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Dan Balz's Take

Bush's Hurricane Damage


Bush surveying the damage outside Biloxi, Miss. in 2005. (Reuters)

America marks a grim event on Wednesday -- the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the devastation it wrought. New Orleans and the Gulf Coast are still grappling with the consequences. So too is President Bush.

Bush's presidency took a fateful turn during Katrina and reminders of the damage inflicted from that storm were resurrected again this week with the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. What linked the two events -- and what has left the president permanently weakened -- were perceptions of incompetence within the Bush administration.

Certainly Bush suffered from other problems as Katrina began to make its way through the Gulf of Mexico. By then, public support for the war in Iraq had begun to significantly erode. By then the president's audacious plan to restructure Social Security was on life support on Capitol Hill. His approval rating had fallen into negative territory.

But the storyline of a bungling administration was far from fully realized before Katrina hit the coast. Democrats had lost too many elections to Bush to conclude that his political team was a gang that couldn't shoot straight. The White House team enjoyed grudging respect from Democratic opponents for its discipline, strategic impulses and, yes, competence. Public approval of the president, while drifting down, was not yet in the danger zone.

Katrina suddenly changed all that. Bill McInturff, the Republican pollster, did an analysis Katrina's effect on Bush's approval ratings in the summer of 2006 and concluded that almost a year after the storm, the president was still suffering a post-Katrina hangover.

What McInturff did was to merge a series of NBC News-Wall Street Journal polls and examine various groups in the population. He concluded that, almost a year later, the president's support from each of those groups looked far closer to the storm-battered numbers immediately after Katrina than it had in the year before the hurricane.

"I think it makes a compelling case Katrina had in reshaping the Bush presidency," he said.

In the year since McInturff did his analysis, Bush's approval ratings have only gotten worse -- a month-by-month decline that is remarkable for its steady descent.

An analysis of public polls by the Democracy Corps, a Democratic organization, found that Bush's approval rating in July 2005 averaged 46.1 percent and his disapproval averaged 50.2 percent. By the following July, his approval averaged 38.1 percent and his disapproval averaged 56.2 percent. Last month, his approval averaged 29.3 percent while his disapproval averaged 65 percent.

In short, in the past two years, the margin between the president's approval and disapproval ratings fell from minus 4.1 percentage points to minus 35.8 percentage points.

Much more than Katrina explains the continuing drop in Bush's support in the past 12 months, but there is little doubt that the hurricane crystallized negative perceptions about Bush's performance that he never has been able to shake. And in the fallout from the Gonzales resignation on Monday, there were renewed complaints that echoed the criticism after Katrina, that the administration lacks basic competence in dealing with problems.

By now this is a fully developed critique. Republicans look at the Gonzales tenure and see incompetence at almost every level. They see an attorney general who, for all his personal attributes, lacked the competence to run the Justice Department. They see a White House that, faced with a revolt that began with Democrats but eventually included many prominent Republicans, waited months before taking action to bring an end to his tenure.

But they see this now not as an isolated example but as a pattern. Even among Republican loyalists, almost no one defends the administration's management of the war in Iraq. They resent that Bush took so long to get rid of Donald Rumsfeld at the Pentagon. They recall his decision to nominate Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. They look at the midterm elections of 2006 and see a White House that, publicly at least, kept asserting that Democratic gains could be kept to a minimum.

What worries Republicans most is that the damage inflicted by the administration now costs them as much as it does the president, which has caused Republican elected officials, presidential candidates and GOP strategists to wish for a speedy end to the administration.

One GOP strategist complained yesterday that, while the White House may be worried about Bush's legacy, congressional Republicans fear the consequences of administration incompetence will affect them and their party in the coming election. "The incompetence comes at their price as much as the president's," the strategist said.

Two years after the hurricane hit New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, the breakdown in government at all levels is well documented. But the president then and now has paid the biggest price for the inadequate response. Iraq will be the central event in the shaping of Bush's legacy, but in terms of political devastation, Katrina will be remain far more than a footnote in that history.

--Dan Balz

Posted at 1:00 PM ET on Aug 28, 2007  | Category:  Dan Balz's Take
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This pRes is suffering from Dain Bramage.

Talks a bunch of crap & NEVER delivers, UNLESS he or one of the crony sycophants get something out of it.

POOR MARKS for the *ush administration, they just want NOLA a gentrified city with a bunch of cookie-cutter condos.

