want real politicization? How about the fact that they knew what to do, but the Bush administration didn't do anything about it?
The very juicy relevant bits:
"A year ago the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed to study how New Orleans could be protected from a catastrophic hurricane, but the Bush administration ordered that the research not be undertaken. After a flood killed six people in 1995, Congress created the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project, in which the Corps of Engineers strengthened and renovated levees and pumping stations. In early 2001, the Federal Emergency Management Agency issued a report stating that a hurricane striking New Orleans was one of the three most likely disasters in the U.S., including a terrorist attack on New York City. But by 2003 the federal funding for the flood control project essentially dried up as it was drained into the Iraq war. In 2004, the Bush administration cut funding requested by the New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for holding back the waters of Lake Pontchartrain by more than 80 percent. Additional cuts at the beginning of this year (for a total reduction in funding of 44.2 percent since 2001) forced the New Orleans district of the Corps to impose a hiring freeze. The Senate had debated adding funds for fixing New Orleans' levees, but it was too late.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune, which before the hurricane published a series on the federal funding problem, and whose presses are now underwater, reported online: "No one can say they didn't see it coming ... Now in the wake of one of the worst storms ever, serious questions are being asked about the lack of preparation."
The Bush administration's policy of turning over wetlands to developers almost certainly also contributed to the heightened level of the storm surge. In 1990, a federal task force began restoring lost wetlands surrounding New Orleans. Every two miles of wetland between the Crescent City and the Gulf reduces a surge by half a foot. Bush had promised "no net loss" of wetlands, a policy launched by his father's administration and bolstered by President Clinton. But he reversed his approach in 2003, unleashing the developers. The Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency then announced they could no longer protect wetlands unless they were somehow related to interstate commerce. "
This is not a serious leader. People died in the last 72 hours because of political choices that were made by the administration. That's the cold, hard reality. Deal with it.
I think it's important for political leaders to see a catastrophe first hand. Bush has a tendency to isolate himself from the consequences of his actions. He generally avoids meeting anyone who might disagree with him. I think it would be a good idea for him to see everything first hand.
I also think it's important for people to see that their leaders are on the scene. People need that sort of thing. That's why we have leaders.
It's not a partisan thing. I'm sure if a General Motors plant got devastated by a disaster, the president of GM would be there the next day. And I am sure that Ronald Reagan, or Richard Nixon, or George HW Bush, would have made it a priority. I want the president to do his job.
If I were truly partisan on this one, I'd be rejoicing that he is so obviously uncaring, so obviously out of touch. And I'm not rejoicing.
Yeah and lots of people died because Clinton was too much of a pussy too take out B. Laden when he had his chance. Both situations had countless factors involved in them that a random citizen couldn't possibly know what the President should or shouldn't have done.
Um. Well -- except that the guy who was there in every meeting through the last three administrations went on the record in his book saying that Clinton was way more on top of terrorism than the Bushies, who were obsessed with Saddam the moment they came in.
And Clinton wasn't the one who got the memo - while he was on Vacation - saying "BIN LADEN DETERMINED TO STRIKE IN U.S." and ignored it. There are more than enough corroborating accounts that confirm Richard Clarke's account of the Bush team's asleep-at-the-switch mentality.
But of course, evidence isn't something that moves much of the Bush types. You know, on things like, oh, say...evolution.
Number of attempts by US Armed Forces on Osama Bin Laden's life under Clinton: 2.
Number of attempts on OBL's life pre-9/11 under Bush: 0.
Speaks for itself, I think.
My God, did you not see the photo of Bush strumming a guitar yesterday for a photo op? This after he played golf and gave a speech in CA?
While he strums, New Orleans is flooded and in flames.
And just where is Cheney while all this is going on? Just who is in charge anyway?
The President's job right now is to use his position to help coordinate efforts. Allow the people who need to be in there to get in there with the tools they need to keep saving lives.
The photo ops to make us feel better can wait.
To fall into a useless politcal fight while children are literally dying at the scene is just plain wrong. We need to do what we can, even if that little something is not kicking up duststorms of blame. This disaster isn't even over yet people.
I love a poltical argument as much as the next guy. But right now we need to pray for our brothers and sisters in need and help where we can.
You're absolutely right. Oh so right.
After all, people need to watch what they say
You know what, though? That kind of de rigeur swagger and posturing that worked so well for the Bushies after 9/11, is a different kettle of fish with a president with approval rating at 45 percent (Clinton left office at 60), 1878 Americans dead, terrorists teeming where they weren't before, National Guard members patrolling a land where we're not wanted and where we've instilled so much chaos that 800 people die on a rumor -- instead of helping to defend and help their own people... and a president who CUT FUNDING TO THE AGENCY WHO PREDICTED THIS WOULD HAPPEN, AND HAPPEN SOON.
...the VERY PEOPLE making the "this is not the time" comments in government now are the very people who went over the wall and over the top criticizing Clinton for Kosovo - which, by the way, was a military success where the bad people were actually doing what the government said they were doing.
It is not an act of patriotism to PRAY. It is an act of patriotism to question when your govenrnment is making bad decisions. This government has burned through all their get out of jail free cards.
You don't give a pass to the woman who drank a bottle of vodka a day and then turns around and wonders why her baby has fetal alcohol syndrome. And you don't get to wrap yourself in the flag and be presidential when you were screwing around on your ranch and enacting disastrous policies that DIRECTLY MADE THIS TRAGEDY WORSE.
But Clinton NOTHING. Except, you know, left office with a balanced budget and a country at peace.
But you know, he was bad cause he got a BJ.
Is there ANY AMONG US who would not rather return to WORRYING ABOUT THAT CRAP?
It boggles the mind. It really does.
