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After we're all done blaming Bush . . .
The Oregonian ^ | September 08, 2005 | DAVID REINHARD

Posted on 09/08/2005 1:13:51 PM PDT by crazyhorse691

President Bush and his federal government are to blame. Yes, conduct your investigations. Do all the after-action analysis, but Bush and his federal government are to blame. Forget the fact that an epic act of nature ripped across the Gulf Coast and breached New Orleans' levees. Ignore the fact the Hurricane Katrina response involved officials at every level of government in three states. We know Bush and his federal government are to blame.

In their new book, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner discuss "conventional wisdom." It's a term coined by the economist John Kenneth Galbraith, who held that it's always simple, convenient, comfortable and comforting. I thought of this often while watching the last week's creation of a Katrina "conventional wisdom" in certain quarters. On the left, among Democratic partisans and in some media precincts, it's the now a given that Bush and his federal government are to blame.

Many of our compatriots, it seems, have jumped to their pre-Katrina battle stations in the storm's wake. You might think a natural disaster of this magnitude might prompt some fresh thinking or a sense of proportionality. You might think all the death and devastation would usher in a truce in our political wars, at least while others are out saving lives, clean up and burying the dead.

Not for some. They have looked at Katrina through the same lens they donned beforehand. If they were keyed up about global warming, Bush was to blame for the hurricane because he opposed the Kyoto Accords. If they opposed the Iraq War, he's to blame for an alleged lack of National Guard troops in New Orleans or for taking away funds for levee building and water projects. If they've spent their careers looking at everything through the prism of race, he's is to blame because he doesn't care about Katrina's victims because they're black. Even anti-Bush celebs were back on the scene after Katrina.

The silliness of this opportunistic hogwash is clear even to many Bush-bashers. But there's one element of new Bush-and-his-federal-government-are-to-blame conventional wisdom that's worth considering. It's the new conventional wisdom's "failure of leadership" claim. This line, of course, comes from the same folks who've spent years belaboring Bush's "failure of leadership" in all areas. A large subset believes "Bush is an idiot," and their contempt for him couldn't be clearer. If Bush hurled himself into New Orleans waters to save a drowning baby, many would probably have faulted him for not being a better swimmer or for engaging in a photo-op.

Never mind that some of the charges this time around -- he failed to send in troops to New Orleans quickly enough, his administration failed to deploy the USS Bataan to the area -- collapse on inspection. Blame-Bush cries largely ignore the fact that officials at other government levels played key roles in this disaster.

Yes, it's important to figure out what Bush's federal government might have done better, but the "Bush-administration-is-to-blame" crew ignores the actions of New Orleans and Louisiana officials with front-line responsibilities. Why did Bush have to urge New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin and Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco to order an evacuation early on? Why wasn't busing providing for people who made it to the Superdome, since they learned a year earlier in Hurricane Ivan that this was needed? Why did the city's buses remain parked? Why wasn't the Superdome stocked with supplies in the absence of busing? Why did the locals fail to implement their own emergency plans? Why didn't state officials allow the feds and first responders in sooner?

The failure to even focus on these questions suggests some critics are uninterested in a balanced exploration of the issues. They're only blame-gaming.

Bush backers should not fall into the opposite trap. They shouldn't offer up knee-jerk defense of the administration. Mistakes were made. Of course they were. There always are in undertakings of this nature and magnitude.

Happily, the public seems to understand this. Opinion polls are quite balanced on Katrina and its aftermath. This won't make the "Bush-is-to-blame" folks happy, but a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll found that only 13 percent said Bush is "most responsible for the problems in New Orleans after the hurricane" 18 percent said "federal agencies" and 25 percent "state and local officials." Thirty-percent said no one is to blame. Maybe the new conventional wisdom is not so conventional.

David Reinhard, associate editor, can be reached at 503-221-8152 or davidreinhard@news.oregonian.com.


TOPICS: Editorial; Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: blamegame; cary; katrina; kayak
Spot on.
1 posted on 09/08/2005 1:13:52 PM PDT by crazyhorse691
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To: crazyhorse691

Great article.


