Patterico's Pontifications

9/11/2005

Kinsley on Katrina: Not Bush’s Fault

Filed under: Current Events,Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 9:15 am



Michael Kinsley knocks it out of the park with his op-ed this morning titled The fetid aroma of hindsight:

AS A GOOD AMERICAN, you no doubt have been worried sick for years about the levees around New Orleans. Or you’ve been worried at least since you read that official report in August 2001 — the one that ranked a biblical flood of the Big Easy as one of our top three potential national emergencies. No? You didn’t read that report in 2001? You just read about it in the newspapers this last week?

. . . .

You never gave five seconds of thought to the risk of flooding in New Orleans until it became impossible to think about anything else? Me neither. Nor have I given much thought to the risk of a big earthquake along the West Coast — the only one of the top three catastrophes that hasn’t happened yet — even though I live and work in the earthquake zone.

Of course, my job isn’t to predict and prepare for disasters. My job is to recriminate when they occur. It’s not easy. These days the recriminations business is overrun with amateurs, who are squatting on all the high ground. The fetid aroma of hindsight is everywhere.

Kinsley has a few words for the prescient Corps of Engineers:

The Corps of Engineers has done many marvelous things. But it would cement over the Great Lakes and level Mt. Rainier if we would let it. Its warnings about natural disasters are like the warnings of that famous economist who has predicted 10 of the last five recessions.

as well as for Democrat Senator Mary Landrieu:

Likewise, a senator may not be the best judge of the need for a vast federal construction project in her state. Landrieu’s I-told-you-so’s would be more impressive if the press release archive on her website didn’t contain equally urgent calls to spend billions of dollars to build boats the Navy hasn’t asked for in Louisiana shipyards, self-congratulations for having planted a billion dollars of “coastal impact assistance” for Louisiana in the energy bill (this is before the flood), and so on. Did she want flood control or did she want $10 million to have “America’s largest river swamp” declared a “National Heritage Area”?

Kinsley says that the only president you can’t blame for the disaster happening to begin with is . . . George W. Bush:

Obviously — obviously in hindsight, that is — we should have spent the money to strengthen the New Orleans levees. President Clinton should have done it. Presidents Bush the Elder and Reagan should have done it. As Tim Noah notes in Slate, warnings about the perilous New Orleans levees go back at least to Fanny Trollope in 1832. In fact, the one president who is pretty much in the clear on this is our current Bush — not because he did anything about the levees but because even if he had started something, it probably wouldn’t have been finished yet.

Amen.

Okay, leftists. In your eyes, anyone who disagrees with you on Bush’s allegedly obvious responsibility for Katrina is just a right-wing hack. I guess it’s time for you to start trying to pin that label on Michael Kinsley.

Good luck.

83 Responses to “Kinsley on Katrina: Not Bush’s Fault”

  1. “In your eyes, anyone who disagrees with you on Bush’s allegedly obvious responsibility for Katrina is just a right-wing hack.”

    Its more along the lines of anyone who frames it as ‘bush is responsible for katrina’ is a hack. Dubya is responsible for what has become of FEMA.

    actus (9982e6)

  2. We are starting to see the “light”

    Emiro Burbano (77659c)

  3. Pollyanna Daydreams:

    If so deliberately obtuse a Leftist as Michael Kinsley can acknowledge what’s right in front of his nose, maybe there is hope for a few others too. Dare I suggest that someday perhaps even actus might actually get the message?

    Black Jack (ee3eb6)

  4. Kinsley seems to be a left-wing utopian.

    His entire argument revolves around the idea that we can erect adequate protection for all eventualities–that the real and only problem was that the levees were not built strong enough.

    Ha. The real test is whether a leader can understand the vulnerabilities of the system under his supervision, assess the threat, and realize the appropriate response to those threats that will challenge the wink links of the system.

    There will always be weak links. We cannot protect ourselves from everything nor would we want to. that would mean shrinking our realm of life to a tiny place on a tiny sphere.

    Bush failed in his primary mission to understand the vulnerability, recognize the threat, and to take appropriate corrective action. That is why we give a president power and an awesome ability to monitor and regulate so many aspects of our lives.

    It not that Kinsley’s ideology fixes a certain view, it’s just thathe is living on a different planet.

    Paul Deignan (9e57a7)

  5. Black Jack writes:

    Pollyanna Daydreams:

    If so deliberately obtuse a Leftist as Michael Kinsley can acknowledge what’s right in front of his nose, maybe there is hope for a few others too. Dare I suggest that someday perhaps even actus might actually get the message?

    Uhhh, no, you really don’t dare suggest that.

    Dana R. Pico (a9eb8b)

  6. “AS A GOOD AMERICAN, you no doubt have been worried sick for years about the levees around New Orleans.”

    I’ve been worried since I heard a report on morning edition a few years ago about what would happen if a cat 4 or 5 hit the big easy.

    actus (9982e6)

  7. Kinsley writes:

    We, the citizens, would have demanded it, and then blamed the politicians and the “institutions” when it turned out to be a bad bet. There is no foresight. We fight the last war because hindsight is all we really have.

