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September  16

How'd He Do?

R390649946 If you watched what may have been the weirdest presidential address we've seen so far (Bush against the surreal backdrop of a dark and quiet New Orleans), what's your post-show analysis? Did he score a save? And did anyone else catch ABC coverage with response from folks sitting outside the Reliant Center, and a reporter struggling to get anyone in the group to criticize Bush.

September 16, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink


Somehow, because of the distorted photo above (at least on my Dell), it looks as if Bill Maher is giving that speech. But of course he'd never be caught in front of a cathedral.

Posted by: cathar | Sep 16, 2005 11:06:03 AM

On my machine, it looks like Bush just had a face lift--skin too tight.

By the way, I didn't see the speech last night, but I'm sure it was inadequate. I learned all I need to know about it this morning from Paul Krugman.

ROC, if you're reading this, I dare you to resist hitting that "post" button...

Posted by: walleroo | Sep 16, 2005 11:20:28 AM

I watched, wanting to be inspired. But I got confused.

Is our government response plan really to use private charities and church groups for aid? Shouldn't those people and charities be a wonderful assistance in addition to whatever our federal government has ready? I’m glad the government will reimburse the charities and church groups that helped, but I’m also nervous that will become the norm not the exception. Also that smirk Bush makes when he talks, totally inappropriate.

Posted by: hrhppg | Sep 16, 2005 11:22:45 AM

I'm confused, too. Why would the federal government reimburse charities and church groups. Does that mean if I give to a charity, I'll get my money back when the Fed writes them a check? Isn't that what charities and church groups are for, raising money?

The smirk is all part of "walkin'".

Posted by: walleroo | Sep 16, 2005 11:24:57 AM

Walleroo, as you should know by now, there is nothing to be learned about most anything from Paul Krugman.

It'd be nice, however, if your "dare" worked. But not likely. And it was a good speech, a very "liberal" one in terms of economics, one sure to upset, for example, all the tightwad libertarians out there.

Posted by: cathar | Sep 16, 2005 11:32:49 AM

Walleroo - I like your take on the smirk, but it makes me long for the days of Shakespeare when rotten vegatables would have been thrown. I don't know if all charities are just for raising money - but I know the Boy Scouts aren't and he did ask the Boy Scouts (yes, by name) to pitch in and help. Apparently our Federal Responce plan will interupt Little League and band practices everywhere.

Posted by: hrhppg | Sep 16, 2005 11:34:57 AM

Besides the smirk, the thing that drives me nuts is when he first went to NO and did the photo opp thing with the two sisters. At one point his arms hang limply on their shoulders, his hands sort of dangling. Like he's hanging with his buds, perhaps "Brownie" when he was doing "a heck of a job". That image just rubs me the wrong way.

Posted by: the summer of noise | Sep 16, 2005 11:35:12 AM

I'm not sure I'd want to live in Shakespeare's day, what with the plagues and the awful doctors and the fog. Though I'll bet they had great marching bands.

Upsetting the tightward liberatarians in this instance is a good thing. But I have very little faith Bush will actually spend the money he promises. Not least because there isn't any left to spend.

Posted by: walleroo | Sep 16, 2005 11:54:55 AM

I would like to know why the Mayor of New Orleans did not follow the evacuation procedures he helped craft in case of such an emergency; that being using the school district buses to remove residents before the storm hits. And let's not forget, it was his decision to instruct residents to go to the Convention Center and Superdome. Why did not local and state officials gets things set so there would be food, water, supplies, ahead of time. The Governor of Louisiana has looked like a proverbial deer-caught-in-headlights througout this ordeal.

Posted by: ROn | Sep 16, 2005 12:02:06 PM

Walleroo, we're talking about the Federal government. There is, naturally, ALWAYS more money to spend. Even if they have to beat pennies out of your heels with canes while you're hanging upside down, they'll find it somewhere.

They didn't have marching bands in the Elizabethan-Jacobean times. But they did have efficient tax collectors.

Posted by: cathar | Sep 16, 2005 12:05:09 PM

LBK used to have a similar smirk or smugness about him when he made speeches where he just knew his nose was gonna grow.

("Ah come to you tonight not as your President, not as your Commander in Chief, but as a simple, barefoot boy from Texas, who is your King.")

Posted by: Conan the Grammarian | Sep 16, 2005 12:20:48 PM

That shoulda been "LBJ."

Posted by: Conan the Grammarian | Sep 16, 2005 12:22:39 PM

Didn't those sexy kilt-wearing Scots play bagpipes while marching to battle? (I get a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach just imagining what that would've sounded like from just over the hill.)

In your tone, Ron, I sense that you're trying to shift the blame for this fiasco from Bush to the gov and the mayor. This is shameful. The Prez f--ed up big time, period.

However, I would also like to know the full story. Brownie, in his exit press conference the other day, made the gov (as well as himself) out to be a total nincompoop, though she denies his account. The mechanics of this colossal failure should make for an interesting story.

