Friday, September 16, 2005

Missed It

I didn’t hear Bush’s speech last night; at the time I was driving home from a car club meeting and I had the top down and the Beach Boys playing. What would you rather listen to?

I did catch up on some of the post-speech punditry and I gather that the president came up with a lot of grand plans and ideas about how to rebuild the Gulf Coast and how everything was going to be just wonderful. But I didn’t hear anyone mention how we’re going to pay for it. Rescind the tax cuts, perhaps? Nope, didn’t hear that one. (The Republican rejoinder to that is that the tax cuts free up money to help people invest and grow the economy. Okay, then, explain the deficit.)

I heard that Karl Rove is going to coordinate the reconstruction effort. Bush got rid of one incompetent political hack — Michael Brown — and replaced him with a competent (in the same way Tony Soprano is a competent business manager) political hack. Can you imagine what the outcry from the righties would be if this was a Democratic president and he named James Carville to head up the reconstruction effort? Actually, Carville would be a better choice than Rove; he’s got military experience and he’s from Louisiana.

After 9/11 I really wanted Mr. Bush to be successful in getting the country behind him and making our country more secure. I wanted him desperately to prove me wrong on all my preconceived notions that he was just a slacker who lucked into the job thanks to connections. I thought then that if anything was going to get through to him what this job was really about, that would be it. And for a while he had me. But once the sabre-rattling on Iraq started, the fish began to stink, and once the revelations came out that we’d been sold a bill of goods, I was back where I started; the leopard hadn’t changed his spots. Now with the hurricane and the revelations that indeed we’re no better off — and in some cases worse — in dealing with a catastrophic event, it’s going to be even more a harder sell; not just to me but to a lot of people who aren’t going to fall for the open-necked shirt compassion spin again.

There is more to be rebuilt than just New Orleans.