Paul Karlberg of New Brighton writes in that "liberals seem to have only one objective: Blame Bush!" Funny, The New York Times reports that Karl Rove's plan is just the opposite; his PR strategy is to "shift the blame away from the White House and toward officials of New Orleans and Louisiana who, as it happens, are Democrats." But consider all the delays in leadership from the very highest offices in the land: It took Bush three days after the storm hit to cancel the last two days of his five-week vacation. It took Cheney another three days after that. Condi Rice was yukking it up at a Broadway musical when people were huddling on rooftops in New Orleans, and House Speaker Dennis Hastert couldn't cast his vote on emergency funds for Katrina's victims because he was at a fundraiser. With more than 10,000 dead and an estimated $100 billion in damage, getting to the bottom of why our systems failed so completely in the week following this disaster is not some liberal invention but an absolute necessity. It's clear there's plenty of blame to go around, and, having lived with five years of Rove's spin, I suspect Americans will know where to place it.After hitting "submit," even more evidence comes to my attention that local leaders did their best, mostly, in Louisiana and it was the feds that dropped the ball.
As Larry Johnson writes (and cites), Louisiana's Gov. Blanco did everything right, declaring a State of Emergency on August 26. The next day she followed it up with a letter to the White House invoking the Stafford Act, which would turn the affair over to the federal government. She wrote, in part, "I have determined that this incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and affected local governments, and that supplementary Federal assistance is necessary to save lives, protect property, public health, and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a disaster. I am specifically requesting emergency protective measures, direct Federal Assistance, Individual and Household Program (IHP) assistance, Special Needs Program assistance, and debris removal." With the ball so squarely in the federal government's court—read her letter; she dots her i's and crosses her t's—it seems slanderous for Rove to spin things against the prepared state government of Louisiana. Now, it has been charged that mayor Ray Nagin (a lifelong Republican up until moments before his election papers: who knew?) has a bunch of buses that went unused in evacuation operations, and his plans for evacuating the poor were inadequate (and possibly nonexistent), but with the procedures followed by Blanco, attempts to blame it all on local officials can't possibly fly.