Friday, September 02, 2005

The Boy in the Bubble

If W doesn't step it up, EVERYONE will be in New Orleans before him. Jesse Jackson has already flown in and the Salvation Army is setting up camps. Let's not forget, Rudy Giuliani had already stamped an indelible mark of leadership on 9/11 in New York City before W finally showed up days later in his windbreaker and bullhorn shouting huzzahs to relief workers. His actions have been praised as heroic, but they were actually a pale imitation of Rudy's aggressive compassion.

W's insensitivity to the victims is unbelievable. At his oval office update on Thursday, he told Americans he discussed oil prices with Alan Greenspan "over lunch." This came within 20 minutes of a CNN interview of an old woman in a wheelchair, patting her face with a kerchief who said she hadn't eaten in two days. Maybe W could bring her a nice plate of salmon and fresh greens from the new White House chef. Or maybe she would like to join him on a bike ride around his ranch in Crawford if he ever gets to finish his vacation.

One of the most popular catchphrases being bandied about by government flacks is that "this is the worst natural tragedy America has ever faced." This shows not only a lack of knowledge about U.S. history* but it's great cover for their inaction. If they can make Katrina sound confounding, they can be forgiven for their ineptitude.

Anderson Cooper of CNN is so fed up, he lashed out at Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu in an on-air interview. Later, he told Larry King he is tired of hearing how hard the bureaucrats are working when Americans are dying from drowning and rat bites in their own homes.

The paralysis is palpable and it starts at the White House. We CAN handle this, we DO have the resources, but there seems to be more hot air than political will. As the Republicans are attacked, they will complain that this situation is being "politicized." But regardless of your ideology, this is a major goat fuck, plain and simple.

[Link: NYT editorial "Waiting For a Leader"]
[Link: NYT, Paul Krugman: "A Can't-Do Government"]

*The Jonestown Flood in 1889 killed 2,200 in Pennsylvania and a hurricane in Galveston, Texas in 1900 killed between 6,000 and 8,000 people.

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