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Parsing the Polls: Hurricane Katrina

"It's like the Wizard of Oz. It showed the man behind the screen."

That was New York Sen. Chuck Schumer's (D) answer when asked, Tuesday, about the political repercussions of Hurricane Katrina on the Bush Administration. Schumer's comments came on the one-year anniversary of the storm's devastation of the Gulf Coast and amid wall-to-wall television coverage of the ongoing recovery efforts.

Is Schumer right? Did President Bush's handling of Katrina unmask the administration and cement an aura of incompetence that it has been unable to shake since? Or was it a temporary distraction amid the war in Iraq, the global war on terrorism, and rising gas prices?

Let's parse the polls.

What is immediately clear after even the most cursory glance at the polling done on Hurricane Katrina is that most Americans believe that Bush botched it.

Consider the poll conducted Aug. 24-25 by Princeton Survey Research for Newsweek. Asked whether Bush had followed through on his promise to rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, 32 percent of the 1,002 adults surveyed said he had, 51 percent said he had not and 17 percent were unsure. Not surprisingly, Republicans were most supportive of Bush's handling of the disaster (61 percent said he had followed through on his promise while 16 percent said he had not), while Democrats were the most negative (16/72). Independents clearly thought Bush had not kept his promise (26/60).

Those results were confirmed in a number of other surveys taken earlier this month. In a CBS News/New York Times poll, 41 percent of voters approved of "the way George W. Bush is responding to the needs of people affected by Hurricane Katrina," while 51 percent disapproved. A CNN poll conducted by the Opinion Research Corporation showed even more negative numbers: Just 34 percent of the sample approved of "the way George W. Bush has handled the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina," while 64 percent disapproved.

There is little doubt that the latest numbers continue a trend that began in the spring of 2005 and accelerated in the immediate aftermath of Katrina, when Bush's disapproval numbers spiked to historic highs. For the most part, he has not recovered.

Here's a look at Bush's job approval ratings shortly after Hurricane Katrina and in the present day.


OrganizationImmediate Post-KatrinaPresent
Pew Sep. 8-11, '05
Approve
40%
Disapprove
59%
Aug. 8-13, '06
Approve
37%
Disapprove
54%
ABC/Wash Post Sep. 8-11, '05
Approve
42%
Disapprove
57%
Aug. 3-6, '06
Approve
40%
Disapprove
58%
Fox/Opinion Dynamics Sep. 27-28, '05
Approve
45%
Disapprove
47%
Aug. 8-9, '06
Approve
36%
Disapprove
56%
Newsweek Sep. 29-30, '05
Approve
40%
Disapprove
53%
Aug. 24-25, '06
Approve
36%
Disapprove
56%


So while President Bush did himself no favors with his response to Katrina, it is not the sole reason for the decline in his job approval numbers. His performance ratings were on the decline before Katrina, fell in its immediate aftermath, and have either continued to plummet or stayed at relatively low in the year since.

What specific impact -- if any -- did Katrina have on the electorate? The most intriguing theory we have heard came from ABC News pollster Gary Langer in a memo he wrote almost one year ago.

"As striking as Bush's rating -- his disapproval is higher than the worst for either of his last two two-term predecessors -- is the intensity of sentiment against him: Forty-five percent of Americans "strongly" criticize Bush's performance in office, an unusually deep well of disapproval," wrote Langer. "Far fewer, 27 percent, strongly approve."

In the three ABC/Washington Post polls conducted prior to Katrina, an average of 27 percent strongly approved of the job he was doing, while a shade under 40 percent (39.6 for the number crunchers out there) strongly disapproved. In the three ABC/Post surveys conducted after Katrina, those strongly approving of Bush averaged 24 percent while those strongly disapproving was -- on average -- 44 percent.

That trend has continued. The three most recent ABC/Post surveys showed an average of 20 percent strongly approving of Bush's job performance and 47 percent strongly disapproving.

While it's important to remember that the impact of a single event cannot be analyzed in a vacuum (the hardening of opposition to Bush surely also has something to do with the ongoing conflict in Iraq, among other factors), but it is at least worth pondering the possibility that Katrina played a central role in both consolidating and energizing those who already disapproved of the Bush. While they may have passively disapproved of the chief executive prior to Katrina, they became ardent opponents following the disaster and the administration's handling of it. And, remember that in midterm elections only the most passionate (or most angry) of voters tend to turn out -- a factor that could lead to major Democratic gains this November.

By Chris Cillizza  |  August 30, 2006; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Parsing the Polls  
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Comments

Ok, so you will never understand renewable energy or the fact that energy is a Top 5 issue of importance in America. That is fine with me. I'll take your advice and not debate a fool. But for the edification of those NOT behind partisan walls:

Analysis by LECG (www.lecg.com) and posted on Ethanol.org:

May 23, 2005
RE: Economic impact of an 8 billion-gallon RFS by 2012

A Renewable Fuels Standard that would provide for a market of 8 billion gallons by 2012 would require a doubling of the ethanol industry and would provide a significant impact to the American economy.

Specifically:

 The ethanol industry will spend an estimated $6 billion (2005 dollars) to build 4.3 billion gallons of new ethanol capacity between 2005 and 2012.

...

 The combination of this direct spending and the indirect impacts of those dollars circulating throughout the economy will:

 Add nearly $200 billion (2005 dollars) to GDP between 2005 and 2012.

 Generate an additional $43 billion (2005 dollars) of household income for all
Americans between 2005 and 2012, and

 Create as many as 234,840 new jobs in all sectors of the economy by 2012.

http://www.ethanol.org/documents/EconomicImpactof8bgRFS_000.pdf

I guess $200B added to the GDP, $43B extra household income and the creation of 234,000 jobs is really terrible huh Zouk. You can rant and rave, but you are just a hack.

Posted by: F&B | August 31, 2006 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Never argue with a fool. they draw you down to thier level and then beat you with experience.

That was not an editorial it was an analysis by Motley fool, a well respected market analysis company. i am not surprised you would discount their views since you have such disdain for the free market. I suppose they know more about this than you unless you can demonstrate otherwise.

I have heard of Iran. Is that the response you were demanding? how pertinant.

Let us summarize for those who are now bored with your non-suquitars.

You proclaimed that your energy idea was fabulous because Kerry used it in his campaign. you stated that it mandated 20% minimums on certain energy usage. you stated it would create jobs, cost less.

I replied I didn't need any law to dictate my choices. I provided a citation that shows it is very expensive. I suggested a humorous way to create as many jobs as needed simply by mandating them from the government. but this was not meant to be taken seriously. any jobs created in this industry would be at the expense of jobs in other similar industries.

you then declared victory, based on what? that surely looks like the al gore method of victory. Or maybe the John Kerry method - I won before I lost. No credibility on this. you provided no facts and never dealt with the huge government intrusion into the private sector.

why don't you answer some of the questions I asked. How about just 2:
Where do you draw the line on government interference in our lives? clearly not on economics or energy.

Why do you want to lose the war in the middle east?

Posted by: kingofzouk | August 31, 2006 5:07 PM | Report abuse

You link to one editorial and call it fact? Nice argument. Go back and read my posts and answer the dozen questions/statements you ignored. Thanks.

Posted by: F&B | August 31, 2006 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Drat those pesky facts interfering with my utopia again.

Posted by: kingofzouk | August 31, 2006 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Another cause is ethanol, an expensive corn-based additive now found in gas sold in certain states and municipalities. It's there to reduce emissions, and as its own price has shot up because of steep demand, it has in turn contributed to a rise in the price of gas. The additive it replaced cost about $2 per gallon last year, versus a recent price of nearly $5 for a gallon of ethanol. If a neighboring town isn't required to offer ethanol-enhanced gas, you'll likely find its gas prices lower.

From: http://news.yahoo.com/s/fool/20060829/bs_fool_fool/115686270204

Yup, I guess you and Al Gore win again. Ha ha ha

Posted by: kingofzouk | August 31, 2006 4:24 PM | Report abuse

>>>ninkompoop, "we Americans", "you commies", "killing babies", "degenerate mind"

Jeez are YOU a sore loser. Nice debating you. Check please.

