Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Child Psychology

A lot of newspapers are carrying headlines suggesting that George Bush apologized for the federal government's incompetent and dithering response to Katrina. Here's what he actually said:
    "Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government, and to the extent that the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility,"

The New York Times, for example, parses this with the headline "President Says He's Responsible in Storm Lapses". Even the normally cynical Billmon seems to think he apologized, with all that entails. But he didn't actually do that. The phrasing of his apology is in fact a childish attempt to continue to evade the responsibility that everybody else seems to think he has.

As Salon puts it:
    "It was a conditional acceptance of responsibility. Bush isn't saying -- and he hasn't really said -- that the federal government didn't do its job right in the aftermath of Katrina. But if it didn't, he'll take responsibility. And even that conditional acknowledgement was itself a dodge."

The reality based community all knows that the government didn't do its job right in the aftermath of Katrina. But George Bush does not. Earlier, when House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's requested that he fire FEMA chief Michael Brown, he replied
    "Why would I do that?.."What didn't go right?''

The conditional phrasing of his so-called apology indicates that he still doesn't get it. In other words, in his own mind it is not an apology at all. And that's all that matters.


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