Cameron Kerry: Katrina: Keeping Americans Safe

Cameron Kerry, brother of John Kerry has a insightful post on the Huffington today (hat tip the Daou Report.)

Katrina: Keeping Americans Safe

Hurricane Katrina blew away the foundation of George Bush’s political survival just as brutally as it scattered rooftops along the Gulf Shores.

What has sustained George Bush has been the perception that he would keep Americans safe at home. Whatever else voters thought about him, large numbers shared this perception.

This was the levee Karl Rove and the Republicans built to keep out doubts about Iraq, anemic jobs numbers, and other rising waters. How many times have we heard them repeat “9/11,” “war on terrorism,” and “protecting us from terrorists”?

It was the bedrock of his reelection campaign. Reinforced by the apocalyptic visions of the Republican Convention coming to life in Beslan massacre in Russia, the Osama Bin Laden election broadcast and, yes, some missteps on our side, it was this perception that enabled George Bush to become the first incumbent president re-elected with approval ratings at 50 percent or less. As pollster Celinda Lake analyzed the 2004 election, “security has become a prism through which voters, especially women, view a number of issues and choices.”

Now he and his administration have failed pathetically to keep Americans safe at home. No backdrops, spin, or lists of supplies can camouflage the failure to protect thousands of people in obvious danger or to carry out the most basic governmental function of all – to preserve public order. Remember “Ashley’s Story,” the advertisement about Bush comforting the 16-year-old whose mother died on 9/11? Telling us “He’s the most powerful man in the world and all he wants to do is make sure I’m safe, that I’m okay,” rings hollow today.

With George Bush’s levee washed away in the storm surge, everything comes pouring in. The fixation on Iraq, the costs of tax cuts, Crawford vacations, phony photo ops and posturing, the shaming of America in the eyes of the world, the callous disregard for those left behind by lopsided economic growth. Now all these – and more – are fair game.

Even 9/11. Even the crowning moment celebrated over and over a year ago at the Republican Convention and in Bush-Cheney advertising. Throughout 2004, questions about the Administration’s preparedness could not get real traction because the residue of goodwill from 9/11 bought George Bush immunity; most of the press and a majority of the public were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt when he said “had there been actionable intelligence, we would have moved on it.” Now, with that statement echoed by the foolish “I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees,” they have to think again.

When the 17th Street Canal levee gave way, it flooded New Orleans with a brew as foul as the runoff from toxic waste lagoons and the rot of decomposing bodies — the flaccid underbelly of George Bush’s politics.

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About Pamela Leavey

Pamela Leavey is the Editor in Chief, Owner/Publisher of The Democratic Daily as well as a freelance writer and photographer. Pamela holds a certificate in Contemporary Communications from UMass Lowell, a Journalism Certificate from UMass Amherst and a B.A. in Creative Writing and Digital Age Communications from UMass Amherst UWW.
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26 Responses to Cameron Kerry: Katrina: Keeping Americans Safe

  1. Ben Mercadante says:

    I want to remain optimistic Mr. Kerry is correct in this assessment, but it is discouraging to see how Bush’s poll numbers jumped up during the period of his coastal disaster visit…even though it was obviously staged as an photo op. It seems that many people are at the edge of their seat, readily manipulated by this very well orchestrated propagada machine. With mounting tragedy our fellow citizens are almost compelled to find saving grace in this band of miscreants, as if following someone through the wrong tunnel, they seem afraid to turn back. Yep it’s all about fear with these people…the puppets and the puppeteers. We need to let our fellow citizens know they have to let it go and learn to stand on their own two feet like the rest of us have been from the git go. We need to offer them a way out of that tunnel, it will be a real tough job convincing some, others are ready to bolt. I only hope by now a modicum of the “main stream media” wakes up and smells the coffee and applies the deserved scrutiny to this administration, and then maybe the rest will follow.

  2. Marjorie G says:

    I’m concerned that not enough sustained media attention has been paid to the withholding of funds for levee improvement in favor of the Iraq War, or general slush fund known as homeland security. All this one unmbrella gives an easier time to fund pork in red states.

    How much do we think the remaking of the ports with federal money to Halliburton to please oil company improvements somewhow figured into a delay, perhaps, or at least provide an opportunity for GOP to rise from the ashes?