2 posted on 09/08/2005 1:18:17 PM PDT by diamond6 (Everyone who is for abortion has already been born. Ronald Reagan)
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To: crazyhorse691

Damn! There just might be hope for the Peoples Republic of Oregon.


3 posted on 09/08/2005 1:19:52 PM PDT by badpacifist ( Lord give me the gift of compassion for those who suffered!)
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To: crazyhorse691

I am shocked, SHOCKED that this appeared in such a liberal rag as the Oregonian.....


4 posted on 09/08/2005 1:19:59 PM PDT by michaelbfree
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To: diamond6

The real question here is what does a President do when confronted by incompetent/corrupt local politicians during a real no shixt crisis?

Remember that Gay New Jersey Governor Mcgreevey?...He hired his gay non citizen lover to be the states Homeland Security Coordinator! How much more of this type of Griftering is hidden in the bowels of the big DNC Machine?


5 posted on 09/08/2005 1:24:16 PM PDT by Wristpin ( Varitek says to A-Rod: "We don't throw at .260 hitters.....")
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To: crazyhorse691

Brilliant bump


6 posted on 09/08/2005 1:25:34 PM PDT by sandbar
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To: michaelbfree
It's obvious the editors didn't really read the article before running it. I mean, the lead sentence was "President Bush and his federal government are to blame". They didn't bother to read any farther than that. Said everything they want it to.
7 posted on 09/08/2005 1:26:39 PM PDT by Jackson57
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To: crazyhorse691
The number of Bush haters is a minority. Hate and rage will never get the Left anywhere. I couldn't live my life thinking negatively about everything. Even death sent me a message: you've lost someone dear to you but you are loved by God and things will get better. I have faith in a brighter tomorrow. Positive thinking will get people drawn to you. No one wants to be around perpetually depressed or angry people.

(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
8 posted on 09/08/2005 1:27:09 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: crazyhorse691
"Yes, it's important to figure out what Bush's federal government might have done better, but the "Bush-administration-is-to-blame" crew ignores the actions of New Orleans and Louisiana officials with front-line responsibilities. Why did Bush have to urge New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin and Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco to order an evacuation early on? Why wasn't busing providing for people who made it to the Superdome, since they learned a year earlier in Hurricane Ivan that this was needed? Why did the city's buses remain parked? Why wasn't the Superdome stocked with supplies in the absence of busing? Why did the locals fail to implement their own emergency plans? Why didn't state officials allow the feds and first responders in sooner?"

And why didn't the City of New Orleans provide adequate police protection to the people inside the Superdome? Why were thugs and rapists allowed to prey upon the law-biding and vulnerable inside the Superdome?

9 posted on 09/08/2005 1:29:52 PM PDT by Michael Bluth
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To: crazyhorse691
The failure to even focus on these questions suggests some critics are uninterested in a balanced exploration of the issues.

They are no different than the criminal looters on the streets of the Big Easy. Both are exploiting a tragedy for their own selfish reasons.

10 posted on 09/08/2005 1:30:26 PM PDT by Ditto ( No trees were killed in sending this message, but billions of electrons were inconvenienced.)
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To: crazyhorse691
I think the Democratic Party has blown its top. Dissociating from the rank and file is the Dean/Pelosi wing, whose members immediately went into a frantic orgy of Bush-bashing before the rain had even stopped. Even MSNBC and now (gasp!) CNN have shown real signs of being disturbed by all the agitprop. I have a friend who's a lifelong Dem who is appalled - "isn't it a little soon for this?" he asked me this morning.

The difficulty is that this particular wing of the party is (1) in charge at the moment, and (2) evidently feels that there is no loss of credibility resulting from this sort of behavior. In the latter they are very mistaken. This is a level of political tone-deafness that even other Dems are finding uncomfortable, and it isn't the first instance.

11 posted on 09/08/2005 1:32:13 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: Wristpin

Good point!