Posted by: F&B | August 31, 2006 4:21 PM | Report abuse

If I wanted to be told what to do by some ninkompoop like you I would have voted in the Dems. I don't and we Americans don't. We prefer to make decisions on our own. we don't need to be told what kind of car to drive, what movies to see, what type of electricity to consume, which veggies to eat, how much to smoke, etc. you commies can go back to Russia and your failed attempt at this system. I don't need a nanny anymore and your Big government has no place making consumer choices for me. exactly what kind of choices are off limints to the governement in your book. besides killing babies? shall big G do everything else. you seem to be satisfied with Big G health care, schools, retirement, insurance and now energy. Is there anything left for that horribly inefficient private enterprise. and you really believe you won that argument. As in 1. lost the vote in congress and 2. lost the election while using this. Only in your own degenerate mind can you believe you won.

Posted by: kingofzouk | August 31, 2006 4:01 PM | Report abuse

>>>mandating sources of energy is what gets all those socialist countries into trouble

No, having a govt-owned petroleum industry is what gets socialist countries in trouble.

>>>you may think this is important but I think killing our enemies is important

Ever heard of OPEC? Ever heard of Saudi Arabia? Ever heard of Iran?

>>>Ethenol was widely blamed for some of the recent gas price instability

Link to back that up? And it's spelled "Ethanol" btw.

>>>any idea about why Iowa benefitted so much from this. can you spell special interest?

Zouk, which is the bigger "special interest": Ethanol Producers in Iowa vs. Oil and Gas Multinational Corporations? You are blind, ignorant, or unscrupulously selectively permissable of fraud and corruption.

>>>why do I need the government to mandate my energy usage

Ask the vast majority of Americans who think the price of energy is one of the biggest problems we face in this country. Ask the Bush Administration why they mandated TENS OF BILLIONS in tax breaks to Oil and Gas despite the largest profits of any sector in human history.

Face it Zouk, you lose on this issue.

Posted by: F&B | August 31, 2006 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I think we should mandate that your family consume at least 20% spinach every week. think of all the spinach pickers we will have to hire. and spinach is good for you.

Posted by: kingofzouk | August 31, 2006 3:48 PM | Report abuse

communist - mandating sources of energy is what gets all those socialist countries into trouble. there is no logic to the pricing under these ideas and you are forcing your values on the rest of us. you may think this is important but I think killing our enemies is important. Ethenol was widely blamed for some of the recent gas price instability because the logistics were not worked out and local markets were not considered in the national debate. but it was forced on the market nevertheless. any idea about why Iowa benefitted so much from this. can you spell special interest? why do I need the government to mandate my energy usage. If it is such a great idea and is so cheap and so efficient, that why do you doubt that it will naturally come to the market. you are hiding something. It is your big government agenda.

Posted by: kingofzouk | August 31, 2006 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Incompetence, Lies, and Fear - it's all the Reds have in the Red House.

Just ask yourself - who loves no-bid anti-capitalist contracts for Party elites? Who loves corruption?

Facts trump Lies.

Bush is so over.

Posted by: Will in Seattle | August 31, 2006 3:19 PM | Report abuse

>>>I guess they won't be putting those wind farms off Teddy's house will they.

What does that have to do with a National RPS? Please answer.

>>>try to come up with one whereby the government doesn't grow

Show me where the government grows b/c of a RPS.

>>>and the costs don't go up?

Biodiesel and ethanol are BOTH CHEAPER now than petroleum gas. Why dont YOU show me an idea where the cost doesnt go up? RPS reduces cost to consumers bigtime and oh yeah, creates a viable INDUSTRY for American jobs (most in the heartland that has lost its manufacturing base).

So basically what you have told me in your last two posts:

1) You know NOTHING about one of the most important issues confronting America.

2) You repeat the same old stale talking points but have no new ideas

Posted by: F&B | August 31, 2006 3:06 PM | Report abuse

"Is it some scheme whereby a giant government program hijacks the normal market forces and ends up pouring all sorts of dollars into some special interest group's pockets?"

I guess they won't be putting those wind farms off Teddy's house will they.

See I knew enough about it without even knowing anything about it just from the source. Is that your sole idea? try to come up with one whereby the government doesn't grow and the costs don't go up? take your time.

I didn't attack Kerry's patriotism. his dumb ideas were sufficient reason to eliminate him as a viable leader. I must not have been the only one who came to that conclusion one way or another. you, however, seem to have been bamboozled.

Posted by: kingofzouk | August 31, 2006 2:55 PM | Report abuse

"what plans/alternatives/strategies about ANYTHING have they offered."

this was your question which I answered. Just because you are blinded with rage doesn't discount the response. you clearly disagree with all of those actions but your logic in rebutting them is quite flawed. your opinion on many of these issues is naive and introspective.

for example, you seem to like NCLB but fault it for not costing enough. But I am sure you would decry run-away spending as well. See 1. but you must pick one of the above, not all of the above.
In 4 you presume that the Iraq mission caused those attacks yet many places were attacked long before we were in Iraq. this is contrary to fact and defies cause/effect logic.
6 judges serve everyone. Please provide evidence to the contrary. this is just more spite and spin.
the middle class will lose their big homes - this is a prediction that stems from fantasy. Wealth for all americans and standard of living is at an all time high. all that spending was approved by congress who you helped elect. and Dems would have spent more.

most of your screed is rather silly and I obliged you with an answer out of respect but unless you show some respect for the arguments and stop throwing around ridiculous blabber, I will add you into the group I call the moonbats and ignore you too. you seem to suffer from a closed mind and selectivity bias in your information gathering.

Posted by: kingofzouk | August 31, 2006 2:55 PM | Report abuse

>>>I don't know what that is.

Of course you dont.

The renewables portfolio standard (RPS) is a policy that obligates each retail seller of electricity to include in its resource portfolio (the resources procured by the retail seller to supply its retail customers) a certain amount of electricity from renewable energy resources, such as wind and solar energy. The retailer can satisfy this obligation by either (a) owning a renewable energy facility and producing its own power, or (b) purchasing renewable electricity from someone else's facility.

http://www.eere.energy.gov/de/renewables_portfolio_standards.html

Basically, a RPS is legislation that makes sure that a certain percentage of energy comes from Renewables. Dem have been asking 20% of energy from renewables by the year 2020 and have been continually shouted down by the GOP Congress and Bush Admin. A National RPS was a key component of John Kerry's 2004 campaign. But you were probably too busy swiftboating him and attacking his patriotism to notice that.

Posted by: F&B | August 31, 2006 2:44 PM | Report abuse

1. Tax cuts helped the rich; it sure didn't help me. When the bill for their debt comes due, the middle class will lose the big homes they bought during the housing boom but the rich will keep on getting richer. We'll be happy to see only a recession.

2. Defense against random attacks? Too bad they weren't paying attention before the attack happened. And, they aren't doing too well in protecting our troops from "random attacks" are they? When you create a haven for terrorists and make it easy for them to kill our troops why should they bother trying to get into the US?

3. Tried to privitize SS which is more like deform than reform and which no doubt would have been more no-bid contracts to their war profiteering buddies. Considering how well Enron, Halliburton, Custer Battles and other Bush cronies have "successfully" served Americans. (Bush couldn't go to the funeral of one service person killed in his war of choice but he went to Ken Lay's (a convicted felon) funeral?)

4. Dropped the ball against those who murdered innocents on 9/11 by directing needed resources to a personal vendetta. I'm sure those killed in London, Spain, Indonesia, Jordan, and everywhere else they've hit since 9/11 would disagree that this has been a good thing for them.

5. Jury is still out on prescription drug deform. Real reform would have been making it more affordable for seniors to get the meds they need and holding drug companies "to account" but since they are all in the pockets of the pharm industry, why would they do that?

6. NCLB? How can you say a program that hasn't been funded even works let alone be a good thing?

7. SOLID judges? You mean solidly in their pockets. It remains to be seen whether they will do what's right for America but considering who they serve, I'm not holding my breath.

Is that all you got? Could you please stop blaming Clinton for every failure of the Bushies? Iraq is all Bush. The failure to eliminate the Taliban and allowing them to regroup is all Bush. The historical debt is all Bush. The fact that the world reviles America is all Bush. The trampling of the Constitution is all Bush. The illegal spying on American citizens is all Bush. Failing to catch Bin Laden after 9/11 is all Bush. Exploiting the deaths of those killed on 9/11 for political purposes is all Bush.
And, Jimmy Carter is no longer the worst president ever. Again, that is all Bush. Just as I thought - you got nothing

Posted by: KAS | August 31, 2006 2:20 PM | Report abuse

I don't know what that is. Is it some scheme whereby a giant government program hijacks the normal market forces and ends up pouring all sorts of dollars into some special interest group's pockets. If not, please explain. If you Dems had let the gas price naturally go up, the market would have compensated with alternative aspects. but for some crazy reason, you made gas prices a central concept - as if the government can or should control prices?