    Whoooo Nellie. Patterico, if you are holding this guy out as representative of valid thinking, there is a major problem. We just spent the last 60 years demonstrating the fallisies of backwards, reactionary leftism. Why do you think that type of thinking is valid now?

    On planet Kinsely, it is impossible to understand what will happen next. (See the feeling thinking post at my blog–there are reasons for this myopia). On planet earth, there is causal determinism.

    Hold this guy out as a good example and you are saying that you have no intent of being responsible in the least. In the real world, we make our destinies.

    Paul Deignan (9e57a7)

  8. Actus, think I heard that same report on All Things Considered and have been concerned about this type of thing ever since.

    The sad thing about that report was that there seemed to be very little that might save the city even if billions more were spent.

    CalDevil (4d3198)

  9. The sad thing about that report was that there seemed to be very little that might save the city even if billions more were spent.

    Which is why realistic evacuation plans are all so more important.

    It is the fed’s job to put two and two together. (Hurricane information from national weather assets and infrastructure information from the ACoE).

    Just because we choose not to spend billions for and unlikely event does not mean that we do not have a working backup plan just in case the eventualities materializes. In fact, this should have been hard-wired in as part of the engineering study.

    (Another problem with government is that it is not systems oriented, rather it is domain oriented).

    Paul Deignan (9e57a7)

  10. Nothing is ever Bush responsibility. It wasnt his fault he appointed a former horse judge as chief of FEMA, wasnt his fault the levees weren’t strengthened,the program had to be cut because he does have priorities after all his base needed more tax cuts and besides who could ever have imagined that happening!!??? Just like no one could imagine terrorists flying planes into buildings.
    Wasnt Bush fault terrorists successfully attacked us on 9/11, they didnt write him in advance telling them the day and time and place so when he got that memo warning of an intent to attack, he went golfing. What else is a President to do?

    Wasnt his fault troops died in Iraq looking for weapons he insisted were there after all he wasnt responsible to get the intelligence straight. Those who warned of trouble were kicked out..Tenent got a medal for his work!! But no need to worry we are in the final 12 years death throw of the insurgency at which time Iraq will be free to vote for union with Iran..Not his fault we still dont have sufficient armor for the troops in Iraq.
    Isnt the Chimps fault we are running up massive deficits that could cripple us as a nation, after all we needed that 220 million dollar bridge in Alaska to island of only 50. Don Young Memorial PORKway!!!Hell he couldnt veto that!
    Nothing is ever his fault. Blame it on Clinton!! Bush is is just following the will of his heavenly father! Create hate and annimosity and act like the oppressed one. Hate Gays, dislike blacks, resent successful women, tired of an ungrateful world and being dumped on by the liberals and the towel heads? want God on your side? Come on loyal Americans join the Bush God Squad.. Pass the ammo and lets bomb some more towel heads to bring them freedom!! cause freedom is a winnin! Ya Hoooooo!!! Go Bush!!

    Charlie (8ea405)

  11. At least five hours ago, wire services reported that al Qaeda said it will attack Los Angeles (ABC news has the tape) – but still nothing up on LA Times website.

    Brady Westwater (72f6df)

  12. I have to agree with actus the unhinged Charlie about one thing: FEMA was messed up, and Bush needs to take responsibility because the heads were his appointments. It’s a shame that the rest of the blame game has been so big of a joke.

    Matto Ichiban (cd9a4c)

  13. ” It’s a shame that the rest of the blame game has been so big of a joke.”

    I thikn its a shame that some people call accountability a ‘game.’

    actus (9982e6)

  14. My jaw dropped when I read Kinsley’s column today, and I had to send a letter to the Times to pass along my amazement that Kinsley would, for once, depart from the Party Line. It makes me wonder where he was when his editorial board was writing the nasty anti-Bush screeds the last couple of weeks. Oh yeah, he was probably hanging out up in Seattle.

    Nice to see the Patterico’s Greek Chorus of Lefties is already weighing in on this topic. I’ll bet there have been mild eruptions at brakfast tables in liberal homes all over the Southland today.

    JVW (54c318)

  15. Obviously the alien invasion has begun and Kinsley was one of the early hatching pods.

    Lonetown (3c583b)

  16. Re: #9,

    “Which is why realistic evacuation plans are all so more important.”

    Not necessarily. You can have a good plan and still not follow it. Which is exactly what happened in NOLA. They knew what a cat4 storm would do, had plans to evacuate the city, but ignored the plan and left residents to fend for themselves.

    Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco refused to fully acknowledge the potential disaster, ignored their own emergency plans and procedures, didn’t order a mandatory evacuation, wouldn’t ask for federal assistance till it was too late, declined to use the resources they had and which the emergency plan called for, and refused to provide food, water, and security for the people trapped in their flooded city.

    Yet, Deignan wants to blame President Bush and says, “It is the fed’s job to put two and two together.” Why, it seems reasonable to ponder, isn’t it Nagin and Blanco who should have been doing the arithmetic? After all, they are the local elected leaders and it was their city and their responsibility to provide for the safety and security of those they asked to vote for them.

