Noticing The Obvious - For Now
As we prepare for another day of meaningless photo ops in the Katrina-ravaged Gulf today by George and Laura, the New York Times exposes the scam high up in its story today:
In an event with echoes of his prime-time speech in Jackson Square here last September, Mr. Bush spoke in a working-class neighborhood in Biloxi against a backdrop of neatly reconstructed homes. But just a few feet away, outside the scene captured by the camera, stood gutted houses with wires dangling from ceilings. A tattered piece of crime-scene tape hung from a tree in the field where Mr. Bush spoke. A toilet sat on its side in the grass.
An apt metaphor for how Bush has treated the Gulf Coast.
Nearby, along the ocean, ravaged antebellum homes and churches still dotted the waterfront. The beach, stretching from Gulfport to Biloxi, was deserted. Debris hung from craggy trees and motels stood shuttered. Blue tarp still patched the roofs of more dwellings than not. A fence around a home in Biloxi was spray painted in green: “You loot, I shoot.”
At the Biloxi Community Center, which Laura Bush had visited during her shooting of an “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” episode last September following the storm, workers unloaded trays of packaged foods into a dusty space with no air conditioning.
When the storm actually hit and his advisers began to realize the scope of the catastrophe, Mr. Bush was in Southern California on a campaign-style travel swing. Images of a remote president playing guitar on a military base, then later posing for a picture as he peered out the window of Air Force One as it flew over the devastation helped fuel the perception that Mr. Bush failed to respond adequately to the storm.
Even the Post noted the obvious:
Bush's visit to Mississippi, carefully scripted by the White House, left little possibility of the president encountering much anger over the federal reconstruction efforts. After meeting with Republican Gov. Haley Barbour and other leaders for lunch, Bush toured a working-class east Biloxi neighborhood that he visited a year ago, passing empty lots and FEMA trailers along the way.
But give this another day or so. Pretty soon, the national media will return to their “ignore the obvious” scripts and move on from New Orleans and Katrina as we get closer to the midterms.