Posted by: smtpgirl08 | August 29, 2007 10:33 PM

Some of this is incompetence but a lot of the failures of this administration are the result of extremist policies that could never gain the support of a majority of the voters, once they began to see that these policies worked against their interests and consistently benefited an increasingly narrow slice of Americans. This includes both foreign and domestic policies. The failures and resulting devastation of Katrina were so profound that all the PR and propaganda in the world couldn't prevent people from seeing what was really going on.

The only reason this realization took as long as it did was due to the administration's expertise at propaganda and PR, which came at the expense of actual governing. Its like Lincoln said, "...you can't fool all of the people all of the time," and it was only a matter of time before rhetoric and PR would not be enough to cover up the real results of policies that were simply not designed to benefit the majority, and in many cases, were detrimental to them.

Take Gonzales' case. As incompetent as Gonzales appeared to be, to be fair, almost anyone would have come off looking bad if they had to do what was expected of him. Gonzales was expected to shield the president and vice president at all costs. That meant he had no choice but to lie, as the facts consistently pointed to white house involvement in the DOJ/USA scandal. Sure, he was in some cases less than eloquent and couldn't keep his lies straight. But that was not only due to Gonzales' memory being defective, and more an issue of him trying to come up with more lies to deflect an investigation that was uncovering information that kept getting closer and closer to Bush.

Posted by: clark_maxwell | August 29, 2007 3:38 PM

Drew Douglas at TXU is THE key to bringing truth to HOW TXU could even ENTERTAIN 18 new coal plants in Texas, equating to over 22 states equiv. emissions.

NOT co2 here - nothing about 'GW' or Global Warming - amazing how GW works out to that, I think I'm the first person to play on this pun, doesn't matter, I'm a fleeting voice in the wind - the wind that I DO find faith in - NOT some personalized selfish afterlife plan, THE wind of life - I - like the natives here prior to whatever post england gov. we actually ended up with as to that which we were trying to get away from (amazing it was under context of freedom of religion), I like the natives seek a COMMON THREAD - a common denominator to life. - ALL DO.

Those that don't get the education, or SIEZE the education - won't necessarily get a view of the full potential of this species - or even LIFE. ALL comes from the sun - ALL - all known matter - yet ?

somewhere - ? through LACK OF EDUCATION - people forget - no one has ANY right to claim JACK

PERIOD.

Energy resources ? being sold ? my 'electric' bill ?

we're so deep into this quagmire - people don't even step back to ask themselves -gee, really, mineral rights ?

FU Cheney

and I really DO care more about your children than you do, and their children

I am only a temporary vessel seeking reprimand on the forfeited potential of this species through OTHER models that 'oh, I see, nationstates have military, and they can go acquire energy resources using that military to SELL OUT the rest of the people'

sorry, can't contain myself - YOU FUUCK Cheney - I won't play into dick references, life is sacred, and I actually won't kill you, I wont'. I can't.

I am only left with the challenge of how to define myself with you on the god damn plane.

When it crashes Dick, or bush? picture America as a plane- it crashes, are you working WITH the survivors ?

or ? are you skating off with the pack of 17 twinkies found in a compartment - 'it's for us, no one else'

SHARE THE GOD DAMN TWINKIES

or ? well, who knows ?

maybe it's your greed that you will live with and die with as to causal spark defining who you are

BE MORE bush
BE MORE dick

it's probably capital claim on humor that bush and dick happen to fit for who has - without question - threatened the ENTIRE GOD DAMN MOTHER F'n SPECIES - in a single shot.

that's only because you stood on the shoulders of giants.

When I see Gonzalez ? I look at this young young man - and think to myself, is THIS guy ? really? qualified to carry the FULL momentum of this nationstate ?
bush ? cheney ?

none of them


even condi on that she ALSO is a sr. exec. from an oil corporation.

I have faith that winning thinking systems win.

Heck, if not, they wouldn't be winning thinking systems.

Fragmentary nationalism can't survive with the intellectual offerings to lead up to nuclear technology.

my time is limited - I do find catharsis in this world, and no oil, no gas, no greed will shake that.

You can BET my afterlife plan includes all life that will ever be, and simple satisfaction that I'm connected to that, so that considered ? what's the necessity for greed ?

Greed comes when capitalism undermines spirituality.

