Sunday, September 04, 2005

And on the 7th Day, he spun


The headline of the Times Picayune today reads: 7th Day of Hell.

Meanwhile the Bush spin machine moves into top gear.

Bob Herbert finds an appropriate metaphor.

    Like a boy being prepped for a second crack at a failed exam, Mr. Bush has been meeting with his handlers to see what steps can be taken to minimize the political fallout from this latest demonstration of his ineptitude. But this is not about politics. It's about competence. And when the president is so obviously clueless about matters so obviously important, it means that the rest of us, like the people left stranded in New Orleans, are in deep, deep trouble.

Time for a round of pin the blame on the donkey. The rules of the game.

These attempts to shift primary blame to local officials are already starting to unravel.

    "They can't do that," former agency [FEMA] chief of staff Jane Bullock said of Bush administration efforts to shift responsibility away from Washington. "The moment the president declared a federal disaster, it became a federal responsibility…. The federal government took ownership over the response," she said. Bush declared a disaster in Louisiana and Mississippi when the storm hit a week ago.

The similarities between the Iraq expedition and the response to New Orleans have also become striking.

The problem is not just that Bush is incompetent; he's a bad human being.

    ... a central aspect of the problem that recent events have thrown into relief: Bush is just a bad human being, not just morally bad, but deficient in character, judgment, skill, relevant experience, empathetic capacity, and maturity.

His mom is not such a great person either.

    "What I’m hearing which is sort of scary is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed with the hospitality.

    And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway so this (she chuckled)--this is working very well for them."

And on top of all this, the US simply lacks the basic institutions and community culture that allow people to deal with disasters effectively. Compare Cuba's response to a level 5 hurricane with our own.

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