    Cam is right, of course, but if we say the emperor has been shown bare, once again, we’ll be accused of politicking. Security was, and will be, the thing to control elections, other than electronic voting. As Dems wanting knee-jerk anti-war (whatever that is), purist on IWR litmus, etc, will be difficult with that big pro-security view, again.

  3. GS says:

    Even when the whole govenment was absent during the days of watching the suffering and dying in New Orleans on CNN, I couldn’t get away from the awful feeling that even now, as horrible as it all was, that Bush would end up on top again, and that anything positive that was done for those suffering people would be shown to be his doing, while the bad stuff was everyone else’s. His team is working very hard to make that happen, and, people will once more fall into it, just as Ben says, “I want to remain optimistic Mr. Kerry is correct in this assessment, but it is discouraging to see how Bush’s poll numbers jumped up during the period of his coastal disaster visit…even though it was obviously staged as an photo op.”

    I think a good example of just how “good” those guys are, is how they turned Bill Clinton into a leper after his presidency. Democrats didn’t want him anywhere near their campaigns. What really got me though was my own feelings. I happened to like the Clintons a lot and felt what they did to him during his presidency was so wrong. But I found myself believing he would hurt those campaigns too. Then one day, after watching a year of Bush’s campaign and seeing first hand how those people work, I realized we’d been brainwashed into believing the worst about him. I guess others realized it to because as he began to appear during the 2004 campaigns, and caucasus, the crowds gathered around him, and he’s cheered every where he goes.

    They tell us what a mistake it was to put Howard Dean at the head of the DNC, and people believe them! They tell us Hillary would be the downfall of the Liberal party if she runs for president. They’ve already orchastrated that downfall, and we’ve allowed it, and they want to make sure it doesn’t rise again, and we’re their patsies. They’re calling the shots on everything, and the gullible fall for whatever they put out there.

    Don’t believe their polls. They’re probably just like all the rest of the things Bush and Company do – set it up so there’s only those true, hardcore followers allowed to participate in anything they do. I’m sure before he made his dramatic appearance – finally – in the gulf, his team of preparers went there ahead of time and made everyone move back a mile, allowing only those ragtag (mostly white) people who swore their undying love and devotion to him to mill around so he could put an arm around them, or pat them on the shoulder while telling them he had everything in contro.

    If we believe the propaganda they’re “catapulting,” we deserve more years of what we’ve gotten. We all need to start catapulting our own, but it won’t be propaganda, it’ll be the sad, disgusting truth.

  4. Indie Liberal says:

    GS Says:

    September 5th, 2005 at 2:17 pm

    Am I missing something?

  5. NativeTexan4Kerry says:

    Well do something about it! Spread the word that this leadership is not acceptable and we can do better!

  6. Teresa says:

    Exactly, Native!

    You’re falling right into the trap be fearing them too, and assuming they will win.


    Assume that our country has to protect itself. If we make that clear those frikking politicians on all side will reflect it.

  7. Teresa says:

    Also, as Nick has tried over and over to teach us, a certain percentage(40?) will continue to support this administration.


    The less energy spent in agony over them, the more is available to forge ahead at this momentous time.

  8. kj says:

    I did turn on television (gasp) and looked at a poll (double gasp). What I saw reminded me why I don’t like to pay attention to polls OR television.

    This catastrophe is of course being spun to provide another layer of burnish onto the ‘trophy’ that is GWB to the neocons. We’re still in the same battle. Nothing, except thousands more lives, an entire city and miles and miles of coastline, have changed.

    Is it depressing to me? Beyond belief. Same as 9/11, same as the war in Iraq. Same battle. More deaths, more blood, more mud, more fire, more karma.

    Bush will not prevail. Millions of us have fought him and his handlers for years and that’s not going to stop. We will take care of ourselves locally, as Teresa talks about. We will reverse this gene of selfishness and greed that Bush espouses. Others will continue to join us. Maybe i just haven’t given myself time to be sad, but right now, I’m just determined.

    The rats will be exposed for what they are. Halliburton got the contract. I mean, what, are they they only people in the business of rebuilding in the world?

  9. kj says:

    Marjorie, glad to see you back. How was Canada? I agree, more attention to cutback in levee funds is in order. More facts, period. Sigh. Back to Lakoff for another primer on framing.