DIVIDES that which ? in a CLOSED system ? e.g. the exploding stars that brought all mass to coagulate and form this planet, solar system, galaxy... ? it's a CLOSED system, WHY PLAY CAPTAIN bush, cheney

why do I even expect you to take all your insolence you've amassed in your life to turn now ? and say

I see - I see now, we're all in this together, and according to the voice of nature, if you are WISE - as I am - you will ALWAYS live in plane crash living.

That is, when the plane crashes, it brings out the best of us, or the worst of us.

Anyone who read this far, do hang on, I swear I'll justify that you and I are the same.

Paindeer e.g. bushs_worst_Nightmare

Posted by: Bushes_worst_nightmare | August 29, 2007 12:07 AM

rat-the & morpheusredux
And all those stupid people in Ohio who are being flooded? And those in tornado alley? It was the federally built levees that collapsed. The people of New Orleans' sin was to trust the government twice ....once that the levees would hold, once that help was on the way.

The flooded Mid west is learning that lesson right now.

And New Orleans isn't a parasite city.

Notice the rise in food cost? A large part of that is that the port of New Orleans was damaged... that's where the Mid west sends its crops. Notice the price of gas? Louisiana produced a lot of our domestic oil and natural gas.

We do the jobs most states won't.

Posted by: phhtrail | August 28, 2007 11:49 PM

Bush don't like ice

It's interesting this alleged president promotes big energy policy yet ?

can't ever exhibit any humility.

Well mr bush, the weather will reign over to help you understand and share in humility.

people can get lost in greed, sometimes it takes a 2/3 melted ice sheet in greenland to raise waters high enough to make you stop and say- gee, the insurance sector in the US is about to go BUNK !

people don't understand what drove Wallstreet today - if ONLY the SEC could share their trade monitoring as to WHO was ditching today, you'd see, violation of contract for non disclosure or not here, I really don't give a flying fuuck on whether SEC sues my ass for violating it...

The insurance sector is taking down the street, even on c-span this morning, you see red faced insurance companies waving those predicted water levels rising, predicted higher temps in the south encouraging new wind damage, YEAH, the insurance companies don't play around with 'myth' of GW - Global Warming heh- but - forget GW, waters are rising folks, LEND AN EAR to the insurance sector, you think wall street can handle an extraction right now to pay off flood damages ?

no.

Bush should be worried, because his honey jar dippins into oil potential from - well hell, didn't get Caspian 4 trillion cheney but - god damn, you went for afganny.

yeah, your PORK is falling OFF the bone you fuuck Cheney... Too bad you can only CRAM SO MUCH into ONE MOUTH ! eh?

Dick ? life is eternal, go study some astro-physics to learn about where the matter that grants you potential for being comes from - exploding suns, maybe try some egyptian salad dressing or something - you FUUCK - oil comes from the sun as does everything else.

The sun giveth, and the sun taketh away heh

anyone see the CCD Burnout record lately ?

http://umbra.nascom.nasa.gov/eit/bake_history.html#LATEST

I'm probably the only person on the planet draw correlation from the increased CCD Burnout times to - yeah, sun is BEATING DOWN ON YOU BUSHMAN and you better be worried.

You strapped america for your dead end petro solutions through unnecessary killing, and now ? your FREAKBOY Rove is off with thai kids, ok, no, but he's not of the living, Rove gave you entrance for temporary dictatorship status, guess what GW? with great power ? it's not responsibility where you fail you fuuck - it's the LACK of humility.

Humility defines and also binds you to life bushman, you lack it. Sociopath running big energy while America sucks down some more petro exhaust.

Tell ya what, go wrap your lips around your damn F 350 truck you fuuck. Oh ? my, that would kill you, ok , so, how far away from the exhaust pipe of petro is 'ok' ?

5 feet?
2 ? 50 ?

People gripe about politics, big energy is fully flexing it's venue through capitalism to exploit the health of the US citizens and you - are at the helm bush.

Bush? tell you what, if I discerned there was a person who was going to harm the future lung health of the children ?

I won't kill ya, I won't - I can't I just can't - sure seems like your Shock and Awe mentality ought to wake up ANY conscience.

I have to get on my knees and pray...

we don't get fooled again.

winning thinking systems win, have patience America, these greed clowns will find their petro dollars are about as good as the quality of the air their grandchildren breath.

How DARE this alleged president hold the unborn's health hostage for greed.

Again, I will NOT fall into your degenerate monolithic mindset where 'gee, just kill em' is the solution.