    Black Jack (ee3eb6)

  17. Integration of this sort of information cannot be left to local elected official to figure out by themselves.

    Being elected does not mean you know everything you need to know (and local governments should not be forced to replicate such functions). That is another reason why we have such a large federal government.

    NOAA and the ACoE are federal assets. They fall under Bush’s supervision, not Nagin’s.

    Paul Deignan (9e57a7)

  18. I concur with Patrick’s political conclusions, but I think he’s wrong on Kinsley, who’s displaying another side of his nihilism:
    http://www.claremont.org/localliberty/archives/003744.html

    Ken Masugi (dc421b)

  19. Fetid Aroma Of Hindsight

    I’m absolutely speechless. Not only was this editorial printed on the pages of the LA Times but it was also written by Michael Kinsley, who must of gone off his leftard medications and is actually aquiring some common sense. Amazing.

    Flopping Aces (59ce3a)

  20. So when the levees were constructed, the feds should have enforced a zoning restriction (as they do for migratory birds and the like), that would have required local compliance to include evacuation plans.

    The local officials needed to know that a hurricane of force X was occuring and that they should implement prearraged plan Y.

    The locals had no idea–they were entirely clueless in part because the planning was never done to the degree that it should have been done. (the NOLA plan was a farce). There should also have been mandatory feedback from the locals to FEMA on the conduct of the evacuation plan so that sans feedback, FEMA would implement another layer of the robust plan. There never should have needed to have a seperate approval/request step in the plan–only oversight and voluntary interruption.

    Remember, the function of a levee is to keep water on one side. It is not a guarantee–it is a device. Devices fail in operation. Part of engineering is to ensure that one device failure does not bring the whole system down. Therefore, responsibilities for prearraged actions in case of failure need to be mapped out ahead of time.

    I am sure we do the same thing with our nuclear power facilities (I hope). This was foreseeable. It was engineered. It was misplanned.

    Paul Deignan (9e57a7)

  21. Nice try Black Jack ..but lets assume you are correct and that state officials failed ..the Rove Bush criminal defense line…Dont you think the Federal Government has a responsibility to insure the safety of all citizens even if the state fails?
    Where were the plans? What was Bush doing as the hurricane neared? How much is he responsible? What percent would you say?

    Charlie (8ea405)

  22. Flopping Aces writes:

    I’m absolutely speechless. Not only was this editorial printed on the pages of the LA Times but it was also written by Michael Kinsley, who must of gone off his leftard medications and is actually aquiring some common sense. Amazing.

    Please remember: even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

    Dana R. Pico (a9eb8b)

  23. Re: #17

    “Integration of this sort of information cannot be left to local elected official to figure out by themselves.”

    Deignan, is your statement above “code” for a black Mayor, and a female Governor?

    I’m asking a question, not making accusations. In your educated view do lazy, dumb, black men and frightened, hysterical, white women lack the requisite mental abilities to figure out, all by themselves, how a cat4 storm might flood the city?

    Surely, anyone with even a passing acquaintance with a bathtub should be able to grasp the concept. Much less anyone who lives on the Gulf Coast and has likely experienced more than a few hurricanes over the years. Not to mention the obvious fact that these two local officials, are directly and exclusively the decision makers there on the spot in NOLA.

    Now, I don’t think you intend to disparage blacks and women, but that’s one way to take your silly excuses for the criminally gross incompetence of Nagin and Blanco, which resulted in misery and death for hundreds of folks in NOLA. You are much too quick to offer lame apologies for the guilty, and much too quick to blame President Bush..

    Black Jack (ee3eb6)

  24. Actus sez:

    I’ve been worried since I heard a report on morning edition a few years ago about what would happen if a cat 4 or 5 hit the big easy.

    Kinsley says:

    [S]urely you have been badgering public officials at every level of government to spend whatever it takes to reinforce those levees — and to raise your taxes if necessary to pay for it.

    Patterico (756436)

  25. Deignan, is your statement above “code” for a black Mayor, and a female Governor?

    UFB — that is code for unf&*$ing believable

    You continue to amaze me. The stars and planets are drawn by the gravity of your deepness.

    Paul Deignan (9e57a7)

  26. Re: #21

    Charlie,

    Since Louisiana Governor Blanco acknowledged on national TV that President Bush called her and “begged her to order a mandatory evacuation” and she declined.

    And, since Mayor Nagin, also on national TV, said that President Bush then come to NOLA, met with him and Governor Blanco, and asked her to make an official request for federal assistance so he could order mandatory evacuation, and still she declined.

    In response to your question: I say that President Bush is the least culpable individual involved in the whole sorry botch up.

    Black Jack (ee3eb6)

  27. actus: “I thikn its a shame that some people call accountability a ‘game.’”

    I think it’s a shame that some people take common colloquialisms literally in order to act morally superior.

    How’s this then: much of the media has not been about “accountability” anyway, but about blaming Bush with blatent yellow journalism. “Accountability” means more than shaming a man you don’t like, or a bureacracy for that matter, or projecting frustrations onto a single scapegoat. It is about getting to the bottom of something, no matter who is at fault.

    How about more facts, actus, and fewer platitudes.

    </waste of time>

    Matto Ichiban (cd9a4c)

  28. “Dubya is responsible for what has become of FEMA.”