Posted by: walleroo | Sep 16, 2005 12:34:24 PM

Bush is, without a doubt, the worst president in my half-century lifetime, but last night he did deliver some hope to the Gulf residents whose lives have been torn apart by Katrina and an ill-equipped government. Now it remains to be seen if Bush can deliver on those promises and ignore his political base simultaneously. (I do have to say that the spectacle of the ABC reporter desperately trying to extract a negative statement from the displaced onlookers in Houston should have shamed his network...)

Posted by: Lady D | Sep 16, 2005 12:39:35 PM

He is truly awful, Lady D. What really confuses me, though, is how somebody as intelligent and literate as, say, cathar can support a president who is so utterly anti-intellectual and bankrupt of curiousity (doesn't read the newspapers etc). Can someone explain this to me?

Posted by: walleroo | Sep 16, 2005 12:44:44 PM

People make flaws and no evacuation plan is ever going to be perfect. It's up to the voters of New Orleans and Louisianna to decide whether or not the mistakes their officials made were reasonable or not. They're the ones who pay their salaries and vote them into office. Much of what's being put out there by Fox News about buses, etc are lies - if you read the local NOLA newspapers, etc.

WE pay Bush's salary and make the decision regarding his performance. Public opinion shows we are rather disappointed. It's our duty to judge his performance and hold him accountable. I find the mistakes of the federal government to be beyond just the acceptable amount of mistakes that are bound to happen in any emergency situation. Rather, it is utter incompetence.

The Mayor, Governors (notice how they're only blaming the democrat governor, not the republican ones who also have death and destruction!), the police officers, the rescue workers, etc - may have made mistakes, BUT THEY SHOWED UP! George Bush continued his vacation, his fundraising, etc. He was eating cake and playing guitar. He hired an incompetent man to handle things while he was away. He didn't find out about the situation until days later, when he *watched it on TV*.

To me, that is unacceptable for my PRESIDENT to know less about a national disaster than I do sitting across the country watching television!

Posted by: butchcjg | Sep 16, 2005 1:19:32 PM

I can't explain it. I can say I've read several posts this week that support bigotry over human rights, religious judgment over Constitutional law, and arguments that ignore scientific evidence for religious lore. Intelligent and literate are good words, but I’m not sure I’d use them to describe someone looking for a shrub on fire to guide them.

Posted by: hrhppg | Sep 16, 2005 1:24:54 PM

Well, I for one am curious just how the whole fiasco blew up, regardless of whose salary I'm paying. Other than that, I largely agree with you, Butch, except that Bush didn't watch it on TV. His staff had to make up a DVD of news excepts for his consumption, much as a mother might puree carrots for her 18 month old.

Posted by: walleroo | Sep 16, 2005 1:26:06 PM

interesting tidbit from today's post on Brian Williams' blog:

I am duty-bound to report the talk of the New Orleans warehouse district last night: there was rejoicing (well, there would have been without the curfew, but the few people I saw on the streets were excited) when the power came back on for blocks on end. Kevin Tibbles was positively jubilant on the live update edition of Nightly News that we fed to the West Coast. The mini-mart, long ago cleaned out by looters, was nonetheless bathed in light, including the empty, roped-off gas pumps. The motorcade route through the district was partially lit no more than 30 minutes before POTUS drove through. And yet last night, no more than an hour after the President departed, the lights went out. The entire area was plunged into total darkness again, to audible groans. It's enough to make some of the folks here who witnessed it... jump to certain conclusions.

Posted by: efs | Sep 16, 2005 1:28:16 PM

I tried to watch it last night, I really did! I made it trough, though not easily. I wanted to find out the President’s (and I use that term very lightly) view.

What a disaster of a speech. A 22-minute sermon from the mount. To make visual matters worse, he was wearing a blue shirt that blended into the blue lighting in the background, and, his hair color and the color of the statue behind him were virtually the same. As a result, the President looked like a cartoon characters talking head moving on the TV screen. I’m sorry to say I found this absolutely apropos for this administration. I couldn’t ask for a better visual analogy.

Second of all, he continued to re-enforce HIS beliefs onto the citizens of this country. Only church groups, the Boy Scouts, and the Red Cross should handle our problems. I guess the National Guard is a bit over extended. Once again, any person, group or-may I say it?- corporation who doesn’t follow his party line is…SOL.

At one point when he was talking about the shortage of manpower for the National Guard and Armed Forces, I was sure he was going to be leading off on a path toward a mandatory draft, but thankfully, did not go there.

Another time he said something along the lines of, the homeless and displaced, would be placed ‘near construction areas’. What does that mean? The property they own, lived on or rented that is currently uninhabitable, will never be theirs again? Or are we setting up refugee camps, out in the middle of nowhere for these people?

I for one, found his sermon, uhhhh, speech to be completely without any original, moral, ethical or responsible answer for this disaster.