Posted by: kingofzouk | August 31, 2006 2:14 PM | Report abuse

>>> it seems like the same old stale name-calling, with no ideas

That's funny b/c you say THAT every single day. Don't you think repeating that line over and over again makes it stale and devoid of ideas? You arent even craetive enough to say it in different ways.

Also, I've presented NUMEROUS ideas that the Dem party are forwarding, and you NEVER respond, or at least you discount it as Bush bashing or some lame crap like that.

Here's one:

National Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard.

But you'll never ever respond on that note b/c you and the Neocons are beholden to Big Oil.

Posted by: F&B | August 31, 2006 1:49 PM | Report abuse

What have they offered:
1 - tax cuts which stimulated the economy and shortened the recession - and this is a big one.
2 - defense against random attack - none since 9/11
3 - tried to reform social security, agree or not, he was the first to bring it up
4 - went on offensive against global murder instead of sitting back and taking it - hooray.
5 - prescription reform - I personally disagree but it counts
6 - no child left behind - I personally disagree but it counts
7 - appointed two solid judges to supreme court

these are the signs of a very succesful Presidency. a few griping left wingers doesn't alter this fact. You all probably think Reagan was a failure too. Just goes to show you have no grounding in reality.

does that suffice for SOMETHING they have offered? and most of these "messes" are left over from the fabled Clinton days and a few from that feckless "worst-president-ever" Carter.

Posted by: kingofzouk | August 31, 2006 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Tell you what, Zouk, you tell us after 6 years of Bush and company, what plans/alternatives/strategies about ANYTHING have they offered. They got us into the messes we currently face - what are THEIR solutions to get us out? Bet you can't!

Posted by: KAS | August 31, 2006 12:59 PM | Report abuse

There's lots of talk about how Bush, FEMA, and state/local authorities could have all handled Katrina much much better. No question about it.

But why is there an utter lack of recognition of the blame that rests most squarely on the NO residents themselves? I would not deny them our sympathy and aid, but I also will not deny them their biggest cut of the blame pie.

Why didn't more people evacuate? Is there a good reason? Why didn't NO residents who stayed have their own flood-proof food and water supplies? If anyone thinks it's because they're poor, think again. A week of food and water (bare essentials mind you) can be put together in a make-shift water-proof floating and anchored container for less than $100. What percentage of NO should be able to do this as a permanent safety net? 90%? 95%?

It all comes down to who you rely on to help you in a disaster. If you want a job done well, do it yourself. What I find even more amazing than people's unpreparedness is the fact that people CONTINUE to be unprepared even after experiencing a natural disaster. This cultural laziness of "the government will save me" is the reason natural disasters go down in history as calamities. The government should be our back-up plan, not our only plan.

Posted by: murphy | August 31, 2006 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Fred,

Yup, hurricanes are more complicated than a simple number 1-5. I generalized in the interest of brevity, but my point is exactly the same. And yes, you're right that risks to some degree or another exist all over the nation. My point is that NO is an extreme example of risk.

Posted by: murphy | August 31, 2006 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Like a yelping pack of brainless yellow dogs. Drindl, truthhunter, JEP, FB - you have outdone yourselves in ignorance, rhetorical simplicity and mindless chanting. do you really consider that to be your best work - because it seems like the same old stale name-calling, with no ideas for which you Dem/Libs are notorious. good luck getting elected with that lame-o platform.

I got a great idea, the pack of you try to come up with one origianl, creative idea a month. Present it to the blog and we will debate it. I know that will be very difficult for you but you seem to have the free time available. no bush-bashing, no name calling, no class warfare, no innuendo - just facts and analysis. I don't think you are capable. there is absolutely no evidence so far.

"To watch helplessly as the greatest country in the world is looted, raped, plundered, weakened, corrupted, as your own fellow citizens are left to die of neglect, as your own and your children's future is threatened, by savage greed, by incomptence, by monumental stupidy, it's just hard not to feel something. "

did you borrow this from a junior high essay? I got a big laugh at your prose. But don't hold anything back. subtlety is not your strength. Or accuity or penetrating intellect. but that is why you are a Dem. At least you can feel at home with the other jackasses.

Posted by: kingofzouk | August 31, 2006 11:23 AM | Report abuse

JEP, you are right. it always strikes me as well when I say something like that... it's not llike me, really. But the last few years have changed something in me. If you are really paying attention, if you really know what's going on, it's hard not to be moved, not to be outraged, not to be furious.

To watch helplessly as the greatest country in the world is looted, raped, plundered, weakened, corrupted, as your own fellow citizens are left to die of neglect, as your own and your children's future is threatened, by savage greed, by incomptence, by monumental stupidy, it's just hard not to feel something.

If you love the Constitution, if you love your country, how can you not feel bitterness at those who would destroy it? But the important thing is to channel that fervor into working to get decent people into office, to turn it into something positive for change. And I do try to do that.

Posted by: Drindl | August 31, 2006 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Drindl... Ahhh, you have hit the nail on the head. This Bush/Cheney bunch doesn't govern, they grab, make a mess and run.

It's just one damn thing after another... brush and forest fires galore. To cover their tracks, they relentlessly hammer home their litany, "be afraid, be very afraid."

Sadly, so far it has worked for them.

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth Hunter | August 31, 2006 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Drindl;

Just want you to know, when I said yesterday that I cringe when I hear people like you use the word "hate" I meant it as a compliment, not a criticism.you are typically very articulate and reasonable, and "hate" has a lot of emotional baggage.

It is one of the "four letter words" we tried to teach our children not to use, but if you read my entire post, you will see, while I do not want to "hate" anyone, I know a lot of good hearted Americans feel this way.

But no matter how right we are to resent this neocon monstrosity, "hate" is hard on our collective soul, and brings us down to their level.

JEP

Posted by: Anonymous | August 31, 2006 10:18 AM | Report abuse

A purge.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 31, 2006 10:11 AM | Report abuse

For everyone who has been following the political blogs since their inception, it is becoming increasingly clear that the only conservative bloggers left are the thick-as-a-brick die-hards who can not get embarassed by their own ignorance.

There was a day when really intelligent neocons used Turdblossom's daily talking points to make their articulate but misguided arguments, and their debating skills alone gave them an occasional edge of credibility.

But, alas, no self-respecting person left in the USA can intelligently defend Bush and his no-bid neocons any longer, in the face of the facts that have come to light.

So we no longer hear that forensic argument, which was, if not true, at least intelligent.

Now all we get is "doofuses" who simply ignore the truth instead of manipulating it like the smart ones, and fall back on double-speak cliches that were discredited long ago.

Rumsfeld and Cheney are the worst offenders, at every appearance spouting neocon Iraqisms that harken back to their "greet us with open arms" bullcaca.

And while intelligent Republicans now blush with shame at their once-venerated icons, the thicker-brained among them just keep swallowing that camel.

The real truth is pretty simple to see nowadays. But our intractable bush-brainwashed, wannabe neocons can't seem to get it down.

In terms of our democracy, when you strain at a gnat and swallow a camel, you get political constipation.

What's the best cure for that?

JEP

Posted by: Anonymous | August 31, 2006 10:06 AM | Report abuse

To invert the question, could anyone name one thing this administration has done WELL? Competently, efficently, cost-effectively? I'm not being snarky, I honestly can't think of anything.

And I'm not talking about campaiging-that isn't governing.

Posted by: Drindl | August 31, 2006 10:01 AM | Report abuse

I belong to the pox on both your houses school of thought. Louisiana has a long tradition of colorful, corrupt and incompetent government from Huey Long to Edwin Edwards. Blanco and Nagin may not be corrupt but they certainly did not display much competence. Some of the stories about the performance of the NO police during the catastrophe are indicative of an organization ruled more by cronyism than professionalism. However,the performance of the federal government was abysmal also. Some of the statements Bush made in the aftermath like "no one could have foreseen the levees breaking" (may not be word for word quote) were surreal since he was specifically briefed on that likeliehood. The disparity between what we could see on TV and what senior officials, like the Homeland Security Secretary, claimed not to know was incredible. The performance of FEMA was abysmal. FEMA has a mission to provide relief when state and local resources cannot handle the problem. FEMA simply was not ready. The lack of effective communications was appalling. Supplies were not being routed to where they were needed. There was plenty of warning that a catastrophic storm was going to hit the Gulf and FEMA did not have the proper supplies pre-positioned where they could have been more expeditiously shipped to the scene of the disasters. The numerous stories of red tape, bureaucratic bungling and out of touch senior officials in the federal government would have been funny if the situation were not so tragic.