  10. GS Says: September 5th, 2005 at 2:17 pm


    Through out the 2004 election cycle many of us here worked very closely with the Kerry campaign, both on the internet and on the ground. We’re learned early on, the Kerry rule of not trusting the polls.

    The liberal blogosphere is working very hard to dismantle the Republican Noise Machine. The polls may give Bush a boost but he will not recover from this.

    He let HELL ON EARTH happen in his own country on his own watch. People are aware, people are watching, people are listening, the MSM is learning how to do their jobs again.

    We need to persevere — we will persevere.

  11. Teresa says:


    They are delivering blow after blow and speeding it up as they lose their grip. They will continue the destruction until this phase is over. We have to rise up, connect with our courage and face our rocky road ahead. Especially those of us who are in good shape and haven’t been personally devastated by this.

    I think we should pull our strength inward, don’t even think of crybabying, and get to work.

  12. Marjorie G

    Welcome back… we’ve missed you.

    Congress heads back to work tomorrow. A few have called for investigations. I think this will get more attention – the diverting of funds. We need to keep the pressure on too. Write and call out Congress-people.

  13. Teresa Says: September 5th, 2005 at 6:34 pm


    So much to do, so much to do… we are up to the task — we can do this.

  14. Nick says:


    After watching the American people (albeit only 50.7% of them, a very slim majority) get hoodwinked by the Bushies again and again, I can understand your pessimism. Your point about the GOP propaganda machine was at least 100% right.
    Still, the public has been through major scares before only to wake from them son after: think of the fear of communist insurrection in 1919-20, the McCarthyism of 1950-54, the Salem witch trials of the 1690s. History-American and non-American-is littered with examples of the masses being fearful of some unkown, only to laugh at themselves just a few years later for being so nuts.
    Even on economics today’s “truths” are tomorrow’s jokes. Polls in 1979 when inflation was over 13%, showed that many Americans thought the rate of inflation would NEVER come down. By 1981, inflation had dropped to below 5% and by 1983 it had dropped to below 2%. Never say never.
    As for Clinton, it is pretty understandable why many Democrats would avoid him.
    1) It’s kinda hard for the party that believes in strong government and community to go along with a guy whose most famous tagline is “the era of big government is over” and ended up consolidating, rather than repudiating, the Reagan Revolution.
    2). Would you trust someone who counted both Poppy and Jr. Bush as his “friends”? With friends like that who needs enemies.
    3). Under Clinton, Democrats lost their majorities in the House, Senate, governorships, and state legislators. With the exception of a brief period of narrow Senate control, Dems have never regained these majorites. Even when Clinton was being re-elected in 1996 Dems failed to gain seats anywhere (save for a few pickups in the House in 1996 and 1998-still not enough to get a majority). Clinton himself never actually won a majority of the vote. He actually got 5.3% less of the vote in 1992 than Kerry did in 2004 and in 1996 only got .9% more of the vote than Kerry did (despite the incumbent advantages of an improving economy-not to mention a VERY lackluster opponent).
    Yes I know Perot siphoned off votes from Clinton, but if Clinton was the “political genius” some of his supporters say he was, shouldn’t he have been able to win a majority of the popular vote at least once? Given the the inability to advance a progressive agenda and the Democratic numbers (or lack thereof) in the 1990s, it isn’t surprising many Dems of all ideological stripes avoid Bill and Hillary, Republican propaganda or no Republican propaganda.

  15. Ben

    Meet Nick – Nick is our resident statistician!

  16. Teresa says:

    We are so erudite and wise here.

    I like a man who can count.

  17. Ben Mercadante says:

    Nick and others concerned with poll reference, I don’t really trust polls either….but my point ( i guess understated) is that the media keeps throwing them out and there will be all those that buy into them (the polls), and the emotional exploitation used by the cons. I guess it really is up to us individully to bring people around to the facts. But we will need the mainstream media at some point because I for one do not think these people are going to go away with out a real tough fight. Nick…as for Clinton, well my story is the same as many…the lesser of. Of course now that seems not to have worked out so well, as it was Clinton who saved all the money up for Jr. to go on his big adventures. I also think Clinton had a hunch (mabe direct knowledge?) that the Bushes were going to storm the castle…I don’t buy Gore’s avoidence of Clinton during the 2000 campaingn as just related to the impeachment thing…I think there is/ was more going on then meets the eye…like maybe Clinton did not make himself avaliable to Gore, rather then Gore’s supposed avoidence….off the subject, but I like obscure historic side lines even if they are a hunch, because most of these details we will never know anyhow… anyone have thoughts on that?

