Skip to comments.Newsview: Rhetoric Not Matching Reality
Posted on 09/02/2005 7:41:30 PM PDT by leadpencil1
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Iraqi insurgency is in its last throes. The economy is booming. Anybody who leaks a CIA agent's identity will be fired. Add another piece of White House rhetoric that doesn't match the public's view of reality: Help is on the way, Gulf Coast.
As New Orleans descended into anarchy, top Bush administration officials congratulated each other for jobs well done and spoke of water, food and troops pouring into the ravaged city. Television pictures told a different story.
"What it reminded me of the other day is 'Baghdad Bob' saying there are no Americans at the airport," said Rich Galen, a Republican consultant in Washington. He was referring to Saddam Hussein's reality-challenged minister of information who denied the existence of U.S. troops in the Iraqi capital.
To some critics, President Bush seemed to deny the existence of problems with hurricane relief this week. He waited until Friday to acknowledged that "the results are not acceptable," and even then the president parsed his words
Republicans worry that he looks out of touch defending the chaotic emergency response.
"It's impossible to defend something like this happening in America," said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
"No one can be happy with the kind of response which we've seen in New Orleans," said Republican Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts.
Bush got himself in trouble by trying to put the best face on a horrible situation. The strategy is so common in Washington that operatives have a name for it, "spin," and the Bush White House has perfected the shady art.
This is what the president had to say about the relief effort earlier in the week:
_"There's a lot of food on its way, a lot of water on the way, and there's a lot of boats and choppers headed that way."
_"Thousands have been rescued. There's thousands more to be rescued. And there's a lot of people focusing their efforts on that."
_"As we speak, people are moving into New Orleans area to maintain law and order."
Technically, the president may have been right. Help was on the way, if not fast enough to handle one of the largest emergency response efforts in U.S. history. But the words were jarring to Americans who saw images of looters, abandoned corpses and angry, desperate storm victims.
It was worse when he was wrong. In one interview, Bush said, "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees." In fact, many experts predicted a major storm would bust New Orleans' flood-control barriers.
One reason the public relations effort backfired on Bush is that Americans have seen it before.
On Iraq alone, the rhetoric has repeatedly fallen far short of reality. Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction. The mission wasn't accomplished in May 2003. Most allies avoided the hard work of his "coalition of the willing." And dozens of U.S. soldiers have died since Vice President Dick Cheney declared that insurgents were in their "last throes."
Bush often touts the health of the U.S. economy, which is fair game because many indicators point in that direction. But the public doesn't share his rosy view. The global economy had most Americans worried about job and pension security even before rising gas added to their anxieties.
Bush's spokesman said anybody involved in leaking the identity of a CIA agent would be fired, but no action has been taken against officials accused of doing so.
The president himself promised to fully pay for his school reform plan and strip pork-barrel spending from a major highway bill. The school money fell short. The pork thrived.
The list goes on. But this didn't start with Bush. Former President Clinton certainly had his rhetoric vs. reality problems. Indeed, most politicians do. At some point, however, the spin can take a toll.
Bush crafted a reputation as a blunt-speaking, can-do leader from his response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Five months later, about three-fourths of Americans viewed him as honest.
But his trust rating dropped gradually to a slim majority by the 2004 election year and remained at the mid-50s through the early part of 2005. In August, an AP-Ipsos poll showed 48 percent of respondents considered Bush honest, the lowest level of his presidency.
Americans like straight-shooters, especially in an era that has seen vast failures by government and social institutions. People are witnessing another institutional failure in the Gulf Coast, and Bush reluctantly acknowledged it Friday.
"This is a storm that's going to require immediate action now," he said. Few would disagree.
EDITOR'S NOTE - Ron Fournier has covered national politics for The Associated Press since 1993.
Sorry, forgot the projectile vomit alert!
Hey Ron Fournier, whatja doin there?
Red Ron Fournier should be a columnist, preferably in a small Berkley based newsletter. He has been shoveling swill masquerading as AP news for years and not all of it with a byline.
This will be the standard reply I'd present to all presstitutes and others who carry the water (make excuses for DUmocrats) when the subject is to blame Bush for all:
The nanny state/welfare mentality - it's always someone else's job. What part of MANDITORY EVACUATION do these fools in the media not get? The people on the coast were warned, told to leave, and chose to stick it out thereby endangered themselves and their families. That would be considered neglect when parents put their children in danger.
The Governor and Mayor's extreme ineptitude is what the bozos in the lame-steam media should be focused on. It was their job to prepare their constituents, NOT the federal government. There was ample time to prepare, and most responsible adults took to the road for safety. Yet all that was offered on the state level was another poor evacuation plan from the dimwit dimocrats. Either using "one way out" stuck in traffic or holing up in the dome, what choices!
Before the storm, they could have used all the school & city buses to evacuate those who couldn't make it on their own to higher ground further inland. But they chose weakness in the face of real danger instead.
After the storm, all resources were put at their disposal, yet they delayed making the request as well as delayed the delivery when aid arrived. Martial Law was declared and yet they still sat on their hands allowing lawlessness to erupt. Neither can handle their jobs, yet refuse to step aside and allow someone else to handle it.
If President Bush hadn't announced the evacuation order, there would be more loss and suffering, mainly due to the clueless Democrats who failed to do anything - who, by the way, have been in charge of that state long before Bush ran for office.
When you have your hand extended, you shouldn't b!tch about getting aid when you were told to prepare for 3-5 days of food and water. When it comes to your family's safety, waiting on government to solve your problems is no better than waiting on a welfare check instead of getting off your arse and finding work.
But I guess wading around in sewage and griping about it is a much more pleasing alternative if you always pull the "D" lever when it's time to elect leadership. The failure of a democrat-led state is why the media is out in force trying to point fingers at Bush, when they all know the reality of the situation...their own failures cause many more to die than would have if they hadn't been slow to react.
Any freekin A-hole that exploits this horrible disaster for political gain should be nuetered. That goes for both sides. I have a coworker who grew in in New Orleans, they left but he hasn't heard from them since they went back to check on their house. To say the least he is very worried. What we need is people to pull their heads out and help, I cannot believe the amount of degeneracy I have witnessed.
The public's view shaped by leftwing media is now reality and cold-hard economic facts are just rhetoric??
Thats the leftist media bias in a nutshell