Two Years Of Neglect
It has been two years since Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast. Since that time, George W. Bush has easily spent over $200 billion in Iraq. And according to the Washington Post this morning, based on weak congressional opposition he is ready to spend another $200 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan just in the next twelve months. His latest request of another $50 billion is tied directly to the cost of the surge, to the tune of now $3 billion a week.
During that time, Bush has spent or made available $96 billion in federal funds to the region for Katrina, virtually none of it for infrastructure rebuilding or home rebuilding. His officials say that it is up to the states and local governments to deal with those problems.
Yet FEMA trailer parks still plague New Orleans and the surrounding region, while multi-million homes are being constructed in the Mississippi areas Katrina cleared of the less fortunate. And within New Orleans, the white neighborhoods are recovering at a much faster pace with insurance and other private sources of money, while the black neighborhoods languish in Third World status, waiting for the Bush bureaucracy to match its rhetoric with actions.
While the state and federal governments have yet to rebuild neighborhoods in both Louisiana and Mississippi, a 30-story office building next to me in downtown Sacramento has been built from scratch in the two years since Katrina hit. While the less fortunate wait two years for housing to be constructed in Mississippi, Governor Haley Barbour has cleared the way for those multibillion homes to be constructed and casinos to be reopened and expanded, all with government help. And while he seemingly has no time for the less fortunate, his lobbying firm becomes the mouthpiece for Iraqi strongman Ayad Allawi in his efforts to topple the al-Maliki government and become our CIA stooge in Iraq.
George and Laura show up in New Orleans today to tout the city’s recovery, surrounding themselves with black schoolchildren in a carefully controlled event. He will fly out of the city and abandon it once again, like he did two years ago. After all, he has a new war to start, another trillion dollars to spend thousands of miles away, this time in Iran.
And the Democrats sleep. Far be it for me to be a Hillary strategist, but why is it so hard to fly into New Orleans today to do your own photo op in the midst of the Ninth Ward rubble, then fly to the Mississippi coast to show reporters the million-dollar mansions that are going up and the FEMA trailers, and then fly to South Florida to remind the media how quickly that area rebuilt from successive hurricanes during her husband's administration under a real FEMA headed by James Lee Witt and committed governors, even a Bush?
But that would require a real killer political instinct.