Sorry, life - as Goldblum says in the helicopter in Jurassic Park - 'always finds a way'

so, have whatever illusory hyped up hollow self esteem ride on the peoples common shared belief and faith into currency as long as you can hold your breath you FUUCK bush.

better hold it EXTRA long, lest you get a good wiff of petro dollars at work eh ?

Hey, how are you kids bushman ?
don't you care ?
TXU is killing north east america ?

By the way bush - TXU is about to be BUSTED on their criminal mercury pollution - forget Kenny boy bush, why don't you tell Drew Douglas down there in TXU - you remember TXU don'tcha ? god damn, they were #1 user of your private JET in campaign 2000 - ?

next time you see Drew - you tell Drew - to go F himself- for doing to America's Children what no one else could

bush ? you make Children of Chernyoble look like sands in an hour glass.

What your grandfathering policy in Texas did - where Alcoa has RUINED the lives of SO many - for what? what'd you take on that ? 3.2 billion behind the scenes ?
you FUUUCK

that MONEY is the COMMUNITY - go take a philosophy 600 level class - figure out what it means to live WITH and FOR others, NOT through some illusory capitalistic context.

Money does not define you dick - or GW

when the plane crashes, excuse the pun, the PLAYING FIELD IS LEVELED.

I'm really sorry you have such a catchup game with humanity regarding your sociopathy.

Resign, or redeem yourself, but for god sakes, don't ever forget this though bush:

"What could possibly be worth promoting a health hazard that endangers every child born ? "

you promote pro life - yet, you PISS on the kids lungs you FUUCK

GROW or die bushman- that's my challenge to you.


Posted by: Bushes_worst_nightmare | August 28, 2007 11:43 PM

The trolls are out in force today. Amazing how they can get from their Kool-Aid I.Vs to their computers!
Steve

Posted by: stevel1 | August 28, 2007 10:30 PM

The trouble of today's American style of democracy,that is the presidential system,lays in the fact that too much emphasis is on election instead of governing.Unfortunaly, the whole world is copying us, as we are the strongest and the richest.And what a mess we have created in the world. We must admit that the strength of the American culture is our technology,legal concept, and free economy,not our political system, otherwise we would not have elected a president as George W. Bush. Our political system was created over 200 year ago,it might have been the best system before. But we must modify the system to fit the modern world. The system must work for the people,of the people and by the people, not for the money,of the money and
by the money.

Posted by: johnycheng1 | August 28, 2007 9:36 PM

No question about it. Bush not only personally ordered the levees dynamited, he caused the hurricane, too. When will the Bush-haters admit the principal problems lay with the Louisiana Governor and Mayor Nagin?

Posted by: filoporquequilo | August 28, 2007 9:19 PM

I wonder whether the Mayor and other local government officials ( at least the African-American officials) have enough spine and guts to make themselves scarce from New Orleans on that day when the man who was responsible for the ethnic cleansing of New Orleans of African-Americans in the twenty-first century visits New Orleans to shed his crocodile tears for a photo-op! It will interesting to see whether he is able to link the ethnic cleansing in New Orleans to Iraq and 9/11 as he has been linking everything to Iraq and 9/11!

Posted by: rabhiti | August 28, 2007 9:14 PM

Bush and his cronies could not care less about the aftermath of Katrina or the effects it has had on his administration. He is galloping down the home stretch of his 2nd term and Katrina (as well as the countless other blunders and crimes of his cabinet) won't matter one bit in comparison to the BILLION$ they have socked away for their retirement and the comfort of all of their heirs to come.

I weep for the people of the Big Easy, like I weep for the soldiers and their loved ones, like I weep for my worthless dollar, worthless investments and rapidly depreciating real estate. Drawing comparisons to Gonzo and Katrina makes for interesting political discussion but why not compare Enron to the falling stock market - or Rove to Republican Senators soliciting the low down in airport bathrooms?

No amount of egg on his face will cause this pirate or his crew to regret anything. We will be analyzing and comparing while they are spending and feasting on our blind trust in them. We should all head to China and seek asylum. They are going to control our country soon enough so let's get a head start.

Posted by: waddyaknowjoe | August 28, 2007 8:45 PM

Bush is not the failure here. The US is overrun with the sons of the idle rich, daddy's enforcers, who dream of governing. They're out there, just hanging around, ready and willing to pull the levers. We knew what Bush was all about back in 2000 and before, it was no secret.

