Bush Will Investigate Himself Over Katrina Negligence
"Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job."
--Bush, Friday, complimenting FEMA Director and former horse attorney Michael Brown
After enduring criticism that his government was too quick to steer blame towards state and local officials, and too inept to carry out its own responsibilities, Mr. Bush said this morning that he himself would lead an investigation of what went wrong in the government’s response to Katrina. And in response to criticisms about the absence of Dick Cheney the last week, Bush said that Cheney would go to the Gulf Coast this week to find out if more needs to be done.
Four years after telling us that he would do all he can to protect us from a terrorist act, and a year after a campaign where he and Mr. Cheney told us they would do a better job of protecting us than John Kerry, Bush says he needs to know if the federal government can respond properly if we suffer a terrorist attack or another storm. Mr. Bush, the answer, billions of wasted dollars and thousands of words of rhetoric later, is clear. You can’t protect us any more than Barney Fife could. And we can now be sure that with you leading an investigation of what your administration did wrong, we will never find out who was responsible for thousands of deaths in New Orleans, if your track record of accountability and investigations is any guide.
It is a time-tested practice of this administration to douse immediate criticism of their failings by saying “One of the things people want us to do here is play the blame game. We’ve got to solve problems. There will be ample time to figure out what went right and what went wrong.” The administration knows that if they can steer the compliant media away from staying on a story, they can then push the “investigation” off months later onto a friendly GOP-run congressional commission or White House whitewash special commission and let the blame game shift to someone else. The media and the Democrats let them get away with it all the time.
In this case, the media, as evidenced by the dismissive tone of ABC News’ The Note this morning, will push the blame onto local officials and allow itself to be bamboozled by any investigation that Bush and the GOP trot out. It will happen again this time, and it is all the more disgusting when you consider that the Times made it clear over the weekend that Rove was consciously moving the blame to Governor Blanco and local officials. Yet ABC went ahead with its defense this morning that blaming state and local officials had “much justification”, even though ABC News ignored the White House's failed Sunday attempt to do this, which resulted in a retraction by the Post when it turned out that the claims by 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue were lies. And ABC News also ignores the fact that the Bush Administration took responsibility for the response to this hurricane back on August 27.
No matter, some in the media will help out Bush again, and the dead from New Orleans may very well be buried without any accountability once again, thanks to the likes of ABC News. The only way for this to change is for there to be a change in our politics, and in the Democratic Party’s ability to force accountability, and for the spine shown by some reporters to continue. That starts with constant pressure and reminders of the negligence shown by the Bush Administration in this matter, based on framing of a message that the GOP cannot protect us from terrorism, and a constant recounting of the facts. It also can be facilitated by an effort to target the GOP members of the Louisiana congressional delegation like Bobby Jindal and Charles Boustany, who will issue statements of support for Bush and then want folks to forget their votes against the funds necessary to fix the levees.
There needs to be political victims from the death of New Orleans as well, and we should start with Jindal and Boustany, no matter how much Bush enablers like those hacks at ABC News' The Note will try to sweep this tragedy under the Beltway rug.