There’s Ultimately No One to Blame but the President

Eugene Robinson asks “Now what?” in today’s WaPo.

After a tragically incompetent beginning, the effort to give urgent care to the multitudes from New Orleans whose homes and livelihoods have been obliterated is finally in high gear. The problem now is that nobody knows where it’s headed.

At the top, things are still hopeless…


Across the Gulf region, cities not blasted by Katrina, are filled with evacuees. Texas and other neighboring states are looking others to help. Evacuees are being airlifted to every corner of the country. Robinson says, “Their host communities have the best of intentions, but many won’t be able to stand the added drain on resources indefinitely. Where will these people go? Why wasn’t there a plan?”

That’s when I start my finger-pointing, because a few days in and around this ground zero have convinced me that there are two things the federal government failed to do, and that for these failures there’s ultimately no one to blame but the president.

First, an administration that since Sept. 11, 2001, has told us a major terrorist strike is inevitable should have had in place a well-elaborated plan for evacuating a major American city. Even if there wasn’t a specific plan for New Orleans — although it was clear that a breach of the city’s levees was one of the likeliest natural catastrophes — there should have been a generic plan. George W. Bush told us time and again that our cities were threatened. Shouldn’t he have ordered up a plan to get people out?

Second, someone should have thought about what to do with hundreds of thousands of evacuees, both in the days after a disaster and in the long term. As people flooded out of New Orleans, it was officials at the state and local level who rose to the challenge, making it up as they went along. Bring a bunch of people to the Astrodome. We have a vacant hotel that we can use. Send a hundred or so down to our church and we’ll do the best we can.

Tent cities aren’t a happy option, but neither is haphazard improvisation. Is the problem the Bush administration’s ideological fervor for small government? Does the White House really believe that primary responsibility should fall on volunteers, church groups and individuals? Or is it just stunning incompetence and lack of foresight?

The White House Spin Team is feverously working to quell the damage caused by Bush’s slow response to the disaster and his inappropriate responses that include a “recollection Friday of his youthful partying in New Orleans.” A truly compassionate president, who claims to have a direct pipeline to God, would have done better to stand in the midst of the wreckage in New Orleans and say to it’s people, “But for the grace of God go I.” But as I said here days ago, this president knows he will never suffer what those in the Gulf have suffered, “he knows damn well he will never be in those circumstances!”

This president knows not compassion. Eugene Robinson is right, “there’s ultimately no one to blame but the president.”

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7 Responses to There’s Ultimately No One to Blame but the President

  1. kj says:

    Ran across a blog with a gathering of interesting quotes: http://www.deronbauman.com/

    We all watch yet again and Mr. Bush scrambles to shift responsibility to anyone other than himself. And rightwingers want me to believe they’re all about responsibility. Yeah boy.

  2. kj says:

    I may be tying in upper and lower case, but I’m screaming at the top of my lungs:

    CNN just reported that Bush is going to personally head up the probe that will investigate the government’s response.

    Mother of God. Bush is going to investigate himself and his team.

  3. kath says:

    Clinton didn’t get to white wash his sex appeal, so Bush shouldn’t be able to white wash his total failure. We should demand an independant hearing that can discover the truth.
    Bush Can Not and Will Not bring the Truth to we US citizens. Don’t ever forget that there were NO WEAPONS of MASS DESTRUCTION in Iraq and he has somehow changed to bringing Iraq democracy.
    What is truth? Can we even recognise it anymore.

  4. Marjorie G says:

    For those of us who think unseemly that Halliburton once again to the rescue, and so suspiciously fast, now FEMA suggests donation to Pat Robertson. Sorry if this was covered, but haven’t been as attentive lastely to news.

    First withdrawn when criticized, FEMA suggested again Operation Blessings, as one of three charities. State of Virginia found the operation suspicious and legally vulnerable before when planes were used almost exclusively for Pat Robertson’s Zaire mining operation. So a tax-exempt donation to his mining instead of relief. Definitely dishonest blurring of church and state, but televangelism at its sincerest..

  5. Nick says:

    Donation to Pat Robertson? That reminds me of a Ray Stevens song

    WOULD JESUS WEAR A ROLEX
    (Margaret Archer / Chet Atkins)

    Ray Stevens – 1987

    Woke up this mornin’ turned on my TV set
    There in livin’ color was somethin’ I can’t forget
    This man was preachin’ at me.. yeah.. layin’ on the charm
    Asking me for 20 with 10,000 on his arm

    He wore designer clothing and a big smile on his face
    Selling me salvation while they sang Amazing Grace
    Asking me for money when he had all the signs of weath
    Almost wrote a check out.. yeah.. but then I asked myself…

    Would He wear a pinky ring, would He drive a fancy car
    Would His wife wear furs and diamonds, would His dressing room have a star
    If he came back tomorrow there’s something I’d like to know
    Would Jesus wear a rolex on His television show

    Would Jesus be political if he came back to earth
    Have his second home in Palm Springs.. yeah.. but try to hide his worth
    Take money from those poor folks when He comes back again
    And admit He’s talked to all those preachers who said they’d been-a talking to Him

    Would He wear a pinky ring, would He drive a fancy car
    Would His wife wear furs and diamonds, would His dressing room have a star
    If he came back tomorrow there’s something I’d like to know
    Could ya tell me – Would Jesus wear a rolex
    Would Jesus wear a rolex
    Would Jesus wear a rolex on His television show
    Would Jesus wear a rolex on His television show

  6. Ben Mercadante says:

    Nick…great song need to check that one out. I had heard through a Mark Crispin Miller blog that or e-mail hot line that Robertson has gotten money from FEMA …I will try to find that post / piece.

  7. Marjorie G says:

    http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/343813p-293471c.html

    FEMA and Pat Robertson. Found this complete piece after partial e-mail from NJDC.