Andrew Sullivan on Bush/Katrina
Well, whatever the case, Mr. Andrew goes off in the pages of The Times on Sunday:
Where was the urgency to get these soldiers to rescue the poor and drowning in nearby New Orleans, or the dying and dead in devastated Mississippi? The vice-president was nowhere to be seen. The secretary of state was observed shopping for shoes in New York City. The president had barely returned to Washington; and had already opined that nobody had foreseen the breaching of New Orleans’ levees.
Earth to Bush: the breaching of the levees had been foreseen for decades. If anyone wanted evidence that this president was completely divorced from reality, that statement was Exhibit A. It didn’t help coming after a five-week vacation, when most Americans are lucky to get two.
As chaos spread, the president seemed passive. He said on Friday that he was “satisfied” with the response, but not the results. What does that mean? Then he held a photo-op with Senator Trent Lott, whose house had been demolished. “The good news is — and it’s hard for some to see it now — that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before,” Bush said. “Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott’s house — he’s lost his entire house — there’s going to be a fantastic house. And I’m looking forward to sitting on the porch.”
According to the official White House transcript, laughter followed that remark. Lott was Senate majority leader until a few years ago, when he was forced to resign because he said he regretted that racial desegregation had taken place in the South in the 1950s and 1960s. So while the poor and the black were drowning or dying, Bush chose to chuckle in the South. It beggared belief.
Wow. This just won't stop -- and unlike the 9/11 circling of wagons, this is really becoming a moment of questions, a moment of internal outrage and a moment of weakness for the authorities. It's not "Who caused the hurricane?" but "Who's to blame for the faulty response?" And that's always been a perfectly valid question. Tip to Jimmy....