My friends, the failure rests with the American people for voting Bush in, TWICE; or for failing to vote at all. We handed our country to this fool, eyes wide open. This is an American failure. Now that we know we were capable of doing this in 2000 and 2004, we can be sure it will happen again. We'll find another Bush-like animal and put him in charge, some day soon.

I'm not so sure the US is going to survive the remaining months of Bush's term. I hope to be pleasantly proven wrong, but I think something is brewing. Keep your backs to the wall and don't bend over for the soap before he's out of office.

Posted by: cbmira01 | August 28, 2007 8:30 PM

"They see an attorney general who, for all his personal attributes, ..."

You may see a lot of personal attributes in Gonzales, Mr. Balz, but I wish you had spelled them out for the rest of us to see, too. Gonzales, to myself and many others, was the only one in the Bush Administration who was no intellectual, moral, or ethical threat to Bush, in the absence of the infamous "Heckuva Job" Brownie.

Posted by: H5N1 | August 28, 2007 8:17 PM

Why is everybody (well at least 67%) complaining about Bush. Yes, he is useless but I knew that way before he was elected. He is a bumn but so are all Americans that voted for him. I'm afraid the same is going to happen again. All candidates are using the lowest intelligence criteria so again some 70% of the voters can identify. Regarding New Orleans, Mississippi, etc Katrina disaster, I've worked there right after the storm. All housing that was destroyed should have been (except right along the coast). It was garbage built, cheap, useless housing. Along the Mississippi River south of New Orleans going towards the Gulf the River is higher than the surrounding agricultural region. All cheap housing obviously destroyed but old housing owned by rich farmers and land holders still stood there. No problems, strong, all in one piece. For Bush to worry about that region would be stupid. The locals should do that.

Posted by: ridagan | August 28, 2007 8:15 PM

If it is not conservative hysteria I see, it is liberal hysteria. Seriously, can anyone with any sense please start speaking up? I'm growing tired of emotional prattle.

It is better to keep the president out of this kind of situation - after all, he has neither the power nor the responsibility to be directly involved with local catastrophes. The Katrina tragedy is the fault of local officials - both in reacting too slowly, and in preventative measures. We have enough Czars in America doing enough damage as it is.

If only you would realize that it is your very divisiveness that prevents any real political progress, America might have a chance to set their country on the right path.

Posted by: morpheusredux | August 28, 2007 8:06 PM

Gimme a Break! I am so sick and tired of listening to the collection of worthless trash that came out of the Ghettos that were flooded!

Folks, they never ever should have built homes there in the first place!

If someone wants to pitch a tent in the freeway, you can warn them there is a semi truck coming, you can point out the semi truck coming, and you can watch the semi run them over! BUT, if the morons are hoping to get something off the truck if it should somehow not run them over, but instead stop or slow down enough for them to jump out of their tent, and get opportunistic, and instead GET RUN OVER!, DO NOT TRY TO BLAME ANYONE ELSE OR EXPECT TO HAVE THE STUPID TENT REPLACED!

The Scum that was rescued trashed Houston and Austin where kind people actually ONCE felt sorry for them!

Check around Houston's and Austin's Police Dept.s and see how much sympathy there is now for Niggin's Exported Poverty!

Can we ship them back now? Wait, I forgot, Illegal's have moved in, grabbed all the Jobs, and are living 3 familia's per House!

Posted by: rat-the | August 28, 2007 7:54 PM

You people have it all wrong. The lame Katrina response was all Rove, all the time.

Excerpted from Atlantic Magazine - http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/prem/200709/karl-rove - Subscription needed.

Hurricane Katrina clearly changed the public perception of Bush's presidency. Less examined is the role Rove played in the defining moment of the administration's response. That picture of Bush looking down on the city from on high in his favorite little Air Force One costume was a terrible image. But there can be no doubt that what Rove was thinking about in those moments was not whether it would be good for the country or the people of New Orleans for the president to get on the ground immediately. He was thinking about how to turn the situation into a political advantage.