    FEMA’s record wasn’t that great under Clinton, so you’re going to need to substantiate that claim.

    Yehudit (71c22e)

  29. “FEMA’s record wasn’t that great under Clinton”

    He put disaster people in charge. not patronage.

    actus (5b2f21)

  30. It could not have been the work of the real Michael Kinsley. I’m guessing that Rove left a seedpod in his bedroom the night before; no other explanation possible.

    Old Coot (224bec)

  31. Dubya is responsible for what should have improved in FEMA, but didn’t.

    Xrlq (428dfd)

  32. “It wasnt his fault he appointed a former horse judge as chief of FEMA…”

    I have yet to hear anyone saying this appointment should not be laid at the doorstep of W.

    I cannot agree that it is the job of the POTUS to be “learned” about things like levees; his job is to ensure that there are qualified people to have that knowledge and that they have the latitude to act on it, with his support and/or endorsement if necessary in the opinion of the person(s) charged with that responsibility.

    I am unwilling to cut Bush any slack regarding the appointment; it seems hideously inappropriate. It was also unanimously approved, I believe (but this might not be accurate; I haven’t fact-checked that). Which says something about Congress, huh? Apparently lots of people didn’t think it was terribly significant at the time.

    If I were a voter in NOLA or the state of LA, I would absolutely expect that my mayor and governor and other elected representatives have a “world class” disaster action plan put together and then that they would be prepared to “push the button” to make it happen, with FEMA and the military and others plugged in as soon as possible. When we decide to rely for quick and smart action on the bureaucrats (Feds), on just about any matter, we are 95% certain to be disappointed. Shouldn’t be true, but I’m afraid it is, considering the messy and leviathan pot of stew that our federal government has become.

    Who is to blame for the sorry history of inept, backward, corrupt, and, frankly, outrageous elected officials in that corner of the country? “Let the good times roll” and look the other way, seems to be the modus operandi. It would be funny, as in a sitcom, if the consequences of it were not so tragic at times (like now).

    Terry Ott (f6300e)

  33. actus, I would submit that it’s not at all a requirement that the head of FEMA or any other agency have an extensive, or any, background in what that agency does. All that is required is that the chief executive understand what the agency can do, what it can’t do, and what its mission requires it to do. Add management, decision-making and leadership skills and you have an effective executive.

    Whether Mr Brown meets or met these requirements is arguable, but an effective CEO only needs to be bright enough to do his homework and to ensure that he surrounds himself with good people who ARE experts in the field. We’ve had directors of the FAA who aren’t pilots and we’ve had presidents and defense secretaries who never spent a day in uniform. Many, if not most of them, performed exceptionally well, though were unqualified by what I take to be your standards. In fact, it is often arguably a net positive to bring someone into an organization without the organizational bureaucratic mindset – good anti-intertia move.

    If in your estimation Bush is the first president to have discovered patronage, well, … what can I say?

    On another note: “Michael, … I am you father, join me on the dark side and we shall rule the universe together.”

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  34. Please remember: even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

    Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn now and then.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  35. “I cannot agree that it is the job of the POTUS to be “learned” about things like levees”

    I think he its his job to not say things about levees when he is so unlearned about them.

    actus (5b2f21)

  36. And yet you continue to expound upon the law…

    Angry Clam (a7c6b1)

  37. “And yet you continue to expound upon the law… ”

    Touche clam. Maybe I’ll be on good morning america someday. But first I’ll have to quit drinking and catch some jesus.

    actus (5b2f21)

  38. Governor Blanco can certainly take responsibility..in fact a lot of people can take responsibility all the way back to the city’s founding in 1715. Stupid place to put a city. That being said I also expect any fair minded person to admit that the Federal response has been a disaster as well. If the state drops the ball the Feds should be able to pick it up and most obviously they did not because the system was totally unprepared and badly organized. I am not absolving Blanco. Maybe she should resign and maybe Bush ought to consider the same.

    Charlie (8ea405)

  39. But first I’ll have to quit drinking . . .

    At least when you’re posting here . . .

    Patterico (756436)

  40. BLACK JACK I would like to know the source of your information as a state of emergency was declaired by the Governor a day before and evacuation also began before the hurricaine. That sounds like some info from the likes of Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity. They have no hesitancy about lying to protect their man.
    I just saw a report saying Governor Blanco asked for help days before and that nothing was done. I dont think the facts are correct but if…and I say IF your facts are correct.. than Blanco ought to either explain her reasons or resign.
    That being said however, there was no excuse for the pitifully inadequate and late response of FEMA especially after the events of 9/11 and Bush’s promise to protect us. Assume every criticism you level against the state is correct do you think the Federal Government can simply wash their hands of this and say the protection of US citizens is a state matter as if they have no responsibility should some state government prove incompetent? If this had been a terrorist attack and the entire state government was wiped out, based on what you have seen, do you really think the Feds presented an organized response? I do not and I think the blame can go many places ultimately landing at 1600 Pennsylvania avenue where the buck USED to stop. Disaster and terrorist survival plans should have been worked out years ago and there should have been a clear understanding of exactly who would do what and when they would do it. This is total chaos and mismanagement and Bush cant escape his role in this by blaming it all on state and local officials and now showing up for photo ops after having said Brownie, the guy he appointed, was doing a “heck of a job”

    Charlie (8ea405)

  41. “If the state drops the ball the Feds should be able to pick it up and most obviously they did not because the system was totally unprepared and badly organized. I am not absolving Blanco.”