Even today, the city of Houston - a shining example of compassion and effective action in this whole sorry story - is still housing thousands of Katrina refugees. The city wanted to use vacant apartments, as opposed to motels and shelters, to house the refugees. FEMA refused to pay for apartments - which are a far less expensive option, preferring shelters and motels. Even today, only a small fraction of the reconstruction funds have been released. As for the supposed lack of a plan from NO, every time they submit something the feds discover a new requirement and reject it. (This is undoubtedly another case where there are a plethora of screw ups on both sides).

Anyway, politically, I believe that Katrina seriously undermined the administration's image of competence. Coupled with the ongoing fiasco in Iraq, it undercut their image as the "daddy party" that is better suited to protect the nation.

Posted by: JimD in FL | August 31, 2006 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Maybe the most important Katrina poll number Chris listed is the one from August 24-25: "Independents clearly thought Bush had not kept his promise (26/60)."

Sixty percent negative on Bush, only 26 percent positive, leaving a big 14% undecided.

Nationally, as in the Connecticut race, Independents will probabaly tip the scales, and it looks like that dosen't favor Bushies.

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth Hunter | August 31, 2006 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Fred,

>>>will also point out that the lack of leadership in Louisiana

I do agree that the LA leaders failed Nola residents... However, to a large extent it seems to me that they simply had no chance to contain the hysteria that followed 80% of the town being underwater. Bush clearly knew before landfall that Katrina was "the big one" that would overwhelm local action, and he WENT ON VACATION.

So, yes, we agree that local leaders failed, but ONLY the Federal Government can respond to a disaster of that magnitude, and there is simply NO excuse for leaving people for 5 days screaming to save them or give them water.

>>>What I am saying is that he could not do anything until specifically requested by the state.

See, I entirely disagree with that. Leadership means getting the job done. And saying "its their fault" re: LA leaders does not cut it. If Bush was a REAL leader he would have negotiated with Blanco to figure out a course of action within 24 hrs of the water rising... To leave those people for another 4 whole days was a catastrophe that ONLY George W. Bush could have prevented. A President who lets poor old ladies die from exposure in the United States of America year of our Lord 2006 is absolutely incomprehensible, and as the substance of this thread and blog post declare, most of America feels that way as well.

Btw, Fred, I do have a very personal connection to the town, so it was (and is) really hard for me to see what has happened, but just know that Im with ya and have done as much as possible from out of town to support the town and its people. I have no fear that the culture of New Orleans is doomed, I know the spirit is still there and will only get stronger in time as people return (especially the displaced poor African-American folks from the Lower 9th who bring the SOUL).

Posted by: F&B | August 31, 2006 7:44 AM | Report abuse

The non - response to the Katrina aftermath went beyonf incompetence. Chertoff admitted on television that, three days after the levees broke, he did not know that there were people stranded in the Astrodome. The entire world, through CNN, knew that.

Was Chertoff on Mars, and the rest of his team on Pluto, when all the TV networks were showing the destruction and misery in New Orleans? No. They simply did not care.

The non - response was calculated to achieve exactly what it has achieved: remake New Orleans into a white - only city in the hope of turning Louisiana into a red state.

This WH and the rest of the GOP thugs in Congress do not care about American people. All they care about is to maintain their grip on power so they can continue to enrich themselves and their cronies.

The creatures in power are truly malevolent, corrupt, and criminal.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 31, 2006 7:34 AM | Report abuse

Murphy,

Interesting comments on earthquakes. But I will tell you that the category of a hurricane does not totally describe the destructive power of one. The category only refers to the wind speed. The storm surge, the ability to spawn tornados and the amount of rain are not accounted for in the category. For instance, a cat 5 hurricane took much the same path as Katrina, a nominal cat 3. The eye passed over the Ms. gulf coast with N.O. on the less serve side (west side). This hurricane named Camille devastated the Ms. coast but did relatively little damage to N.O. This cat 5 flooded my parent's house but did not flood my house. In comparison, the cat 3 hurricane (Katrina) "slabbed" my parent's house and flooded mine. I have seen tropical storms that cause more damage thru flooding that a "dry" cat 1.

None the less, my point is that wherever you may choose to live in the U.S., some natural catastrophe will eventually find you. Even Hawaii has weather problems from time to time. The extent of damages sometimes exceeds the capacity of the local and state authorities to properly handle the disaster. The federal gov't does have a role in relief and mitigation for all people who may be effected. I certainly hope that the federal gov't response will be better in the future.

Posted by: Fred | August 30, 2006 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Bob: You could very well be right. Bobby Jindal just might have done a better job. (I wonder what nickmane George Allen has for him?)

All of those of you who say that the President's hands were tied, please give me a break. He hasn't let "the law" impede action he wants the Federal government to take in other areas. U. S. phones carry traffic in both directions. Simple phone calls could have taken care of whatever needed to be taken care of.

This was about leadership. He didn't show it. And unfortunatley that video conference tape showed he was fully aware of what was happenening. Brownie was correct on that. Simply put, the President is our leader, and he failed to lead with respect to Katrina. He needed to be pro-active and wasn't; and he's paid a price for it. Stop rationalizing.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | August 30, 2006 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Hey murphy, you got me. You are clearly intelligent, but you said something that sounded to me... incoheent, etc. But you did clarify what you meant, and I understood.

The 'for profit' clause is a pretty big deal. As for government being a lumbering bureacracy, that depends on whether the people who are running it are actually capable of doing so, and interested in the concept of 'public service.' Like most human endeavors, it is capable of excellence if the will is there.

Take FEMA under Clinton, for instance...

Posted by: Drindl | August 30, 2006 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Posts getting too long and too infrequent.

Posted by: John | August 30, 2006 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Drindl,

I didn't mean to imply that "big government liberalism" was the sole property of democrats. Bush and many congressional republicans are addicted to spending too. Cutting taxes is just politics if you're not also cutting spending. (I'm not one of those wackos who advocates cutting all spending...just a big chunk).

I don't have a strong preference for privatization vs government. Privatization does carry that pesky "for profit" clause with it, but government is often a lumbering bureaucracy. Ugh. Whichever one is less inefficient according to the task suits me fine, and I'm not convinced it's always one or the other.

PS. nice to know that you think I'm intelligent today after declaring yesterday that I was "incoherent and incapable of rational thought processes"

Posted by: murphy | August 30, 2006 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Hey Zouk, how bout we flood your town to the rafters and see how long it takes your good buddy Bush to send in the boats. Then you can wait see how long that FEMA check takes to get there before you can begin rebuilding. Oh yea I almost forgot, there must be a dome or something somewhere that you can hold up in for a few days without food or water! Afterward you can be on T.V. with Bushy and your buds for the big announcement that he is going to rebuild your town and help is on the way! You may want to purchase an airpack because like all those people in New Orleans you may need to "hold your breath for awhile"! What a putz you are! Sue F

Posted by: Sue F | August 30, 2006 6:27 PM | Report abuse

F & B,

Pls refer to my second post where I wrote, "...will also point out that the lack of leadership in Louisiana starting with the mayor and the city council going up to the governor..." On this we agree.

Please also note that I am not implying that Bush had no legal obligation to do anything. What I am saying is that he could not do anything until specifically requested by the state.

Posted by: Fred | August 30, 2006 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Well, I agree with you on that, murphy. But actually, the lion's share of of our federal tax dollars for flood insurance claims go to Florida.

But how can you say 'big government liberalism' is the problem? Doesn't seem to me that big government is the province of either party --since government seems to grow under all of them, no matter what their talking points are. You're obviously intelligent, you know the Bush administration has grown ther government tremendously.

And what do you think of privatizing government, when it's clear [see the mercernaries in NOLA story I posted earlier] that privatization costs several times the amount of governmet actually doing a necessary job itself?

Posted by: Drindl | August 30, 2006 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Nor'Easter,

Obviously, the people of La. should have elected a republican as governor!

Posted by: Bob | August 30, 2006 6:14 PM | Report abuse

J. Crozier,

Political suicide, quite possibly in the short term. Long term, I'll bet peoples' heads would get the better of their nostalgia.

I actually prefer the idea of absorbing the refugees into the rest of the grand ol' USA, and using a SMALL fraction of the rebuilding money to help them get on their feet (jobs, homes, etc).

