Update, 11:03 a.m.: Dean Barnett has another clear-eyed view of the president's speech, but first, here's a dash of the funny:
I don’t condemn the administration for taking a pass on the disaster pros. But if deposed FEMA honcho Mike Brown had any outsized talents, he has to date kept them carefully concealed. FEMA is not the place for cronyism; if it were, God never would have invented the Commerce Department.
Now onto the damning stuff:
President Bush last night gave what was perhaps the most disappointing speech of his political career. Last night’s effort made the 9/11 Awful Office address look downright Churchillian. He might as well have said, “Message – I care.”
And because he cares, he’s going to throw a lot of money at every conceivable problem caused and exacerbated by Hurricane Katrina. Scratch that – he’s going to allow our spendthrift congress to throw money at the putative problems which will no doubt be even worse. He practically declared a second “war on poverty.”
Don’t believe me? Then take this as a sign: Notorious race-relations and poverty pimp, the “Reverend” Jesse Jackson, actually scored a primetime gig on Fox last night. Jesse’s got a seat at the table again because Bush has brought this particular table out of the closet and set it. Bush’s speech has opened the door to rubbish like this, and closing it any time soon will be all but impossible.
What really bothered me about the speech is that it was a big and lasting response to a temporal political concern.