I have to agree with Denis. Saying "don't criticize the President because we have a disaster on our hands" doesn't fly when the President contributed to the disaster. (I'm not sure which disaster I'm referring to. There are now so many to choose from.)
And "but Clinton" is just a cheap shot. I would happily go back to the situation Clinton left us with. "Are you better off now than you were before?" asked Reagan. Uh, no. Give me 1999 any day.
On the other hand, please do contribute. And please do pray.
I love this. I really do.
I don't know why I would expect people who ignore recent history, or science, to understand their own history; but let's get a few things straight:
-the "scumbags" (your word) who are in charge now are Republicans. They control all three (soon to be four) pillars of government: the White House, the Senate, the House, the Supreme Court. Stop blaming Clinton.
-the "scumbags" in charge now have more direct ties to the Nixon administration than to the Reagan or Bush 43 administrations. They represent the very paradigm of that failed worldview. Stop blaming Clinton.
-the founding fathers enshrined freedom of religion because they had recent memory of religion using be used as a cudgel against them; just as it's being used as a cudgel right now in everything from judicial appointments to women's health to medical research. Do not besmirch them by claiming their standard for ignorance. They saw the wisdom of enshrining speech, not religion, because they understood that religion could be used as a tool of suppression. The wisdom of the courts over the last 200 years is in realizing that the government of man has no place legislating or favoring one interpretation of what is godly. The freedom to pray is equal to, not superior to, any other freedoms. And oh, stop blaming Clinton. He went to Church just like your drug abusing, drunken, deserting standard bearer.
-Bill Clinton, for all his faults, and they were legion, and there are many Democrats among them who will give you chapter and verse on them, was a tireless thinker who solicited differing points of view and tried to get to the heart of the issue. He did not shut out or shut down inconvenient facts or truth-tellers whose opinion happened to differ from his own. In fact, if you actually study your Bill of Rights, you'll see that he did the hell of a lot more to uphold those rights than the craven backward oil whores who now run the shambles that the United States has become.
-More importantly, cochise, he left office in January, 2001. The statute of limitations for blaming him is over. It's been five years. The 1994 midterms were not George Bush I's fault. Neither was the government shutdown of 1996. The my president, my country right or wrong brigade of the Ditto right is well on the way to bankrupting our nation, and since you don't believe in science or diplomacy, you're kind of queering the deck for any of the challenges we're likely to see in this century...you know, the 21st, not the 19th.
In years to come, Clinton may well be judged as a disappointment as a president. But George W. Bush will undoubtedly be a ruinous disaster. I just hope the book saying so isn't published only in our new primary language, Chinese.
Stop blaming Clinton.
This is your guy's watch.
Wear the freight.
Whatever happened to "the buck stops here?"
Oh wait. That guy was a Democrat, too.
If any of these crackers were actual Republicans, maybe we wouldn't be so screwed. Sadly, we're being ruled now by the Disney Storytime Wing of the Republican Party.
If I could vote for Mr. Bill again, I would in a heartbeat. Thee nation has had enough of Bush and his Magical Mystery Tour.
Nice try. But your arguments can't even hold water in a damn blog post. I seem splenetic? Sure. But then again, I've traveled a bit and have a view of something other than my own bum.
To wit: your analogies and equations are non-starters.
A few posts ago you equated Clinton to Nixon. Even though the Nixonites from Rumsfeld on down are the guys filling GW's dance card.
Clinton was the standard bearer for he Democratic Leadership Council. The centrist wing of the Democrats. Why did the right really hate him? I mean, really, really, really hate him? Not because of the BS trumped up reasons -- but because Clinton had the wisdom to co-opt some good ideas if they came from across the aisle. He got heat for doing this from both the right and the left -- which by any modern definition of politics, mean you're doing something right.
You try to contrast and compare that experience to a President that even his supporters admit is in thrall to the right-right, evangelical Christian wing of the party.
Your laughable miscomparison and misreading of political trends in both parties, and your wilful desire to reduce nuance to simplicities, is also nothing new. It's what the Federalists and the Democrats were fighting over in 1800. Like you, they always claimed they spoke for the centre. The real extremists are the ones who don't see the forest for the trees, and who present themselves as the voice of reason when they're really the voice of knee-jerk stupidity. Your facts and reading of recent history, constitutional history, and ...well...American history are dead wrong. It's no wonder your statements show such a sad passion for the simplistic, and such a vast misunderstanding of the political realities at work in both parties.
You're correct DMC, it is not an act of patriotism to pray. I don't recall saying it was.
You're actually coming out against praying for people in need?
I'll tell you what, DMC. I will pray for you. The anger and irrational hatred in your posts show you may need some help.
I dunno why you guys are arguing with "BG". He's the guy who thinks Bush isn't a moron. Evidently, he prefers "leaders" who speak in the vernacular of 3rd graders. (Not that Bush would know what the word "vernacular" means, he has enough problems with "soveriegn".)
I think we need another post on Vermont.:-)
Shrub didn't "win" 2 elections. The first one was given to him by the SC and the second one... I have doubts about it's legitimacy, especially in light of the fact that there was no confirming reciept given for the votes that we cast. Your "non moron" arguments STILL has holes.
Btw, it's not Bush who masterminded his ascendency, it's Rove, who is clearly no moron.
I would love to go back to 2000. My husband had his dream job, we had just moved into our dream house and within six months of Bush's ascendancy it all went to hell.
To put the original post in perspective:
Dr. Joyce Brothers was just on MSNBC saying that The President's not going to New Orleans or Biloxi and setting down has actually discouraged people to contribute to charities for the victims...
Inaction = Inaction on down the line.
Thank God. Easy homilies. Just what this debate needed. Enclosed please find your application for the White House Communications Office. Now we just need your eyes and your ears and you're ready to go. Monkey.
Ps - see if you can get the post count to 50 posting to yourself.
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