Drindl, I don't see this as a problem with dems or reps, but with politicians. I don't know of any politicians who are dealing with Katrina with the spine to make hard decisions. More generally speaking, I DO see big government liberalism as feeding this nanny-mentality of disaster relief.

And in answer to your question, I DO think federal flood insurance is unethical. Folks in CA don't deserve a cut from my paycheck everytime one of their luxury mansions falls into the river. Likewise if it was some poor bum's trailer.

Posted by: murphy | August 30, 2006 5:55 PM | Report abuse

didn't think so.

Posted by: kingofzouk | August 30, 2006 5:43 PM | Report abuse

'don't look now but the approval polls are heading up for Bush'

LOL, rolling on the floor. Jeez, zouk and bhoomes are graspng at straws as usual. You know, i write for a living--that's why I'm on the computer all day. But you two--do you live in your mom's basement, or what?

Since you're so clearly ignorant and ill-educated, I don't really expect you have jobs.

Murphy, there are flood zones all over the country, especially the beach areas, where expensive house proliferate. Do you think the federal flood insurance program is an unethical use of government resources? I do. You republicans however seem to feel government resources are your own personal slush fund.

Posted by: Drindl | August 30, 2006 5:25 PM | Report abuse

F&B - typical as usual. Your response starts with name calling. then finds fault yet offers no solution.
Maybe Bush should have invaded LA. I wonder if Kerry would have liked doing that without a year or two of negotiations?
a way to help - like the coast guard?

compare your response to Murphy's response. notice anything? no name calling, logical progression based on facts, finally an opinion clearly labeled as such. and you can't tell from the post the politics of the person. can any of you rabid Libs construct an argument like this?

Posted by: kingofzouk | August 30, 2006 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Nor'easter; I also respect Bob Novack's reporting but right now I am not overly concerned because if there is one thing about CW is that it is almost always wrong. With gas prices falling, it will give people extra income for Xmas and will put them in a better mood. At about this time in 1864, Lincoln expected not only to lose but to lose big. Events have a way changing the political atmosphere fast.

Posted by: bhoomes | August 30, 2006 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Murphy, hooray for you - a fact based discussion. commendable.

Posted by: kingofzouk | August 30, 2006 5:11 PM | Report abuse

>>>Just a little fact from Fred Barnes column

Hahaha. What an oxymoron.

Fred, basically all you are arguing is that Bush didnt HAVE to do anything legally. Im no expert on State vs Federal rights when it comes to the National Guard. He may NOT have "had" to do anything.

But I refer you to my original point: a REAL leader, a REAL American finds a way to help those poor people. Period.

Posted by: F&B | August 30, 2006 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Fred,

Comparing the '89 SF earthquake to Katrina is apples and oranges. Here's a link to some of the facts around the Loma Prieta quake of '89. http://www.answers.com/topic/loma-prieta-earthquake

1. 62 people died in SF, compared to two thousand in NO.
2. SF suffered widespread damage, but was not destroyed like NO.
3. Only 3000 people became homeless in SF, compared to I-don't-know-how-many tens of thousands in NO.
4. SF was not evacuated, NO was.
5. The cost estimate in SF was around $8B, not the $80B of NO.
6. The earthquake was severe (7.1), but the hurricane was average (cat 3).

In short, a moderate hurricane caused approximately 10 times the destruction as a major earthquake. SF is much much less vulnerable to earthquakes than NO is to flooding.

What are the risks of rebuilding in SF? For a major quake, exactly what I listed above. The risks for NO for a major hurricane would make Katrina look like swimmy practice at summer camp.

I'm not saying that living in SF is safe or smart. I'm saying that living below sea level in NO is INCREDIBLY STUPID (not to mention an unethical use of limited government resources). Everyone proposing that all these poor people they claim to care about should move back into the flood zone ought to use their heads.

Posted by: murphy | August 30, 2006 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Correction of my comments. It should read,

"My point is that a lot more leadership has been displayed by the mayors of Waveland, Bay St. Louis, Long Beach, Gulfport, Biloxi Ms. than by the mayor of New Orleans."

Posted by: Fred | August 30, 2006 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Stooge: You forgot to say Al Gore won by 60,000 votes. don't tell me he lost anyway? the polls showed he was clearly ahead. I must be confused.

Posted by: kingofzouk | August 30, 2006 4:51 PM | Report abuse

F& B,

The federal gov't cannot take action in a state unless the governor asks. The La. governor did not ask for several days.

To Nor'Easter,
My house in Mississippi was just as flooded as any in N.O. Most of the Ms. coast is just as built up as sections of N.O. My point is that a lot more leadership has been displayed by the mayors of Waveland, Bay St. Louis, Long Beach, Gulfport, Biloxi Ms. than by the may of New Orleans. This applies to the parish/county gov't as well as the state gov't.

To others concerned about Bush being on vacation, have you ever heard about cell phones, satille phones, faxes, video conferences etc.? Any president can (and does) receive critical information at anytime from where ever he happens to be.

Just a little fact from Fred Barnes column

"...Thirdly, the president held back from dispatching federal troops to New Orleans until Blanco asked for them. By that time, disorder had broken out in New Orleans and stories about murders and rapes at the Superdome--stories that turned out to be false--filled the news.

True, Bush was shackled by national law, which allows federal troops to be deployed only if there's an insurrection, which there wasn't, or the governor requests them, which Blanco was willing to do only if the troops were put under her command. This condition would have been unprecedented and was unacceptable to the White House and the Pentagon. She relented four days after the hurricane and requested the troops."

Posted by: Fred | August 30, 2006 4:48 PM | Report abuse

kingofzouk wrote: "Stooge: You forgot to say Al Gore won by 60,000 votes. don't tell me he lost anyway? the polls showed he was clearly ahead. I must be confused."

Only kingofzouk would be stupid enough to confuse a Presidential election - decided by electoral, not popular, votes - with that of a Senator or Governor which *is* decided by popular votes (e.g., polls are a lot more salient).

Posted by: Gaithersburg, MD | August 30, 2006 4:47 PM | Report abuse

I actually agree with Murphy on this one. I would not rebuild New Orleans in the same location as before. Of course, it would be political suicide for any politician to endorse NOT rebuilding New Orleans.

But honestly, I DO sort of think that anyone in a hurricane area has to expect that they WILL be hit by a hurricane eventually. Oh well.

Posted by: J. Crozier | August 30, 2006 4:42 PM | Report abuse

OH Governor

Columbus Dispatch

Strickland (D): 47%
Blackwell (R): 27%

http://www.dispatch.com/election.php?story=dispatch/2006/07/23/20060723-A1-01.html


Rasmussen

Strickland (D): 57%
Blackwell (R): 32%

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/2006/State%20Polls/August%202006/ohioGovernor.htm

Posted by: Gaithersburg, MD | August 30, 2006 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Do you mean those polls showing dems up 20% are still wrong? By the way Blackwell is losing in Ohio by 24%. How will the neocons steal Ohio in 2008 now. You are very confused and you are letting your fear of true americans get to you. There will be plenty of Republican Rehab centers to help you guys become real americans and to learn and understand the constitution.

Posted by: Larry | August 30, 2006 4:36 PM | Report abuse

I cited a recent Gallup poll. I don't put a lot of stock in these polls myself. I just found it interesting that they have shifted so much already. any one care to study changes in polling numbers from August to November. I bet the correlation is very poor.

what do you think the President does on vacation - spend time in a tent with no running water? What does it matter his geographical location. this is just one of those dumb spinning ideas that has no basis in modern reality. did you want him to go in his basstracker and pull people out like the movie stars did? anyone notice the private organizations were in place and ready to go on day one? When this kind of thing happens, would you rather give your donation to the Red Cross or FEMA. which will appoint more percentage to the task?

the head of FEMA had handled the hurricane season in Florida the year before very responsibly. It was not a trivial task. this NO thing was not a matter of individuals and personalties - it is a failure of the whole socialist experiment that believes the nanny state can bail you out of any trouble that ever arises. The government can not stop a hurricane. the aid offered afterwards is interesting to follow. NOLA still can't get it together yet other states have. Is that also FEMA's fault? any evidence of that? Or more poltical name calling. seems like the local pols in LA deserve their corrupt and inept reputation.

