Friday, December 16


It's a familiar pattern. The president goes on the air to make extravagant pledges to the people in an attempt to bolster his poll numbers. He appoints someone to "do something" about whatever current crisis exists, tells someone in Congress to "pay for it" and then promptly forgets the whole thing. Hey, he's the CEO president! It's not his job to execute policy or strategy! He "has people" to do that sort of thing!

One of my editors has a watch that receives news alerts. Yesterday he walked into the suite where we were in post-production and said to me, "Well, you'll be glad to hear they're going to give Louisiana $3 billion to repair the levees."

"You mean $30 billion, right?" I responded.

"No, it says $3 billion."

"That's just a patch job," I said. "It's going to take something like $30 billion to do the job right."

'Well, they're getting $3 billion," he insisted.

That's not enough.

At a briefing at the White House, the coordinator of the federal response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Donald E. Powell, said the government would add $1.5 billion to the $1.6 billion already promised for the levees.
Louis Capozzoli, a consulting engineer on the Louisiana team that is investigating the levees, said the sum being discussed was too little.

"I think they're off by an order of magnitude," Mr. Capozzoli said. "That's not going to come close to protecting New Orleans, let alone the other areas" in southern Louisiana.
Mr. Vitter and Ms. Landrieu also said they would continue to push for legislation to give Louisiana as much as $3 billion a year in revenues from offshore oil drilling that currently go to the federal government. They have proposed that the money be dedicated to restoring coastal wetlands and constructing Category 5 hurricane protection, projects that could cost more than $30 billion.

In his Jackson Square speech to the nation, Bush promised more:

To carry out the first stages of the relief effort and begin rebuilding at once, I have asked for, and the Congress has provided, more than $60 billion.

In that same speech, Bush said he wanted to know all the facts about the government's response to the Katrina crisis.

Four years after the frightening experience of September the 11th, Americans have every right to expect a more effective response in a time of emergency. When the federal government fails to meet such an obligation, I, as President, am responsible for the problem, and for the solution. So I've ordered every Cabinet Secretary to participate in a comprehensive review of the government response to the hurricane. This government will learn the lessons of Hurricane Katrina. We're going to review every action and make necessary changes, so that we are better prepared for any challenge of nature, or act of evil men, that could threaten our people.

The United States Congress also has an important oversight function to perform. Congress is preparing an investigation, and I will work with members of both parties to make sure this effort is thorough.
[emphasis mine]

This is how it's playing out:

On Thursday, a White House official provided a two-hour closed-door briefing to members of a select House committee that is investigating the preparations for Hurricane Katrina and response to it. Republicans said they considered the briefing, by Mr. Bush's deputy domestic security adviser, Ken Rapuano, candid and helpful.

Democrats said the briefing failed to answer major questions about the handling of the disaster, and they renewed their call for the committee to subpoena records from Andrew H. Card Jr., the White House chief of staff, and other senior officials. The Republican majority has already rebuffed that call once.

Tags: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home