Friday, September 16, 2005

Bush in New Orleans

Tom Maguire's reaction strikes me as about right.

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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"A big and lasting response to a temporal political concern?"

That's as opposed to an ecclesiastical political concern, right? Personally, I'd rather the president stuck to the temporal political concerns and left the non-temporal ones to the theologians.

If Barnett meant "a temporary political concern," then he's off his rocker. The situation on the Gulf coast is not a political concern. It is a disaster. These are real people whose lives have been shattered. And the situation will only be temporary if the federal government takes a lead role in conducting and financing the reconstruction. Of course, most of Bush's actual proposals have as little to do with reconstructing the coastline as his tax cuts do with helping the middle class, and as such one hopes that someone in Congress will play the role of bad cop, ensuring that each proposal is strictly limited to helping direct victims of the hurricane and that no more money is spent without first specifying where the money is coming from (or, if the money is to be borrowed, specifying where the money to repay the bonds will come from).

Further, it should surprise no one that Bush has reached for a sweeping basket of big-government solutions. That's what he does. It is what he has done for every problem he has faced since taking office. The era of big government being over ended when Bill Clinton left office. If you don't like wasteful, paternalistic big-government programs, you don't like George W. Bush.