Posted by: kingofzouk | August 30, 2006 4:33 PM | Report abuse

KOZ -- where you live, are all the houses made of gingerbread too? Sounds like a wonderland of optimism to me. The poll you cite is already stale and contradicts all the polls taken before and since. The closest PA poll other than the one you cite has Casey up by 5 points or so and that included a third party candidate that all the local PA papers seem to assume will be denied ballot access. Plus, Casey's lead is again an INCUMBANT who just finished a $5 million unanswered media blitz. If you find that performance encouraging, then good luck.

As far as Washington goes, Cantwell is not going to blow anyone out. She's a pretty mediocre Senator, to tell the truth. And SHE is still up by 5+ points in all the polls. And that is your BEST pick-up opportunity.

Virgina -- Allen is below 50% in all the polling since his racist "mecaca" comments and two polls (can't remember which) have him narrowly LOSING to Webb, even though Webb has yet to go on the air. Again, you find this encouraging?

Hope springs eternal KOZ, and there certainly is a lot of time left till November. But your ridiculous attempts to argue that things are going WELL for Republicans right now is truly hysterical. Take another long gulp of Koolaid if you want to, but just remember to come visit this site in November.

Posted by: Colin | August 30, 2006 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Bhoomes: I still think that 70 days is a long way until the General Election, but having heard two panelists at a Paul Weyrich forum on Friday was an eye opener. Bob Novak, who is as good as it gets when it comes to "reporting" politics (Democrats note that I distinguish the reporting from the "commentary"), said that his Republican sources on Capitol Hill are expecting a loss of from 25-30 Republican seats. His "best" source for years advised him that they expect a minimum loss of 30 seats.

Kate O'Beirne looking for the Silver Lining said that her impression is that the Republicans on Capitol Hill have gotten the message and will now campaign properly.

I still think that we're a couple of weeks away from "campaign reality," but, when Novak and O'Beirne are saying these things, maybe "wait until Labor Day." doesn't carry the same weight as it used to carry.

Have the Republican's passed the Tipping Point? Are the forces in motion for them to lose more than the number of seats necessary for a majority in the House, no matter what they do?

Posted by: Nor'Easter | August 30, 2006 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Murphy,

Why did we rebuild San Francisco after the earthquake in 1989? Everyone who has even a small knowledge of science knows that the Bay area will be struck again.

Posted by: fred | August 30, 2006 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Murphy,

Why did we rebuild San Francisco after the earthquake in 1989? Everyone who has even a small knowledge of science knows that the Bay area will be struck again.

Posted by: Fred | August 30, 2006 4:24 PM | Report abuse

it cannot have escaped anyone that the two Bush apologists construct their messages around criticism of "the Dems" - not to mention blaming the tragedy on the government and even the residents of Lousisiana and New Orleans. this tactic not only has no place in what is supposed to be a reasonable discussion, it offends me, as someone who enjoyed the warmth, friendship, and hospitality of New Orleanians a few years ago, in my only visit to the city (thus far.)
This to me exemplifies not only the average right-wing partisan's anti-intellectual unwillingness to look beyond labels, but also the lack of intellectual curiosity characteristic of many. Are there important points to discuss / debate / agree or disagree on RESPECTFULLY? Of course there are, on this and many other topics. Hey - I'm an editor, so...

"Its

("It's" - the apostrophe indicates the contracted form of "it" + "is")

amazing how

(change to "the way in which")

the mainstream media tried(and were successful)to blame -

(ungrammatical - replace "tried(and were successful)to blame" with "blamed")

the mess in NO

(indicate an abbreviation with periods after each initial)

on Bush. For starters, they

(who are 'they'? need to be clear)

were TOLD TO EVACUATE and chose to disregard.

(ungrammatical, not to mention overly simplistic)

The buses that were available to egress

('egress' is a noun meaning 'an exit.' what you mean is 'evacuate.')

everybody were forgotten

(as I remember it, they weren't there.)

about by city officials and the State refused the Feds to intervene when they wanted to.

(ungrammatical and illogical. In the first place, you either refuse a noun or a gerund, e.g. "refused intervention" or "refused TO intervene." However, in this case neither works... as I recall it, Gulf residents wanted and needed all the help they were able to get.)

But then again we never let facts get in the way of our partisanship do we Dems?"

(quite apart from having failed to either clearly prove the point with this conclusive statement OR to prepare it with a logical structure, the writer omits three needed commas - after "again," "partisanship," and "do we.")

Not your best work.

Posted by: meuphys | August 30, 2006 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Rasmussen:

Penn Senate

Bob Casey, Jr. (D) 48%
Rick Santorum (R) 40%
Carl Romanelli (G) 5%

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/2006/State%20Polls/August%202006/PennsylvaniaSenate.htm

Washington Senate

Maria Cantwell (D) 46%
Mike McGavick (R) 40%

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/2006/State%20Polls/August%202006/WashingtonSenate.htm

Posted by: Gaithersburg, MD | August 30, 2006 4:20 PM | Report abuse

so you would rather live in ignorance and dance around in your cocoon than be confronted with facts and debate. Now I see why you rely so heavily on name-calling and appeasement. you have no arsenal to conduct a valid defense of your positions. why do you Dummy Dems always ask your opponents to leave instead of providing an adaquate defense? Is this your private little space where only true believers can enter. what is the point then? If you can't handle it, change the channel. so you only like freedom of speech if it agrees with you. I thought as much. the result ----

"The surprising findings in a little-noticed Gallup Poll that were ignored by most of the national news media shows the Democrats barely leading the Republicans by just two points -- 47 percent to 45 percent. After months of generic polling numbers by Gallup and others showing the GOP lagged far behind the Democrats by a seemingly insurmountable 9 to 10 points, the titanic political battle for control of Congress is virtually dead even. This means we may not experience the feared Category 5 political storm some election analysts have forecast that would topple the GOP's House majority and cut deeply into its grip on the Senate."

from http://www.townhall.com/columnists/column.aspx?UrlTitle=gallup_points_to_gop_resurgence&ns=DonaldLambro&dt=08/30/2006&page=1

Santorum is now even, Snowe is up by 50 points, WA looks like a R pick-up. Allen has always been ahead. your pipe-dream is already crumbling.

Posted by: kingofzouk | August 30, 2006 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Incidentally, my little sister was going to school at Tulane University in New Orleans at the time. She was scheduled to fly back to school the day before the hurricane struck because, you know, no disaster had been declared. Yes, this one strikes a bit of a personal chord to me.

Posted by: J. Crozier | August 30, 2006 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Essentially, Bush's response was the "My Pet Goat" of Hurricane responses. Slow and helpless.

Posted by: J. Crozier | August 30, 2006 4:12 PM | Report abuse

I find it fascinating how the people who support Bush are using the, "Government can't solve all problems and Bush himself did everything he could" approach to justifying the abysmal failure of the hurricane response.

I am quite certain that had Bush performed well then the theme from those on the right side of the political spectrum would be vastly different.

The plain fact of the matter was that Bush was briefed well in advance of the disaster coming. Video evidence was shown that Bush didn't ask a single question as he was told the "big one" was coming. He certainly didn't cut his vacation short.

I wonder, how much more could Bush have done if he'd taken the time to, I dunno, ask a SINGLE QUESTION during the briefing of the upcoming hurricane? How much more could he have accomplished, and how quickly, if he had cut his vacation short instead of staying in Crawford days into the disaster unti it became abundantly obvious that it was political suicide? Lastly, I wonder how much better the response could have been if he had a head of FEMA who had, I dunno, ANY experience in dealing with large scale disasters instead of horse races?

All rhetorical questions.

Posted by: J. Crozier | August 30, 2006 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Zouk: How long did you work for Haley Barbour (whom I happen to like)?

Just zip it and do as you said you would do before; crawl back under your rock until November 8th.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | August 30, 2006 4:06 PM | Report abuse

don't look now but the approval polls are heading up for Bush. (Gallup) Maybe the tidal wave of negative coverage and fake news stories has finally ebbed. Journalists are the new laughing stock of professions now. Remember the 10,000 dead bodies, the rapes and murders in the Superdome, the Plame outing, the Ramsey killer. All fiction. Much as you all try to make these elections about trivial things like name-calling, most Americans know exactly what is at stake and will pay the proper attention when the time comes. Just like the last three elections. Pelosi and Reid will go down in history as forgotten minority leaders who allowed their party to fail despite a generous press.

Posted by: kingofzouk | August 30, 2006 4:00 PM | Report abuse

"despite the fools who can't comprehend the enormity of the enemy - YET"

KofZ, your biggest enemy is within, and it is enormous, its name is FEAR, and you work quite hard at transfering it to others.