    One of the functions of the federal government is to whip southern states into shape. Has been since about the 1860’s. We really can’t wait for them to help themselves.

    actus (5b2f21)

  42. actus, you’re right, we’re such ignorant rubes in the South. How could we ever actually get anything right? I’m surprised we can even plow a straight line.

    I missed the “whip southern states into shape” amendment in the constitution. Would that be in there with the amendment that separates church and state or with the abortion amendment?

    I’ll recommend Zell Miller’s book, A National Party No More to you if you haven’t already read it. Might give you a new take on the South and might explain why we tend to vote the way we do if you’re at all curious.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  43. “Might give you a new take on the South and might explain why we tend to vote the way we do if you’re at all curious.”

    Oh. does it explain to me why Blanco and Nagin got to be where they are?

    actus (5b2f21)

  44. Take note, Southerners. Actus’s brand of condescension is common among Democrats like him.

    Patterico (756436)

  45. I need to make my position simpler.

    Local/state officials are elected or booted out based on competence and performance in serving their communities. Federal agency officials and staff are accountable to no one, really. Moreover, they are far removed from where the rubber meets the road in the event of an emergency. At best, they are subject matter experts and added resources.

    A key lesson here is that if you have pathetic local and state government, and hope that will be overcome by the calvalry from Washington, then you are making a fool’s bargain.

    Maybe YOU can delude yourself into thinking that “the buck stops” in Washington at some Federal Agency, but I would sleep better at night knowing that the buck actually stops on the desk of someone accountable to me and my neighbors… who has to campaign for office based on what he/she has done and is prepared to do on my behalf.

    None of us has anything resembling influence over Washington. It is a world apart. Huge. Unresponsive. Sloppy. Protected. “Elite”, in the worst sense of the word. This has nothing to do with which party oversees it. Then, why on earth would we assume we could depend on Washington to do the job that they in turn would expect us, where we live, to do for ourselves?

    If FEMA itself is riddled with incompetency, shame on it (them). If we think we can ever depend on it, or any other agency of the Federal government, to demonstrate consistent excellence in a way that overcomes local inadequacy, then shame on us. And if we think we can do anything to fix FEMA, except to write letters that will get computer generated responses, then we have lost touch with reality.

    Terry Ott (f6300e)

  46. “Take note, Southerners. Actus’s brand of condescension is common among Democrats like him.”

    I think we can be condescending of, among other things, incompetence. Makes us a healthy country. But some people are scared of that. They call accountability a ‘blame game.’ Its a real shame.

    actus (5b2f21)

  47. Louisiana’s plan for New Orleans in case of a hurricane:
    Hurricane misses – WE PARTY.!!!
    Hurricane hits dead center – we DIEEEEE.
    And the governor wasn’t going to let the feds interfere with their plan.

    Boman (abe81a)

  48. One of the functions of the federal government is to whip southern states into shape. Has been since about the 1860’s. We really can’t wait for them to help themselves.

    You have equated being Southern with incompetence. Not unusual for Democrats — but a real shame.

    Patterico (756436)

  49. “You have equated being Southern with incompetence.”

    They just do some things that are out of shape. Haven’t you noticed lately? Lots of people been equating louisiana and new orleans with incompetence. see #47, for example.

    actus (5b2f21)

  50. I think there was plenty of incompetence in Louisiana and New Orleans local government. But the only folks I have seen equating all of the South since 1865 with incompetence — are Democrats, like you.

    Patterico (756436)

  51. New Orleans is not the whole of the south. The gov. of Miss. did a lot better that the gov. of La. didn’t he?
    But perhaps this will cheer you up. Mary Landrieu defended Mayor Nagin by saying it wasn’t his fault that the buses weren’t used because Nagin “had trouble getting his people to work on a sunny day.”
    That’s some defense!
    Now, does that sound like a racist statement to you?
    She might as well have said “You can’t get blacks up because they’re lazy, so it wasn’t Nagin’s fault.”
    I call on Jesse Jackson to condemn this remark and start a campaign to recall Marry Landrieu.

    Boman (abe81a)

  52. Oh. does it explain to me why Blanco and Nagin got to be where they are? No, for that you have to ask the democratic voters who put these two democrats in office.

    I’m wondering whether your point is that the performance of these two is representative of the entire South? Remember the rule: all generalizations are always false.

    Zell’s book does explain why democrats are a national party no more, though. One of the reasons is the attitude clearly expressed in your post about Southerners. Somehow, the political slogan, “You’re an idiot – Vote Democratic!”, lacks something with us.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  53. “But the only folks I have seen equating all of the South since 1865 with incompetence — are Democrats, like you.”

