Skip to comments.Ex-Aides Say Bush Never Recovered from Katrina
Posted on 12/29/2008 8:54:24 PM PST by marshmallow
WASHINGTON Hurricane Katrina not only pulverized the Gulf Coast in 2005, it knocked the bully pulpit out from under President George W. Bush, according to two former advisers who spoke candidly about the political impact of the government's poor handling of the natural disaster.
"Katrina to me was the tipping point," said Matthew Dowd, Bush's pollster and chief strategist for the 2004 presidential campaign. "The president broke his bond with the public. Once that bond was broken, he no longer had the capacity to talk to the American public. State of the Union addresses? It didn't matter. Legislative initiatives? It didn't matter. P.R.? It didn't matter. Travel? It didn't matter."
Dan Bartlett, former White House communications director and later counselor to the president, said: "Politically, it was the final nail in the coffin."
Their comments are a part of an oral history of the Bush White House that Vanity Fair magazine compiled for its February issue, which hits newsstands in New York and Los Angeles on Wednesday, and nationally on Jan. 6. Vanity Fair published comments by current and former government officials, foreign ministers, campaign strategists and numerous others on topics that included Iraq, the anthrax attacks, the economy and immigration.
Lawrence Wilkerson, top aide and later chief of staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, said that as a new president, Bush was like Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee whom critics said lacked knowledge about foreign affairs. When Bush first came into office, he was surrounded by experienced advisers like Vice President Dick Cheney and Powell, who Wilkerson said ended up playing damage control for the president.
"It allowed everybody to believe that this Sarah Palin-like president because, let's face it, that's what he was was going to be protected....
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
I still have a hard copy of the Sunday release NWS forecast for New Orleans. It is harrowing. Lazy morons all.
I disagree. Katrina has been one of his major blunder, IMO. Admitting something that he was not responsible for started the change of tide. Until Katrina, people saw the acussations against him as ‘leftist talks’. After Katrina, where he offered to be martyr and brought with him the whole image of conservatism, people started to buy whatever the MSM said about him (and Republicans as well as conservatives). Bush, after all, confessed that it’s his fault.
I have a great plan for Mr. Bush to become a billionaire once he leaves office. He should write his own Bush-bash book. Suggested title “George Bush: Even I Hate Myself”. The liberals would eat it up and make W an instant billionaire.
Read past the early paragraphs and this story is even more repulsive. Somehow the MSM managed to get someone, Powell’s lackey Wilkerson, to use something totally unrelated to take a ridiculously cheap shot at Gov. Palin, implying that because the MSM has deemed Bush a failure, Palin would also be the same due to certain deemed similarities. The MSM is truly scared of her.
> Comments to me
BS. Liberals never gave Bush a chance from DAY ONE. Katrina or not, they would have come up with something to ‘lose trust’ over.
I have my beefs with Bush’s performance but fair is fair. He was hit with a lot of big unexpected stuff and he was up to the task.
In turn they are scared of us. Even Bambi had to talk about the guns and ammo sales...Why would he even address it?
Ex-Aides quoted by Vanity Fair via Associated Press via Yahoo News
This one is a complete enemy of Bush. It is fitting he worked for Powell who should never have been in the Cabinet.
Dubya, as was typical for his entire two terms, failed to stand up and defend himself and was once again content to just sit there like a punching bag as he allowed the rats and their media allies to blame him for a frigging natural disaster! (/disgusted headshake).
Bush hammered all the nails into his own coffin and he will get exactly the “legacy” he deserves.
The GOP desperately needs to elect some fighters...
The allowance of any claimed refugee to vote should have been met with registration guidelines. Yea, i’m sure.
As I stated in the original post and you agreed with above, state and local authorities failed in numerous of their responsibilities. Once on scene to verify those failures, FEMA's execution of its responsibilities needed to be at a higher level in order avoid being seen as just another level of government that was not providing relief for those that were in need. I did not say that the feds "did wrong", only that their execution had "shortcomings" that allowed them to be perceived as part of the problem rather than part of the solution.
As far as "exactly" what was wrong, I would tend more towards the political part of the fed/FEMA approach and not the actual direct efforts that were made to alleviate suffering and begin recovery operations. By political, I mean making certain that every media outlet was fully briefed on the state/local responsibilities that were not executed and how the feds were trying to pick up that slack as well as execute on actual federal responsibiities.
Further on the political front, the "good job, Brownie" comment was either from a lack of knowledge or deliberate false reporting of situation status to the President. I will allow that it also may have come from Bush's Texas good-ole-boy approach to politics.
The federal Gov’t has nothing to do with the peoples welfare. Got a problem call the cops or FBI. Good Luck.
The NWS advised them to leave, they didn’t. (How many folks got the answer to Camille in 48 hours?)
While the points made here by these aides are all wrong Katrina was indeed a tipping point but for different reasons than those stated. It was because Bush refused to defend himself just like Iraq. He should have played hardball with these dems. he would have taken heat for it but facts are facts and the facts were on his side.
You know,I do think Katrina may have been the turning south point for the President. That was when he realized that nothing was as it seemed.
As I recall he had appointed Brown,who received a lot of bad press. Several liberals in my family scoffed at his appointment since he had little experience in government emergencies at the onset.
However,I remember thinking that far worse than his inexperience was an emergency response agency (FEMA) that was subordinate to Homeland Security. That was one of the truly dumbest reporting arrangements in a government which is/was rife with cumbersome,overstaffed bureaucracies.
At first Bush praised Brown but I heard an interview with Brown early on where he said that he was unable to contact Chertoff until Monday (if it wasn't Monday,it was at least two days after FEMA had been ready to respond)and that had held them back. As you may remember,there were also problems with coordination with the city and the state and evacuation orders.
Since that corroborated my expectations of a response team that was supposed to react immediately but had to wiat for approval from another agency,I was not surprised to hear him say that.
Imagine my surprise to never hear that mentioned again as the country and the party viciously turned on Brown. I just thought to myself "something smells fishy in Denmark">. And it did and it was.
I think that's when Bush realized that he was just another pawn on the board. I felt sorry for him and only wish that he would have been smart enough initially to know that he really was not capable or interested in being President,he just believed what the handlers told him. He trusted his father.Too bad.
Matthew Dowd is in actuality a Democrat. That’s part of the problem that Bush has.
To this day, i’ll never understand what Bush was supposed to have done about a Hurricane that experts had feared for years. That is no place to have a major city thats below sea level....If they ever get a cat 5 at just the right angle at the mouth of the Mississippi River, i dont care who’s president...governor..mayor, theres not gonna be nothing left. Ignorant people laughed it off and stayed, and they paid. 10,000 cars were flooded and ruined in Katrina...hmmm...wonder what those cars could have been used for???. Nope, as soon as i saw all the black folk trudging up out of the water, i knew the media were gonna hang Bush for it....
The reporting system,FEMA to Homeland Security,was a disaster waiting to happen,and it did.