When those "horrible choices" were being made to protect us from that ominous mushroom cloud, it may have seemed worth it, but now we know what a lie that was.

So not only are these choices horrible, they were unnecesary, and made in the vanity of greed, which is what makes them that much more horrible.

There is no glory in this latest bush war. It is all death and destruction, there is no longer a purpose for our noble band of brothers, they are just pawns in the oil-for-blood debacle we are currently living through.

Any vain attempt to put some sort of honorable angle on this bloody carnage-for-profit chaos, only adds to the horrific situation you, yourself have named.

JEP

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 4:00 PM | Report abuse

More wonderfully transparent truth from our favorite troll
"I do not agree with even half of Bush's priorities but I admire him personally for standing up and trying to do the right thing..."

If he is doing the right thing only half the time, why do you admire him personally?

Sounds like moral confusion to me...

JEP

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 3:48 PM | Report abuse

I cringe when I read someone like Drindl use the word "hate" in describing the general public's feelings for our failing, flailing President and all the little goebel-goerings surrounding him.

I sincerely try to never "hate" anyone.

But unfortunately it is an apt description of the feelings a great many Americans have.

Can someone tell me why all these polls that ask for a disaproval rating don't provide a box for "I hate the guy," it might be quite revealing.

A lot of people really do hate this administration as a whole, especially the neocon plans for world dominance.

Add "angry" or even better, "mad as hell" and you start to get an idea of the real nature of the current dissent.

I think the polls should be changed to reflect this new "bottom" of popularity, lets not just measure who disapproves, but just how passionately they (we) disapprove.

JEP

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Truth to power - what a joke. What is the truth she spoke? what was the threat from power to her? She was lionized by the doofuses in the media who always go looking for anything to report in August. that sounds incredibly self-serving to me and not in the tradition of famous revolutionaries, but rather in the well-worn media seeking trough.

since when are wars, natural disasters, economic downturns, difficult long-term resource priorities and all else that most pols don't want to touch, popular? there are no sane people who are pro-war, they mostly don't want to be killed by someone else. the Dem model is to whine (Carter - the worst president ever) or punt down the road for someone else to bother with (Clinton). I do not agree with even half of Bush's priorities but I admire him personally for standing up and trying to do the right thing, for making some progress on several issues. but mostly for recognizing the horrible choices needed to win a war against a wily enemy despite the fools who can't comprehend the enormity of the enemy - YET.

Posted by: kingofzouk | August 30, 2006 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Bad news Dems, gas prices are really starting to fall. This was ordered by Dick Cheney's big oil friends to help us keep control of Congress. By election day, gas prices will be below $2 dollars and people will be so happy they will gladly pull the lever for the Grand Old Party. We just actually might gain seats. Hate it for ya.

Posted by: bhoomes | August 30, 2006 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Bush's numbers were dropping long before Katrina, I think it may have been "Huricane Cindy" reaching all the way inland to camp out at Midland, that really started the decline.

Amazing how a soft-spoken mother, mourning the loss of her son, could bring the scrutiny of our entire nation down on Bush's vacation ranch. The fact the wingnutters have vilified this gentle woman, demonizing her for speaking truth to power, only proves they are desperate.

History will look back upon Katrina, not as the singular event that exposed Bush's innate weakness, but as just one of the more horrendous chapters in the long and profane story of Bush failures.

It is a sorry tale of arrogance and incompetence, that has dragged our entire nation down in the process.

JEP

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Bush is so incompetant and simple-minded he beat those two towers of intellect and efficiency - twice! that must be because most people don't support him. HMMMM. I am going to have to use that special new math that only Dem droputs use to resolve this one. It is the same math that thinks social Security is just fine, that thinks that worsening schools are not the teachers and administrators faults, that think that raising taxes is good for the economy, that thinks socialist medicine is efficient and productive. Wow, I discovered a whole new field of Faux mathematics. I must begin work on a journal article right away. One problem, those pesky referees who will laugh at my results.

Posted by: kingofzouk | August 30, 2006 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I am also amazed that all these retrospectives, (which I admit are actually putting much blame where it belongs on Bush and showing his at his worst, peaking out from his safe spot on the airplace) have completely ignored the also damning pic of him fiddling his new guitar and eating birthday cake with John McCain as the Gulf Coast drowns. Shame on him, and on the MSM for omitting these images.

Posted by: Greg in LA | August 30, 2006 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Worst. President. Ever!

Posted by: Greg in LA | August 30, 2006 3:19 PM | Report abuse

'But then again we never let facts get in the way of our partisanship do we Dems?'

A cute little message from the uberpartisans who policitized 9/11, who lie every time they open their mouth, about NOLA and everything else. Pretty damn funny, if it weren't so tragic.

The fact is, despite the weak-minded, dittohead trolls we have here, the majority of the country hates bush and recognizes him for what he is --simple-minded and incompetent. Make up lies and excuses all you want. People know better.

Posted by: Drindl | August 30, 2006 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Its amazing how the mainstream media tried(and were successful)to blame the mess in NO on Bush. For starters, they were TOLD TO EVACUATE and chose to disregard. The buses that were available to egress everybody were forgotten about by city officials and the State refused the Feds to intervene when they wanted to. But then again we never let facts get in the way of our partisanship do we Dems?

Posted by: bhoomes | August 30, 2006 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Ddid anyone know about the Blackwater mercs who were sent in to 'police the city'? Why our government doesn't work any more -- it's all about privatization:

'The men from Blackwater USA arrived in New Orleans right after Katrina hit. The company known for its private security work guarding senior US diplomats in Iraq beat the federal government and most aid organizations to the scene in another devastated Gulf. About 150 heavily armed Blackwater troops dressed in full battle gear spread out into the chaos of New Orleans. Officially, the company boasted of its forces "join[ing] the hurricane relief effort." But its men on the ground told a different story.
.....
Armed men shuffled in and out of the building as a handful told stories of their past experiences in Iraq. "I worked the security detail of both Bremer and Negroponte," said one of the Blackwater guys, referring to the former head of the US occupation, L. Paul Bremer, and former US Ambassador to Iraq John Negroponte. Another complained, while talking on his cell phone, that he was getting only $350 a day plus his per diem'

--And you as a taxpayer, were probably being charged $1000 a day for this man's time. Compare that your average cop or guardsman. But there's much more about Blackwater..google it and you'll see:

"In a major blow to one of the most infamous war profiteers operating in Iraq, Afghanistan and New Orleans, a federal appeals court has ruled that a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the mercenary firm Blackwater USA can proceed in North Carolina's state courts. The suit was brought by the families of the four Blackwater contractors ambushed and killed in Falluja, Iraq on March 31, 2004. Blackwater had tried to have the same case dismissed or moved to federal court.

"I've been bawling ever since I've heard the decision," says Katy Helvenston, whose son Scott was killed in Falluja, his charred body hung from a bridge. "It's been overwhelming. I am so glad that they ruled this way. Blackwater has stalled and stalled. Look at the hundreds of millions of dollars in profits in Iraq and New Orleans they've made since my son was killed. It's time to go to trial and let the chips fall where they may."

Posted by: Drindl | August 30, 2006 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Remind me again WHY it is that people want to rebuild New Orleans in a hurricane-prone area below sea level? Have people thought this through, or is it a case of macho patriotic chest-thumping at mother nature?

Posted by: murphy | August 30, 2006 2:56 PM | Report abuse

you suspect. How about that the other states came up with a plan and worked it. still no plan from LA. how about they stayed off the news and did their jobs? how about they didn't search around for someone else to blame?
Is there any measure of personal responsibility a Dem can expect from a citizen? how about deadbolts on your door? how about saving for retirement? how about having five days of food in your basement when a hurricane is coming? how about listening to warnings and thinking about leaving? anything at all? reading to your kid? really anything? I guess you think the State should do all that stuff.

Posted by: kingofzouk | August 30, 2006 2:39 PM | Report abuse

The physical damage to Mississippi's Gulf Coast and New Orleans were different in certain critical physical ways (toxic soup vs. ocean storm surge), the property damaged was different (mostly suburban vs. urban), the populations were different,...

And, the Governor of Louisiana is a Democrat, while the Governor of Mississippi is a former Chairman of the Republican National Committee.

I suspect that all of the above are major factors in the Recovery equations, and why Mississippi is light years ahead of New Orleans and the Louisiana Parishes.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | August 30, 2006 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Actually, yeah Fred, I lived in New Orleans for 3 years, 2001-2004. Mostly uptown, but also midcity and old metairie.

