Waiting for a Leader

This N.Y. Times editorial says it all… Once again, our leader is a day late, more than a few dollars short and shows the compassion and understanding of a ______ (well, you fill in the blank)…

Waiting for a Leader
Published: September 1, 2005

George W. Bush gave one of the worst speeches of his life yesterday, especially given the level of national distress and the need for words of consolation and wisdom. In what seems to be a ritual in this administration, the president appeared a day later than he was needed. He then read an address of a quality more appropriate for an Arbor Day celebration: a long laundry list of pounds of ice, generators and blankets delivered to the stricken Gulf Coast. He advised the public that anybody who wanted to help should send cash, grinned, and promised that everything would work out in the end.


We will, of course, endure, and the city of New Orleans must come back. But looking at the pictures on television yesterday of a place abandoned to the forces of flood, fire and looting, it was hard not to wonder exactly how that is going to come to pass. Right now, hundreds of thousands of American refugees need our national concern and care. Thousands of people still need to be rescued from imminent peril. Public health threats must be controlled in New Orleans and throughout southern Mississippi. Drivers must be given confidence that gasoline will be available, and profiteering must be brought under control at a moment when television has been showing long lines at some pumps and spot prices approaching $4 a gallon have been reported.

Sacrifices may be necessary to make sure that all these things happen in an orderly, efficient way. But this administration has never been one to counsel sacrifice. And nothing about the president’s demeanor yesterday – which seemed casual to the point of carelessness – suggested that he understood the depth of the current crisis.

While our attention must now be on the Gulf Coast’s most immediate needs, the nation will soon ask why New Orleans’s levees remained so inadequate. Publications from the local newspaper to National Geographic have fulminated about the bad state of flood protection in this beloved city, which is below sea level. Why were developers permitted to destroy wetlands and barrier islands that could have held back the hurricane’s surge? Why was Congress, before it wandered off to vacation, engaged in slashing the budget for correcting some of the gaping holes in the area’s flood protection?

It would be some comfort to think that, as Mr. Bush cheerily announced, America “will be a stronger place” for enduring this crisis. Complacency will no longer suffice, especially if experts are right in warning that global warming may increase the intensity of future hurricanes. But since this administration won’t acknowledge that global warming exists, the chances of leadership seem minimal.

Related Posts:
Blumenthal Critical of Bush Cuts in Flood Control Funding
John Kerry Appeals for Help for Katrina Victims
The Gulf Coast Needs Help and Hope
The Ravages of Hurricane Katrina and the Global Warming Connection

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3 Responses to Waiting for a Leader

  1. janet says:

    I want Clinton. I miss Clinton.

  2. Indie Liberal says:

    I am sorry, but the Democrats need to stop being so silent on this. People are dying minute by minute, hour by hour. Kerry and all Dems need to come out NOW, ASAP! So many are threatening to support other candidates (i.e. Clark) if he doesn’t call Bush out on this. This is shameful!

  3. BlueWashington says:

    Janet,

    Is it Bill? Hillary?

    I see Bill and old man Shrub are being bright in to help. 2 heads are better than none.

    It’s a love hate relationship with me and Bill. I loved the way Bill ran the country, good government at it’s best. I hate Bill for what he did to the party w/ A) Hillary Care (remember ’94 mid terms? sure you do) and B) Monica. For someone who was suppose to be politcally astute, what a mess he left us Dems in. The 2000 election should never have been that close.

    Hillary – nope, don’t like her. First reason, please refer back to ‘A’. Second reason, body climber. What do I mean? She climbs over bodies to get to the top. Married to Bill (she was married to the president so, ergo she should be president?). Bill steps out on her one time too many and she still sticks around. What’s up with that? Now to be far, I’m am the product of a broken marriage in which my own father had Bill’s problem; my mother, after a time, showed dad the door. I guess ambition does strange things to people; but for me comes down to self respect. Does she respect herself? I’ve wondered about that since the Monica days. I don’t think she does.