12 posted on 09/08/2005 1:33:32 PM PDT by diamond6 (Everyone who is for abortion has already been born. Ronald Reagan)
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To: badpacifist
I live here in Oregon. It isn't the "Peoples Republic of Oregon" by any stretch of anybody's imagination. There is a huge relief effort going on here and in the Northwest generally to aid the Southeast hurricane victims. The governor has sent most of our remaining National Guard to Louisiana, on the Louisiana governor's request. Medical volunteer personnel are being deployed through the Oregon State Medical Association and the Red Cross. I don't see any Bush-bashing going on in the papers. People's Republic, my derriere.
13 posted on 09/08/2005 1:38:12 PM PDT by Prod Convert (Nice to see not much has changed, around here....)
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To: Billthedrill

"This is a level of political tone-deafness that even other Dems are finding uncomfortable, and it isn't the first instance."

True. You would think that they would notice that only 13% blame the President. That doesn't even add up to the total we'd expect from the usual suspects of the blame bush cabal.

Pelosi and Dean will have to actually campaign and campaign hard to move that number.


14 posted on 09/08/2005 1:47:13 PM PDT by HawaiianGecko
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To: crazyhorse691
Amazing this came from The Oregonian
15 posted on 09/08/2005 1:52:19 PM PDT by MNJohnnie ( Blaco say Wed Aug 31st, FEMA says Thur Sept 1st.. Who is lying?)
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To: Prod Convert
I live in Oregon also. Portland to be exact. And Bushbashing seems to be Portlands favorite hobby. It ain't known as Little Beirut because of its idyllic Mediterranean coastline. Once you get over the mountains, it changes(except for a few towns. And south of Eugene it gets better.
16 posted on 09/08/2005 2:01:13 PM PDT by crazyhorse691 ( Heaven on Earth is where the nearest Starbucks is 60 miles away.)
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To: crazyhorse691

David Reinhard needs to talk to his fellow Oregonian op-ed writers.


17 posted on 09/08/2005 2:06:33 PM PDT by fat city ("The nation that controls magnetism controls the world.")
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To: crazyhorse691

Great article.


18 posted on 09/08/2005 2:31:15 PM PDT by jveritas (The Axis of Defeatism: Left wing liberals, Buchananites, and third party voters.)
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To: crazyhorse691

I just called him and left a message of thanks!


19 posted on 09/08/2005 2:37:02 PM PDT by bethtopaz (We will not allow another generation of heroes to be forsaken. -- NewLand, from Free Republic)
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To: michaelbfree

Was their token platitude before getting back to the Bush bashing business as usual.


20 posted on 09/08/2005 2:58:21 PM PDT by Ursus arctos horribilis ("It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees!" Emiliano Zapata 1879-1919)
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To: crazyhorse691

Excellent! BUMP!


21 posted on 09/08/2005 3:00:57 PM PDT by Chena (I'm not young enough to know everything)
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To: crazyhorse691
Fellow Freepers:

At the suggestion of writer Michelle Malkin last Friday, I have cobbled together a blogsite called Texas Clearinghouse for Katrina Aid to serve as a clearinghouse for refugee efforts in Texas.

Texas is getting more refugees than any other state -- that's fine, we'll take them all -- but we need help providing them with food, clothing, medicine, and shelter. We need help taking care of their pets, too.

If you are a refugee, you can information that will help you find relief. If you want to donate or volunteer, you can find someone who needs you. Believe me, there are a lot of organizations who need your help.

Right now the site mostly covers Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas but I'm adding more every night. My wife was down at Reunion Arena in Dallas Tuesday handing out care packages and spiritually ministering to the refugees as a representative of her employer. She says that the situation is tragic and that there's a lot of work to be done. There are so many children who don't know where their parents are or even if their parents are still alive.

There are a lot of churches and other organizations in Texas that need help in dealing with the problem and I would appreciate it if you would get the word out.

Many thanks,

Michael McCullough

Stingray blogsite

22 posted on 09/08/2005 3:48:51 PM PDT by DallasMike
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To: crazyhorse691

How sweet truth is, and how scarce in today's world.


23 posted on 09/08/2005 9:02:45 PM PDT by ladyinred (It is all my fault okay?)
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To: MNJohnnie

David Reinhard, Like Deb Saunders of the Chron, is a really good conservative columnist trapped at a liberal paper.

I always enjoy reading his stuff, even when they pair him with the execrable David Saransohn.

Ed


24 posted on 09/09/2005 12:16:06 AM PDT by Sir_Ed
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