Saturday, September 10, 2005

So what do you think, DOES George Bush care about black people?

See Barack Obama, Jesse Jackson and especially Jacob Weisberg, each of whom take a pretty coherent go at the question. And make no mistake: whatever conclusion you reach, this is a fair question to be asking.

That's mainly what I think about the hurricane. That, and this stuff from the Weisberg article:
The president drastically reduced budget requests from the Army Corps of Engineers to strengthen the levees around New Orleans because there was no effective pressure on him to agree. When the levees broke on Tuesday, Aug. 30, no urge from the political gut overrode his natural instinct to spend another day vacationing at his ranch. When Bush finally got himself to the Gulf Coast three days later, he did his hugging in Biloxi, Miss., which is 71 percent white, with a mayor, governor, and two senators who are all Republicans. Bush's memorable comments were about rebuilding Sen. Trent Lott's porch and about how he used to enjoy getting hammered in New Orleans. Only when a firestorm of criticism and political damage broke out over the federal government's callousness did Bush open his eyes to black suffering.

Had the residents of New Orleans been white Republicans in a state that mattered politically, instead of poor blacks in city that didn't, Bush's response surely would have been different. Compare what happened when hurricanes Charley and Frances hit Florida in 2004. Though the damage from those storms was negligible in relation to Katrina's, the reaction from the White House was instinctive, rapid, and generous to the point of profligacy. Bush visited hurricane victims four times in six weeks and delivered relief checks personally.


Anonymous said...

Hope you caught this week's "This American Life." While most of the country has been able to convert fact of the hurricane damage to evidence of Bush's racism and his White House's ineptitude (with good reason), LA-MS-AL remains fuct. The afternoon traffic in Baton Rouge (pop. 300000 X 2) now resembles Atlanta's around the 20-75-85 nexus.

Rob said...

Yeah I heard this morning that N.O. is still 50% underwater...down from 80%, okay, but still a lot of water...

I *did* catch This American Life, it was incredibly good and nourishing.

Kell said...

That they have oil?