  18. kj says:

    Ben, I gotta admit (although I try to keep my conspiracy theories to myself), my thoughts re: the on-going Bubba/Poppy love-fest, is that Bill, sharp pol that he is, decided the only way to beat the Bush Mafia was to join them. And I do think the Bush Family Inc. is on the level of “The Family.” Have thought that since Poppy was in office.

  19. Ben Mercadante says:

    That could be, can’t beat em’..join them! he is also just filling the “traditional post pres shoes” not that their are many folks left that really care about that phony protocal…what I am looking for is some old Dem insider info…I’m just a history buff and I have done enough research/reading to know there are many ways to tell the same story/event. You did notice he split from Poppy last night by taking the stand that the feds did drop the ball, though there was no emotion or detail in his assertion.

  20. Marjorie G says:

    KJ, I mentioned the mob as regards Roberts, or any of them unable to leave the family responsible for their rise. They do one favor to get ahead, and they can’t leave.

    GW was enforcer, loyalty squad, just one step up from killing those frogs gleefully when a kid. The most unlikely of anyone to possess leadership, intellect, and compassion to be POTUS.

  21. Nick says:

    Ben and KJ,

    Actually Clinton did campaign for Gore in Arkansas and Lousiana in 2000 but Gore lost both states. Which begs the question: If Clinton couldn’t help Gore in Arkansas, exactly where on god’s green earth could he have helped Gore? I asked this question of a democrat after the 2000 election and he said “Illinois, Michigan, Oregon, and California.” I would’ve been a great answer-if Gore had actually lost any of those states.
    GOP consultant Stuart Stevens admitted in his book “The Big Enchilada” that the Bushies were secretly hoping Clinton would barnstorm the country for Gore in the last week, but that the Gore people were smart to keep CLinton on a leash.

  22. Ben Mercadante says:

    Well that shuts down my hunch, but I still think there is animosity between those two old partners, I guess Gore partly blames Clinton for the loss.

  23. Nick says:


    As Gore should. If Clinton had been able to keep it in his pants-and then not celebrate his acquittal by saying he had personally saved the Constitution- the election would not have been close enough to lose, with or without the state of Florida. Well expect that from Hollywood libertine elitsts like Clinton.
    The two men are hardly the same ideologically either. Gore did exactly the right thing running a populist campaign. Clinton and others (whose ultra-liberal cultural views are a BIG reason for president Bush II) don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. had Gore run another “I’m a social liberal but economic conservative” campaign he would have lost. Yes Clinton campaigned like that in 1996, but he ran against a lackluster opponent who was tied in the public’s mind to Newt Gingrich.
    The problem with the 1996 Clinton model is that it doesn’t work. What if as William Grieder said, the opponent is not flaming Newt but “a pleasant guy who talks compassion or worries aloud about the folks who have been left behind.” Sound like anybody we know?

  24. Ben Mercadante says:

    All true on Clinton, but I think Jr. beat Gore to the punch on at least the “illusion” of a populist feel. I never got that feel from Gore ( or Bush, of course I knew what they were about ) but Bush seemed to pull it off around here. Although I was not all that involved in the campaign I had voted Gore , of course and went to bed thinking it was a squeaker, but we had it. So on vacation the next day in North Fla..which I really like the coast up there, but super conservative , appeared to be 110% Bush country, and I’m sure that’s how many votes they chucked in. Well, I was ticked and proceeded to have a lousy vacation. Also I never really liked Liberman, and later I could see how much of a centrist he was. I really do not know where this party stands, we are as fractured as the Repub’s but some how come vote day they all throw in together. I am concerned with Biden , Liberman, Clinton and that bunch taking center stage to close to the center for me.

  25. Ben

    I never saw Al as too appealing either. Lieberman does nothing for me, either. I have great concerns about Hill and Biden too. Too middle of the road and too easy to bend over for the repubs.

  26. Ben Mercadante says:


    If the centrists take over ( already have?) and rreepress the more radical planks , I wonder if Dean will bolt and do the third party thing.