You may be wondering why I am relating the disaster in the
Gulf Coast to that of Bill ClintonÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s greatest moment of indiscretion. While the
actual events of both incidents have a great difference, the reaction of both
Presidents is much the same.
Bill Clinton had his sexual encounter with Monica Lewinsky.
He was ratted out for it and ultimately had to testify before Congress. When it
became obvious that Clinton had lied under oath, it was the immediate opening
for an impeachment trial. Once it got to that point, even Democratic supporters
realized that they had to break the party lines in order to salvage their own
President Bush is now coming under fire for his lack of
action and involvement in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It is
becoming more obvious that the President and his subordinates failed to act
based upon the magnitude of the situation, which was rapidly deteriorating. This
inaction led to a greater loss of life and property and left a nation outraged.
In the days immediately following last weekÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s disaster,
Michael Brown made numerous television appearances. One interview in particular
showed me the level of incompetence Michael Brown exhibits as the head of our
nationÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s disaster team.
He told CNNÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢S Paula Zahn that he had no idea that there
were people trapped in the convention center in New Orleans. It seemed as if
though the man in charge of everything down there did not know one crucial fact
that the rest of the country was aware of. Numerous reports funneled throughout
most major media outlets prior to that interview that there were thousands
trapped at the convention center. A simple flip of the dial or opening of a
newspaper would have immediately notified Brown of this situation. I admit, he
had more things to worry about than personally watching the news or reading a
paper, but someone in his staff should have been focusing on that in order to
bring awareness to oversight.
Last Friday, when the President was visiting the region, he
reassured Michael BrownÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s performance by saying ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œyour doing a great job BrownieÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
on national television. This actually gave me a feeling of nausea. The President
could not see what the rest of the country was seeing? There is a man there
heading up this recovery effort that has admitted by his own mouth that he was
unaware of the magnitude of the situation, yet the President commends him. That
should not be shocking in an administration that is quick to promote those who
fail to perform.
Brown was not the only one who made ludicrous statements on
national television. Last Thursday, President Bush told Diane Sawyer on Good
Morning America that ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œno one anticipated the breech of the leveesÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â. No one did?
Numerous federal, state and local studies were conducted on the leveeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s in the
years leading up to the tragedy and they all drew the same conclusion ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ a
category 3 or higher hurricane would most likely topple the levee system and/or
breech it. Even the local newspaper in New Orleans ran a five part series in
2002 that discussed the very failure of the levees and pumping stations. Those
warnings all went unheard as the federal government continued to cut essential
funding to the very protect of New Orleans that ended up leading to its demise.
Now unlike the Democrats, who rightfully abandoned their
President in 1998 when it became apparent he was wrong, the Republicans are
still standing by their man.
On Sunday of this week, the Washington Post published an
article that said White House officials reported LouisianaÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Governor did not
declare an emergency or request help. Later that day they were forced to retract
that article because it turned out to be false, even though the damage was done.
One thing I find very curious about that article is who was at fault. Did an
administration official falsely make that claim or did the Washington Post quote
someone wrongly? If in fact an administration official did make a false claim,
then it shows the typical low level of partisan smear this administration is
famous for. (If you would like to view the letter sent to President Bush by
Governor Blanco then visit this
The one success the administration has exhibited throughout
this tragedy has been the public relations show. While it looks good on
television, the cost of these shows is astonishing. The costs are not so much of
a monetary value, but rather of a humanitarian value. One Louisiana Senator has
already publicly stated how work on the breeched levees was elevated during the
PresidentÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s visit then dwindled down to one lone worker immediately after. Other
evidence has also emerged that helicopter flights were grounded while the
President was there and a group of firefighters were also sent there just to
accompany the President for his photo-ops. Incidentally, those same firefighters
were from a group of over 1100 firefighters that have been sent to the region to
do nothing more than Public Relations for FEMA. Their jobs include answering
phones and handing out flyers; nothing at all about rescuing lives or tending to
the sick. This alone is a gross abuse of valuable resources.
In 2000 President Bush told the nation he would bring
accountability back to the Oval office. In 2004 President Bush said he would
heal the intense political divide that is plaguing our nation. So far he has
done neither. The incidents of last week offer him a chance to make good on
those promises. He can uphold accountability by terminating Michael Brown which
in turn would help heal the political divide. Sadly all evidence points to the
fact that he will not do either.
President Clinton lied to congress under oath about a
sexual indiscretion. That led to the ultimate vote of impeachment by the House.
President Bush and his administration has continually lied to the nation about
rescue efforts in the Gulf. Furthermore, their inadequacies have cost more lives
and further devastation to the victims. Bush is not lying under oath but that is
a gross technicality. President ClintonÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s action did not cost a single life.
President BushÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s inactions have cost countless lives.