The president's declaration that "I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees" has instantly achieved the notoriety of Condoleezza Rice's "I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center." The administration's complete obliviousness to the possibilities for energy failures, food and water deprivation, and civil disorder in a major city under siege needs only the Donald Rumsfeld punch line of "Stuff happens" for a coup de grâce. How about shared sacrifice, so that this time we might get the job done right? After Mr. Bush's visit on "Good Morning America" on Thursday, Diane Sawyer reported on a postinterview conversation in which he said, "There won't have to be tax increases. …
On Thursday morning, the president told Diane Sawyer that he hoped 'people don't play politics during this period of time.' Presumably that means that the photos of him wistfully surveying the Katrina damage from Air Force One won't be sold to campaign donors as the equivalent 9/11 photos were. Maybe he'll even call off the right-wing attack machine so it won't Swift-boat the Katrina survivors who emerge to ask tough questions as it has Cindy Sheehan and those New Jersey widows who had the gall to demand a formal 9/11 inquiry.
But a president who flew from Crawford to Washington in a heartbeat to intervene in the medical case of a single patient, Terri Schiavo, has no business lecturing anyone about playing politics with tragedy.
Sunday, September 04, 2005
Frank Rich on Bush and New Orleans
It's pretty clear by now that Bush has demonstrated his lack of competence in his handling of hurricane Katrina. Here are a couple of snippets from Frank Rich's column.