In the early days of Katrina, Bush was very strangely disengaged, even when he got back to Washington and saw the full scope of the damage. Again, it's impossible to know exactly what was going through their minds, but it was an odd performance even by Bush standards. It's hard to see how anyone could calculate that it was a good idea for the president to appear not to care about one of America's oldest and most beloved cities being destroyed while its stranded residents begged for food and water. Within days it was reported in the NY Times that Karl Rove was in charge of the reconstruction effort in the gulf. Dan Froomkin in the Washington Post observed:

Rove's leadership role suggests quite strikingly that any and all White House decisions and pronouncements regarding the recovery from the storm are being made with their political consequences as the primary consideration. More specifically: With an eye toward increasing the likelihood of Republican political victories in the future, pursuing long-cherished conservative goals, and bolstering Bush's image.

The first reconstruction plans to emerge bore out that assumption. Rove was reported to be working with a Heritage Foundation task force headed by former Reagan Attorney General Ed Meese.

Paul Krugman described just what that meant in the NY Times:

"The Heritage Foundation. . .has already published a manifesto on post-Katrina policy. It calls for waivers on environmental rules, the elimination of capital gains taxes and the private ownership of public school buildings in the disaster areas. And if any of the people killed by Katrina, most of them poor, had a net worth of more than $1.5 million, Heritage wants to exempt their heirs from the estate tax."

But none of that is what Karl Rove was likely to have really been interested in. He was happy to promote free market ideology and ensure that important contributors were cut in on the action, but his holy grail was creating an enduring Republican majority. (And we know he did not have a lot of scruples when it came to doing it.)

Louisiana has been a swing state for some time, in which Democrats were dependent on the black majority in the state's largest city to win. It was not lost on Rove that all of those poor New Orleans African Americans --- and their children --- being dispersed throughout the nation could only be good for Republicans. As of now, only about 66% have returned, not enough to keep the state swinging. It looks very likely that the state will have a Republican Governor and two Republican Senators in 2008. Experts in the area estimate that the congressional delegation advantage for Republicans will be five to one by 2012. There is little doubt that the Katrina diaspora finally turned the state blood red.

Kanye West famously blurted out "Bush doesn't care about black people" at a Katrina fundraiser and shocked everyone with his blunt assessment. But we could all see why he would think that. Bush had failed to even acknowledge the hurricane for days and refused to cut short his vacation. He told his disastrously incompetent FEMA head he was doing a "heckuva job" and seemed cavalier about the fact that people were expiring on the sidewalk in New Orleans. His strongest statements seemed to be against looting. Indeed, it appeared that he was quite content to let the catastrophe unfold in slow motion on the world's TV screens.

You can't blame West for thinking he didn't care. But it was likely far more cynical than that. Rove was busy counting votes that day he and the president flew over the city and he undoubtedly knew that an opportunity presented itself if New Orleans were destroyed. And he knew something else too: that if certain people heard tales of African Americans lawlessly marauding through the streets and saw hours of footage of poor black women with children it would successfully tweak the southern racist lizard brain to solidify those gains.

Tom Schaller explains:

Louisiana is, at last, about to look a lot more like its Deep South neighbors politically. There has been something of an inverse relationship in recent presidential elections between the share of black voters and Republican performance. That is, the blacker the state, the bigger the Republican margins. Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina are all states with black populations close to or above a third, the highest percentage in the nation -- and not a Democratic senator, governor or, since 1992, Democratic electoral vote among them.

Along with Florida, Louisiana had been different, a state where multiracial coalitions propelled Clinton, Landrieu and Blanco to victories. In Louisiana, a black population of 32.5 percent made victory for Democrats possible. The post-Katrina question is whether the black population will remain large enough for Democrats to continue building such coalitions, especially if there is a backlash among white voters in the noncoastal portions of the state toward Blanco, controversial New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and state Democrats in general. Recent polls, however, are not promising, and they also show how resolutely racial party identification has become in the Deep South. The blacker the state, the more Republican the whites are.

Despite the "heckuva job" performance of the Bush administration during Katrina, the president's approval rating among whites in Louisiana -- 57 percent -- is tied for second best in the nation with Georgia and Idaho, trailing only Mississippi's 61 percent. The link between whiteness and Republicanism in the South is now so strong that it can even withstand a Category 5 hurricane. Now, without the tipping-point power of the Orleans Parish black electorate, Louisiana may well become the new Mississippi, which has two Republican senators and a Republican governor and hasn't given its electoral votes to a Democrat since Jimmy Carter.

Rove may have failed to create and enduring national majority, but he did a heckuva job in Louisiana, cementing another bloc into the solid Republican south.