    Its not like everything they do is wrong. Just some things. Little itty bitty things. Some of the wrong things they do aren’t about incompetence. They can be out of bigotry too.

    actus (5b2f21)

  54. “Oh. does it explain to me why Blanco and Nagin got to be where they are? No, for that you have to ask the democratic voters who put these two democrats in office.”

    Well then your book is going to teach me what I need to know about the South.

    “Somehow, the political slogan, “You’re an idiot – Vote Democratic!”, lacks something with us.”

    I can’t imagine it working to elect Nagin or Blanco.

    actus (5b2f21)

  55. – even though I live and work in the earthquake zone.
    Am I the only one who laughs at this? It seems like half of this guy’s articles have some passing reference about how he really is a Californian, and how he really does live in Los Angeles. Just give up guy. Perhaps he should clear the air and devote an entire op-ed piece to talking about himself and this topic.

    Shredstar (532850)

  56. Its not like everything they do is wrong. Just some things. Little itty bitty things. Some of the wrong things they do aren’t about incompetence. They can be out of bigotry too.

    Listen up, Southerners. Democrats don’t think you’re always a walking demonstration of *pure* incompetence. They think your incompetence is mixed in with some racism, too. See? Now go vote for some of them!

    Patterico (756436)

  57. ” See? Now go vote for some of them!”

    I thikn I’ve got the makings of a “southern strategy.” Or has that term already been claimed?

    actus (5b2f21)

  58. Hey, calling an entire region incompetent and bigoted is pure political gold. Once you finish flunking out of law school, you should really run for office on this platform.

    Patterico (756436)

  59. Perhaps Hastert was right. (Though his timing certainly was not.) USA Today is reporting now the cost could be $300 billion, about $600,000 per evacuee. Just give every family of four their $2.4 million to resettle on a huge above-sea-level ranch in Arkansas, and let the City Under the Sea revert to the aligators. Enough is enough; the cost is just too high.

    Shredstar (532850)

  60. “Hey, calling an entire region incompetent and bigoted is pure political gold. ”

    Who said they all are? I think they do some things that are out of shape. Its your problem if you think they all are out of shape, as opposed to just a few things. And i’m sorry for saying that its up to the feds to fix this. Be it via wars to punish treason, or civil rights acts or rural electrification. Political gold? no. historical truth? yes. I don’t have to run on this platform to make it so. There are much more popular ways to react to this truth.

    And if it is unpopular, sometimes you ust have to do the right thing, and commit the suicide that was the democratic commitment to civil rights. Some assholes are going to exploit this. But that’s the way it is. The good get exploited. And called ‘gold.’

    actus (5b2f21)

  61. Well then your book is going to teach me what I need to know about the South. It’s not my book, it’s Zell Miller’s book, though I heartily recommend it. It will teach you something about the South as I’m sure was Zell’s intent. More importantly, it might amaze you that your view of the South, at least as expressed here, is largely stereotypical.

    The real South is not as backward as your earlier comment implied. On the other hand, southerners are not immune to occasional bad judgement. I would suggest that it’s entirely possible that the decision-making at the NO city and LA state level probably made good sense to them at the time, not anticipating that levees would be breached, effectively stranding large crowds in the Convention Center and the Super Dome.

    Kinsley’s article is right on the mark in many respects regarding the ease of Monday morning quarterbacking, second guessing and criticism of decisions made with the best of intentions and with less than perfect information. His treatment of the politics is insightful as well.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  62. Who said they all are? I think they do some things that are out of shape. Its your problem if you think they all are out of shape, as opposed to just a few things.

    I’m sorry, Actus. I thought you were the one who said:

    One of the functions of the federal government is to whip southern states into shape. Has been since about the 1860’s. We really can’t wait for them to help themselves.

    Wait, I’m not sorry — as it turns out, you were indeed the guy who said that.

    Patterico (756436)

  63. That’s Democratic philosophy, folks. In case you missed it, I’ll repeat it:

    One of the functions of the federal government is to whip southern states into shape. Has been since about the 1860’s. We really can’t wait for them to help themselves.

    If I lived in the South, I’d run to the polls to vote for candidates who felt like that about my region.

    Patterico (756436)

  64. Actus — the comment is typical of Dems’ failure in the South.

    The South offers a relatively moderate climate (less snow) with more suburban living. Plus, regionalistic differences in food, culture, and lots of localism (think of the massive crowds for UGA’s home football games). The South is also business friendly and post-Civil Rights “the ______ too busy to hate.” (insert name of locality for _____). Houston, Miami, Atlanta, Nashville, Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham, and other Southern Cities have all led the nation in job and population growth. For a reason. They are desirable places to live with good jobs and relatively lower costs of living. They are not perfect (relatively high crime rates compared with the Mountain West) but nothing like New Orleans horrific rate.

    Louisiana is a black hole for business, job growth, income growth, education, crime, and everything else you can think of. Whereas even MOBILE has prospered in the last 15 years New Orleans has not. Alabama of all places has replicated Zell Miller’s Project Hope Scholarship, with a full ride at State Colleges and Universities for every B student, or equivalent money for private school. California would do well to copy that. MISSISSIPPI has this also. And let me tell you, Ole Miss is a damn fine school. Among other things, leading school in the nation for Classics.

