It’s Sunday morning and I’m watching the talking heads instead of doing the things I need to do. They’re talking about the hurricane, its economic impact, whether or not race was a factor in the disaster response. I’m reminded of a friend of mine who used to be the head of emergency management for the city of San Francisco. He once told me that no matter how well prepared he and his office was, an earthquake would mean his job, because there is no way you could ever be prepared enough for a natural disaster. People will blame you no matter what you do. Looking at Katrina this is obvious.
People are blaming the president and I think he deserves some of the blame—particularly in the way that his administration has ignored the infrastructure of this country, ignored the warnings, and defended the Army Core of Engineers to pay for the war in Iraq and tax cuts for the rich. I won’t talk about race because I’m giving an assignment on that subject.
Certainly people have been coming to the federal government’s defense, including Haley Barbour-a good party man, Governor Barbour. The other day I wrote that the administration and the republican party were well positioned to take advantage of this disaster by coming in and looking like heroes. Obviously they didn’t take advantage of their position. I now think that this is a disaster for the GOP. Aaron Broussard, the president of Jefferson Parish, made it so. His screaming, crying, emotional breakdown on Face the Nation, screaming “I’m tired of press conferences: shut up and help us!” This will come back to haunt Bush again and again. He won’t get back on message for months. Even the conservative press is coming after him on this one. It’s going to get ugly.