Posted by: twiny.one | August 28, 2007 7:53 PM

I thought the President did exactly what he was supposed to do: prevent any benefit from going to anyone other than the Best People and their Chosen Friends. That is the policy isn't it? There are something like 750 or 800,000 people in this country who earn $1,000,000 or more a year. They are The Owners of the United States of America. The riff-raff who are worth nothing, get nothing, because... they are worth nothing. Actually, they are worth almost nothing. The fact of their misery counts for something. The permanent diaspora of the poor black victims of Katrina assures that Louisiana goes GOP in the next election. After California changes the way their electoral votes are counted, the GOP can count on the presidency again. Ya see? Actually, W is a genius, and there are a lot of millionaires out there willing to testify to that, too. Ha ha, suckers!!! PJT

Posted by: PJTramdack | August 28, 2007 7:39 PM

We spend what.....1.5 billion a week in Iraq, that's billion with a "B", and we can't rebuild the Gulf Coast? Bush should have appointed a rebuilding "Czar" to ramrod the rebuilding process and cut through red tape, etc....but we know now why he didn't. He doesn't want the Gulf Coast rebuilt.

Posted by: wcs55 | August 28, 2007 7:19 PM

We spend what.....1.5 billion a week in Iraq, that's billion with a "B", and we can't rebuild the Gulf Coast? Bush should have appointed a rebuilding "Czar" to ramrod the rebuilding process and cut through red tape, etc....but we know now why he didn't. He doesn't want the Gulf Coast rebuilt.

Posted by: wcs55 | August 28, 2007 7:19 PM

We spend what.....1.5 billion a week in Iraq, that's billion with a "B", and we can't rebuild the Gulf Coast? Bush should have appointed a rebuilding "Czar" to ramrod the rebuilding process and cut through red tape, etc....but we know now why he didn't. He doesn't want the Gulf Coast rebuilt.

Posted by: wcs55 | August 28, 2007 7:19 PM

Bush's approval rating is 29.3 percent and DROPPING. Before the dust has settled on this presidency, Bush support will be under 20 percent. This should be a lesson to America before it jumps on another conservative, Republican bandwagon led by the morally bankrupt and their culture of life. From this point forward, any move via court appointments or legislation that hints of more conservatism should be soundly defeated in favor of liberal counterparts. It's great watching the Republicans implode across all the hallowed houses of government.

Posted by: ButchDillon | August 28, 2007 7:07 PM

"Two years after the hurricane hit New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, the breakdown in government at all levels is well documented. But the president then and now has paid the biggest price for the inadequate response."

No. Americans and Iraqis are paying the biggest price for this incompetence. Bush's legacy will suffer, but he will waltz on. We will be living with the consequences of his failures (and our own for voting him into office TWICE) for then next several decades. The soldiers and their families will suffer. The Iraqis will suffer.

Bush is, and will remain oblivious.

Posted by: joyousMinn | August 28, 2007 7:03 PM

Actually, I'm more concerned about the Gulf Coast residents than GW's declining political fortunes. Thanks to this administration's incompetence they are still struggling to even get fire protection and sewer service even as they struggle to do construction with very little aid. Throwing money at them with no plan and no real leadership isn't working. Also, New Orleans is still completely vulnerable to a new storm. Are we really going to let them get hit again?

Posted by: jlk1 | August 28, 2007 7:02 PM

Without a Doubt the most Stupid, Incompetent, Arrogant President in the last hundred years ! He has nearly destroyed this Nation & will probably due to his uncontrolled Border & the Millions of uneducated Aliens he let flood this Nation set in Place the Events that will lead this Nation to a Third World Cesspool of Crime, Corruption, Poverty, Misery and cruelly the same type of society the invaders have built in their own countries!

Posted by: american1 | August 28, 2007 6:52 PM

"...an attorney general who, for all his personal attributes..." Please don't throw out lines like this without backing them up. Go ahead, name one!

Posted by: kathleen.scott | August 28, 2007 5:11 PM

First there was a culture of corruption in the republican party and now there is a culture of loyalty and nepotism over reality. I jsut wonder when this predsent is going to learn from his mistakes and realize that he is far from reality?

Waves in South Carolina

Posted by: mhossain | August 28, 2007 3:55 PM

Good analysis,but is there any reason to believe that Bush is even aware of this, much less ready to act upon it?

Posted by: mhorwitz1 | August 28, 2007 1:52 PM

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