    Jim Rockford (e09923)

  65. “One of the functions of the federal government is to whip southern states into shape. ”

    Ya. It doesn’t mean everything they do is incompetent and wrong. Just some things.

    You seem to think this is a negative thing. No need to make it negative. One can run on positive things like good government. And use that to whip corrupt bureacracies into shape. One can run on a positive thing like civil rights. And use that to whip bigots into shape.

    “If I lived in the South, I’d run to the polls to vote for candidates who felt like that about my region. ”

    Not if you’re the guy on the recieving end of the incompetence and bigotry. But I don’t think that’s you.

    “Alabama of all places has replicated Zell Miller’s Project Hope Scholarship, with a full ride at State Colleges and Universities for every B student, or equivalent money for private school”

    See, great thing the south does, guaranteed higher education? What a great idea.

    actus (9982e6)

  66. In praise of Governor Blanco:

    I have been quite critical of the Governor, and of the Mayor of NOLA too, and I continue to take her to task for failure to order a mandatory evacuation in advance of the cat4 storm.

    However, Blanco does deserve recognition for refusing to blame President Bush. She may be indecisive, she may freeze-up in an emergency, and in some eyes she may be only a bigoted and incompetant Southerner, but in refusing to blame President Bush, Governor Blanco has demonstrated a bit of class.

    In that, Governor Blanco’s example can be recommended to others.

    Black Jack (ee3eb6)

  67. I’m a leftist, and I’d never say that Bush is obviously responsible for Katrina.

    What I would say – having read news reports of the report in question in 2001, and having read articles about New Orleans’ vulnerability as long ago as 1998 – is that the city government of NO was horribly unprepared, and that FEMA was horribly unprepared as well, and that their performance in this crisis gives me no basis for believing they will do a reasonable job in the next crisis.

    Is Bush at fault for the FEMA response? No. Is he responsible? Yes, because he’s the head of the executive branch and ultimately “the buck stops” at him for any failure in the executive branch. In particular, he’s responsible for his poor choice of FEMA head and for the failure of FEMA to improve the quality of its response over the response in the “war game” on this very issue held last year.

    aphrael (6b0647)

  68. You seem to think this is a negative thing. No need to make it negative. One can run on positive things like good government. And use that to whip corrupt bureacracies into shape. One can run on a positive thing like civil rights. And use that to whip bigots into shape.

    Good point. I presume this applies universally, not just to Southern states as you initially stated. I’m certain that the South has no monopoly on corrupt bureacracies and bigots.

    Harry Arthur (40c0a6)

  69. If you are willing to read another report, may I direct you to Jack Kelley’s article today in the Pittsburg Post-Gazette: “No shame”

    Black Jack (ee3eb6)

  70. “Good point. I presume this applies universally, not just to Southern states as you initially stated.”

    I think since the 1860’s its been a clear federal function to fix the south. But its probably because there is a clear federal function to fix local problems.

    actus (ebc508)

  71. Well Brown just resigned…the Brownie that Smirky said was doing such a great job!! The horses …judge..that Bush appointed. Now doesnt that tell you something? Should not the man who nominated him also resign?
    As for Governor Blanco .exactly what her responsibilities were and where she failed will be seen and if she screwed up then off with her head!!. (just figuratively, of course!)..

    That being said Bush failures are seen on every TV screen in the world. When state and local governments either fail or are unable to step up to the task then its the Federal government responsibility to step in to protect its citizens. It clearly didnt and no amount of photo ops or fly boy rhetoric will change that.
    This administration must take responsibility for this failure as well as the failure to find WMDs in Iraq, to properly plan for the aftermath of the invasion, to exercise fiscal discipline regarding the budget or to even be truthful with the numbers, to protect the environment and to protect the boarders from illegal foreign invasion. It has done none of that and pointing the finger at Clinton and the Democrats doesnt absolve the current crop of adminstration liars, thieves and manipulators. Ya! I’m ravin’ all right!! Can you blame me? This thing is being framed as a liberal conservative or republican democrat thing. Its bigger than that. This administration is a disaster for all of us and we better open our eyes and see the writing on the wall..

    Charlie (8ea405)

  72. If there is a “worst ever” in this, it is the worst ever reporting of what was actually going on. The msm messed up big time. They didn’t have a clue and many still don’t.
    An example – so far every criticism that I have heard about FEMA (and I haven’t heard them all now have I) shows an abysmal ignorance of what FEMA’s job is in a disaster, an ignorance of what the responsibility of the local govt., city and state is in a disaster, and what was actually happening at the time.
    The MSWM went crazy and failed their responsibility to be reporters. They instead became pleaders for the feds to do something.
    Dumbest reporting I’ve ever seen.

    Boman (65f35f)

  73. Another reminder to President Bush who is responsible for the federal response: resign.

    In a better world, we would try leaders for this criminal negligence.

    Paul Deignan (664c74)

  74. Rather than simply state my opinion, I would like to take a survey of those who also think Bush should resign over the Katrina fiasco.

    If you are like-minded, please reply by comment to “Bush Should Resign” and spread the word.