Posted by: MsSumida | Sep 16, 2005 1:44:27 PM

Walleroo, how can I support him? Well, first I take umbrage at the theorem that nobody "intelligent" would/could support someone like Bush. (I in turn wonder how anyone could think Howard Dean is anything but a a rabble-rousing, demented puke who will attempt to make political hay out of even natural disasters, but hey.....) I in fact once tossed baked ziti (in "gravy," of course) at my former brother-in-law for a similar statement, that nobody "intelligent" could have voted for Reagan.

Second, does not the president have degrees from Yale (along with a higher undergad average than Kerry did) and Harvard? I wouldn't dare impugn such august institutions. Just as I wouldn't likewise slander all the devoted posters here who probably have degrees from accredited institutions, but still seem to know so little about so many things.

As for religious "lore" taking precedence over scientific "evidence," why not sometimes? Who are we to dismiss it as mere "lore" until we in fact face our Maker anyway? Aren't "rebel"clergy like Dr. Kansfield equally possessed of a moral surety that their own beliefs are much more solidly based than "lore" usually is? Does one simply follow clergy whose politics totally match one's own? If so, even someone as truly revolutionary as Luther would hardly ever find a warm welcome in Baristaville. (Have any of you ever read him on taxes? On homosexuality?)

As for those for whom science is "godlike, of course there is no room for dispute there. But for those who recall that evolution remains a theory (and a theory with many unsettling sideroads, at that), the matter remains unsettled. Open to continuing discussion.

As for religious judgement over "Constitutional law" (funny, I don't recall the likes of Jefferson and Adams giving same-sex marriage much thought at the Constitutional Convention, whereas they did to the issue of Divine providence in this nation), have all of you forgotten Sir (I'd say "Saint") Thomas More? An absolutely brilliant and courageous man, who felt strongly, like many brave throughout history, that his conscience had to be his guide, not the groin of his sovereign, and in the end, unlike so many of us, was willing to pay the price of such conviction. As was said of Sir Walter Ralegh but will do fine for More in terms of modern relevance, we have not such another head to cut off.

Posted by: cathar | Sep 16, 2005 1:57:07 PM

It's like you're standing in the middle of a room, cathar, as the rest of us run at you with swords held high, only to be tossed one after the other against the wall. While you're peeling a banana.

Of course I know that there are plenty of intelligent people who vote for Bush. Out west you'll see "Snowmobilers for Bush" stickers because he favors allowing the machines into Yellowstone. If I were smart enough to be CEO of Exxon Mobil, I would support Bush too. What I don't understand, though, is how you-- being a person who values intellect and possesses a might fine one of your own, who has no obvious material interest in a Bush presidency, and who therefore must support Bush purely for his abilities or ideas--can tolerate a man in the WH who is (and I must insist on this point) anti-intellectual, if not plainly stupid.

Posted by: walleroo | Sep 16, 2005 2:07:59 PM

We need to help each other--the Government obviously can't help us all.
I wish Bush had brought up a "draft" -- a type of draft-- where HS grads can sign up for a year of peace corp/national guard type of service for domestic travel, personal growth and scholarship money. No one goes in harms way. They could rebuild homes, plant trees, deliver food and water to areas throughout the US. There are always volunteers needed everywhere.
I believe in this, since college is sometimes wasted on kids who need to mature before living on their own and persuing higher education.

Could this ever be a possibility? It seems like a win-win situation.

Posted by: grme | Sep 16, 2005 2:19:27 PM

Again, "stupid?" With those degrees? Come, come, my good man. I support Bush because I think he, and all those neo-cons with him, are correct on some very important issues: world security, the war against Islamofascist terrorism, the right to surivival of the state of Israel, etc. etc. And these are probably sort of the core reasons I would have voted for both FDR and Truman. And for Churchill, Thatcher and Blair.

Whatever my own economic state (personally I'd define it as "parlous" at best), there are supposedly times in one's life when one opts for country over comfort. I think even JFK tried to make that point in a speech once. And perhaps there'll be some trickle-down effect to Republican economics that might be of some avail to me....

Such is the lot of a cultural conservative.

One final reason: I've had allies and friends in my life, guys (and some women) I went to school with, served with, rode with, etc. And whatever their priors or faults, they've all come off to and with me as better behaved, more truly tolerant and far more "stand-up" than a lot of the usual antagonists here. If I had some of these folks as "friends," I feel, I wouldn't even need any more enemies, their capacity for nastiness and backbiting when someone doesn't agree wholeheartedly with them would do just fine.

Posted by: cathar | Sep 16, 2005 2:30:23 PM

To Walleroo, you know as well as I do that when a disaster first strikes the reponsibiity falls to local and state officials first, then onward to the Federal Gov't. Look, the bottom line is this; if you or anyone else out there believes that "government" is going to protect us in times of crises, you are sadly mistaken. It is up to all of us to have our own safety plans in place, and utilize them when possible. And again, I state strongly, the Mayor of New Orleans and Governor of LA "F-----d" up big time. And another thing, do you even wonder why a city was built six feet below sea level in the first place????

Posted by: Ron | Sep 16, 2005 2:33:57 PM

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