It is a shame that the LANG was flooded out. But the job of a leader is to cut through the bureaucratic nonsense and get food to the DOZENS OF THOUSANDS of people stranded without food or water for 5 DAYS and on international media.

The SECOND it was clear that Nagin and Blanco were unable to save these people, that task IMMEDIATELY fell to George W. Bush. And what did he do? He went to had cake for McCain's birthday and played guitar at a photo op.

And all of you GOP supporters who cannot break through your partisanship to take note of the actual events of Katrina make me sick.

Posted by: F&B | August 30, 2006 2:27 PM | Report abuse

typical Bush-bashing narrow minded Dem responses. the coast guard operated the most succesful search and rescue mission ever after Katrina, rescuing about 10,000 individuals in about a week.
what makes you think the Federal government can solve all your problems - like a giant hurricane wiping out a city? Oh, I forgot, you all think the Government can solve ALL your problems. where do you get off saying that this is some sort of racial preference. I guess the actual statistics from the calamity don't bother you. It is perfectly fair to compere the politicians from MS and LA. how did they react? how did it differ?
all you Libs who cry about wire-tapping and the Patriot act are the same ones who are gonna yell to FEMA to save them after the terrorist bombs raze another city. you can't have it both ways. big Government is not efficient and not suitable for local concerns - like schooling your kids. how is it that Bush is personally responsible for evacuating a city in need of attention? I think you need to up the dosage of your meds. they have stopped working.

Posted by: kingofzouk | August 30, 2006 2:18 PM | Report abuse

If the media could get into New Orleans to report the disaster then the National Guard and FEMA should have been able to as well to fix it.

Posted by: Andy R | August 30, 2006 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Readers, we've been experiencing technical issues with comments on this blog today. Apparently some people were not able to submit comments. We are working to fix the problem.

Posted by: washingtonpost.com editors | August 30, 2006 2:07 PM | Report abuse

RMil & Fred: This is exactly what i have pointed out. The loss to the areas effected are beyond most of us to understand. The folks that have not been close to something like what happened there cannot fully see the tragic effect it has had on so many people. My prayers go out to all.

Posted by: lylepink | August 30, 2006 9:51 AM | Report abuse

I don't care what the polls say, I'm sure President Bush botched the response to Katrina. I remember all the emails I sent to the White House saying turn on the TV, get Bush off vacation, help the people in New Orleans. (I couldn't think of anything else to do to help at the time.) If I could see the suffering, certainly a whole Republican White House and Congress could have seen it and done something, anything to help. Imagine what all that Iraq war money could do to revive that City and all the homes and schools it could build for the poor and now homeless people from that great City.

Posted by: Bush Blew Katrina | August 30, 2006 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Agree with you RMill--but do you also object to the politicization [from Day 1] of 9/11 and the constant use of it as campaign fodder by the bush administration? Do you think that firefighter and that bullhorn, already turned on, were just there? Do you not know that was a very carefully, monstrously carefully, staged photo op?

Do you not know how calculatedly rove used that burning heap of bodies as a stage? How we were all manipulated shamelessly, how TV crews even created a fake documentary and historical revision of the day that week, to help people forget that bush was hiding in a bunker on 9/11, when we in new york were all wandering around in shock, thinking where is the president, where is my country?

Bush is the same incompetent, disconnected failure now that he was from day one. And I don't believe that asking that SOMEONE should be held accountable for gross negligence that leads to massive loss of life is political.

Posted by: Drindl | August 30, 2006 9:41 AM | Report abuse

There are obvious differences in the damage produced in Louisiana and Mississippi and the impacts that affected response.

These posed significantly different challenges in Louisiana and New Orleans especially. It is not every day that a major metropolitan area is essentially wiped off the map.

While the effects of Katrina in other parts of the Gulf Coast were no less tragic, the devestation wrecked upon New Orleans cannot be compared to response scenario's in Mississippi or Alabama.

I must say that regardless of my personal view of the failures of FEMA and state and local officials, I find it highly distasteful that the tragic loss of life and devestation of property are being used for any political means by either side.

Posted by: RMill | August 30, 2006 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Polls

More on Florida

Quinnipiac
August 23-28

Dem Primary
Davis 43%
Smith 32%

Rep Primary
Crist 57%
Gallagher 32%

Strategic Vision
August 30
Dem Primary
Davis 43%
Smith 37%

Rep Primary
Crist 52%
Gallagher 36%

Head to Head
Davis (D) 41%
Crist (R) 49%

Davis (D) 39%
Gallagher (R) 39%

Smith (D) 43%
Crist (R) 48%

Smith (D) 40%
Gallagher (R) 38%

Zogby/Wall Street Journal
August Battleground Poll

Head to Head
Davis (D) 38.5%
Crist (R) 52.4%

Smith (D) 36.8%
Crist (R) 50.9%

Posted by: RMill | August 30, 2006 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Lyle Pink,

Gee, I did not know that we had a special FEMA for Mississippi! As a person who lives in Mississippi and works in New Orleans, I am in a good position to observe both governments. I do agree with most in the fact that the Federal government's response was woeful in the few days immediately after August 29. I will also point out that the lack of leadership in Louisiana starting with the mayor and the city council going up to the governor has caused the problems in N.O. to fester and multiply.

While the governor of Ms. provided leadership from day 1 the government in La. has pointed fingers. I will give you 3 concrete examples. 1. Federal gov't grants (CBDG) moneys are being distributed in Ms. The application process was started well over 4 months ago. In La. the grant process (The Road Home) just started last Monday. 2. The governor of Ms. has successfully passed legislation to provide economic stimulus for the gulf coast area. The governor of La. did have a few items passed but the effects of these new laws have yet to be seen. 3. Public schools opened in Ms. in late 2005 for the 2005/06 school year. All schools are open this year. Only about half of public schools have opened in N.O. this year 2006/2007)

The mayor and city council of N.O. have still not yet proposed a comprehensive zoning and planning package to rebuild N.O.

If you read news accounts about the amount of money the fed. Gov't has allocated to La., you would find that a lot of it is held up between Wash D.C. and Baton Rouge. This is again a breakdown in effective government in La.


Posted by: Fred | August 30, 2006 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Actually the Galveston hurricane in 1900 killed 8,000-12,000 people , making it the worst hurricane disaster in US History. I would have to say that the response by the federal government and preparation by state and local officials made this much worse than it should have been.

Posted by: RMill | August 30, 2006 8:37 AM | Report abuse

F&B,

Have you been to N.O.? Do you live here?

If you lived here, you would know that the National Guard was in place at Jackson Barracks but they, like the rest of public services here in N.O. were flooded out. They lost all their equipment and communications. They did their best to perform their duties in those few terrible days after Katrina.

Posted by: Fred | August 30, 2006 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Here again you can see politics at work. The difference in assistance provided for the states of Mississippi and Louisana is so different and just another example of how a role in helping those most in need depends on what party your state is controlled by.

Posted by: lylepink | August 30, 2006 8:10 AM | Report abuse

And I want to re-post this that I saw on the NYT blog about Katrina:

Now we know if a city is destroyed by a hurricane the public must fend for itself.

Now we know if a city is destroyed by terrorists the public will have to fend for itself.

Now we know if you are poor you will be the last to be helped.

Now we know that FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) is ineffective.

Now we know that Homeland Security is ineffective.

Now we know in any case of emergency, we can not depend on the National Guard because they are busy fighting Bush's war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Now we know that no matter how calamitous a domestic event may be, the president needs several days to think about what to do and carefully plan
photo-ops.

Now we know in most civil catastrophes there will be looting by civilians and the oil companies. Civilian looters are punished.

Long live New Orleans.

Posted by: F&B | August 30, 2006 7:15 AM | Report abuse

Katrina was the worst disaster in American History compounded by the worst man-made humanitarian disaster in American History compounded by a "reconstruction" that was wholly inept and wrought with fraud, waste and abuse by Republican-friendly no-bid contractors.

While it has been clear that the GOP has NEVER given a damn about the lower classes, Katrina made it painfully obvious to Americans and the world stage. 20,000+ mostly African-American mostly impoverished were left without food or whater for 5 DAYS in the richest nation in the world.

This is Bush's and the GOP's Achilles Heel and everyone knows it. Bush is a total disgrace to office of the Presidency, and there will NEVER be a fair solution to Katrina until he is gone.

Posted by: F&B | August 30, 2006 7:11 AM | Report abuse

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