    Paul Deignan (664c74)

  75. (Tongue in cheek notice)*

    During the bickering over Katrina, did anyone notice:

    1. The story of the investigation on the supposed leak of Victoria Pflame’s identity has disappeared.

    2. Sandy Berger was given his slap on the wrist for violating security protocol without further explanation of what the heck was going on.

    3. The “Able Danger” claims have sort of come and ?sort of gone? (or not?).

    4. Apparently not as many Americans have been killed in Iraq the last two weeks, and they have captured/killed more terrorists near the Syrian border.

    5. Reenlistment in the armed forces is above schedule.

    6. It’s been a heck of a long time since I have heard the phrase, “Jobless recovery”.

    7. I have heard very little complaining about the response to the hurricane in Mississippi, which is in the same federal jurisdiction as Louisiana.

    ==> By some standards, one could conclude that the DNC was behind Hurricane Katrina to give them something to complain about President Bush about before Democratic embarrassment was made clear on those other issues. The fact that Bush is low on the list of blameworthy is beside the point. Already there is a search for new sensationalism that will capture the public’s attention prior to the issues on Katrina coming home to roost.

    *I gave the “Tongue in Cheek Notice” as to the confusion that has arisen when serious but out of left field posts have been taken to be sarcasm. To clarify, I am serious about #’s 1-7, but I really don’t think the Democrats caused Hurricane Katrina. (Obviously it came from Venezuela to raise their oil profits).

    MD in Philly (b3202e)

  76. This was a very thoughtful piece, as many of Kinsley’s are. No wonder the Dog Trainer canned him.

    Xrlq (5ffe06)

  77. WELL WELL WELL Bush as accepted responsibility for the poor relief efforts. Does this mean all those Bush defenders on this site who said he should not be blamed will now admit they were wrong when they said it was not Bush fault?? (Hey I already know the answer… and so do you…)

    Charlie (8ea405)

  78. Sure, Einstein, it means exactly what you think it means. It means Bush is personally responsible not only for the fact that the ding-danged hurricane struck in the first place, but also for the fact that the mayor and the governor waited too long to order an evacuation and left hundreds of buses to soak in toxic waste rather than pull anyone out of the city. It’s also his fault Louisiana voters were boneheaded enough to elect Kathleen Blanco as governor of their state. In fact, Bush hasn’t even learned from his mistakes; if his last hurricane wasn’t bad enough, now he’s rearing to send in another one!

    Xrlq (e2795d)

  79. XRIQ Read your post..
    I read you last post and it sounds like you think Bush was not serious when he said he took responsibility for what went on on the Federal level. Now I dont blame you for thinking he was smirking when he accepted blame but dont be so negative. Accepting responsibility is not easy for him, its something new, so dont ridicule his remarks. Try to encourage him instead. Soon he may learn to tell the truth as well!!
    I think he was thinking about his responsibility for cutting funds for leevy repair because he needed the funds to protect Iraqis instead and for tax cuts for the multi millonaires and for appointing “Brownie” you know the guy that did a heck of a job…kind of like the guy that told us we had to invade Iraq for WMDs and on and on and on…

    Charlie (8ea405)

  80. I think he was thinking about his responsibility for cutting funds for leevy repair because he needed the funds to protect Iraqis instead and for tax cuts for the multi millonaires

    Charlie, more funds went to NO under Bush than under Clinton. Cuts under Bush had nothing (that means nothing) to do with the flood,

    Tax revenues are UP. How much is collected is more important than the rate.

    MD in Philly (b3202e)

  81. Charlie, listened to an ex director (commander ?) of the Corps of Engineers a few days ago. The responsibility for the levees goes all the way back to at least Reagan and everyone in between. Can not recall the gentleman’s name, so I don’t have a link, but he is or was also a congressman at some point.

    He asserted that the lead time for actual work on the levees is so long that even were Bush to have requested any amount of funding at any time during even his first term we would only be just beginning to see any work beginning now.

    His point was that our fathers and grandfathers are responsible for our infrastructure and our children and grandchildren are the beneficiaries of the infrastructure choices we make and pay for. Thus, it is our children who can critique Bush for any unfunded infrastructure, not us.

    Shamefully, there is about $2 billion per year unfunded infrastructure in the country and our children and grandchildren will suffer with the results of that underfunding. But the current levees in NO were the responsibility of Reagan, Bush I, and Clinton and the congresses with whom they worked, not Bush II.

    That is emphatically not to relieve him of responsibility for any leadership failure, either his or FEMA’s, in the response to Katrina. We’ll get into that in public hearings and I trust will fix the structural dysfunction in the DHS and FEMA.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  82. […] My jaw just about hit the floor when I read this in my own Socialist rag, the LA Times: (h/t Patterico’s Pontifications) AS A GOOD AMERICAN, you no doubt have been worried sick for years about the levees around New Orleans. Or you’ve been worried at least since you read that official report in August 2001 — the one that ranked a biblical flood of the Big Easy as one of our top three potential national emergencies. No? You didn’t read that report in 2001? You just read about it in the newspapers this last week? […]

    Flopping Aces » Blog Archive » Fetid Aroma Of Hindsight (e54f00)


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