Finally, Bush has achieved his expressed goal while running for president in 2000 of being a uniter. Everyone, except for a few right-wing nuts, agrees that the disaster relief efforts in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina were botched. Bush was even heard, the other day, accepting responsibility if the federal government made mistakes in the effort.
While it was nice to hear Bush accept responsibility for any mistakes, it was not really his decision to make as to whether he is responsible for how the federal government does its job. He is the guy at the top. His people are running things. It was his decision to appoint Joe Alumbaugh, whose main qualification appeared to be his ability to raise millions for Bush's political campaigns, to head FEMA, and then to promote Alumbaugh's college roommate, Michael Brown, whose previous experience consisted of running a horse breeders' association. He is responsible for the mistakes in New Orleans, just as he is responsible for the mess in Iraq. And the same corporations who are profiting from Iraq, companies like Halliburton, Vice President Cheney's old company, are already getting no-bid contracts in New Orleans.
Unfortunately, there is no evidence that Bush has gained any wisdom out of the ordeal. He showed up in his shirt sleeves on television last night to speak to the nation with precious few specifics as to how the people suffering from the aftermath of the hurricane are going to be helped. If aid to New York City after the 9/11 disaster is any guide, the realities will not meet the promises. Federal relief efforts became bogged down in politics, with communities in places like Wyoming getting money for projects that had nothing to do with 9/11, simply because they had influential congressmen who demanded a piece of the pie.
There was no call from Bush for any national sacrifices. There was no plan as to how the cost of reconstruction is going to be financed. Again, if the past is any indicator, Bush will leave it to our children and grandchildren to pay off the national debt he is piling up.
There will be more disasters, natural and man-made. But our country will be in no better shape to handle them until we get rid of the one in the Oval Office.