Wednesday, September 7


This straightforward reporting struck me as hysterically funny in several places.

President Bush, facing a political crisis over the government's handling of relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, announced yesterday that he would lead his own investigation of what went wrong.

Oh, that's rich. Dubya has built into his administration a culture that shouts "be loyal or you will pay for it." That's hardly likely to encourage FEMA employees or anyone else that ultimately reports to BushCo to tell the truth. Besides, no one would believe that Bush would want any truth that might reflect poorly on his appointees. We have the example of the Plame case for proof. "I want to know the truth," the president said at a press conference in Chicago in February 2004. "Leaks of classified information are bad things." Bush said he told his administration to cooperate fully with the investigation and said he'd asked anyone with knowledge of the case to come forward. Did Rove, Libby et al? Hell, no.

...Mr Bush also declared that he was sending Vice-president Dick Cheney to the ravaged Gulf coast region to assess recovery operations, and remove "any bureaucratic obstacles that may be preventing us from achieving our goals".

Sound of hollow laughter. Dick Cheney, who spent nearly a week after Hurricane Katrina struck on vacation in Wyoming and house-hunting for a Chesapeake mansion near Donald Rumsfeld's, has shown no concern to this point about the victims of the storm and his administration's failures. "That is a cruel joke," said Derrick Z. Jackson in the Boston Herald today. "Everyone knows that if New Orleans had been wasted by terrorists and weapons of mass destruction, Cheney would have been Bush's man on the spot proclaiming our need to root out evil."

...The seriousness of the political storm Mr Bush is facing was vividly illustrated yesterday by an editorial in the staunchly conservative Wall Street Journal which warned "the aftermath of Katrina poses a threat to his entire second term".

The usually supportive editorial page concluded: "What's really at stake in the coming months is the Republican claim to be the governing party."

Another laugh line. The Republicans have been claiming not to be the governing party, but the anti-governing party. Their favorites spout ideologies such as "I'd like to shrink government until it can be drowned in the bathtub." They've traditionally espoused anti-big-government positions, though the reality, under Bush, has been the opposite, the rapid growth of the federal government, but not so it could do anyone but a millionaire any real good.

...Mr Bush insisted he would not be drawn into the "blame game", but echoed an argument his aides have been making - that the primary responsibility lay with state and local authorities.

What's there to say? The irony of the sentence speaks for itself. And I love The Guardian for pointing out the hypocrisy of Bush's statement.

...Meanwhile Mr Bush, already under pressure for the impression that he has been unable to empathise with the poor, mainly black victims of the disaster, was not helped by remarks made by his mother, Barbara, after touring a relief centre in Texas.

"What I'm hearing which is sort of scary is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality," Mrs Bush told the Public Broadcasting Service. "And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them."

Thank you again, Guardian, for reminding your readers of the evidence that the Bushes have no sympathy, empathy, or even sensitivity. Too bad American voters are unlikely to read about it.

The NY Times weighs in.


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