This article originally appears in The American Thinker
Rick Moran is proprietor of the blog Right Wing Nuthouse
For the left, the aftermath of Katrina has proven to be a godsend. In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen them this happy since Hugo Chavez hornswaggled Jimmy Carter into certifying his victory in a recall vote last year. There’s just something about communist thugs that brings a smile to the face of an American lefty and makes their hearts go pitter patter.
But even a victory by “The Laughing Goat” ( La Cabra que Ríe) couldn’t possibly gladden the hearts and warm the cockles of liberals like the prospect of celebrating…what? Well, there’s that drop in the President’s poll numbers. And then there’s…let’s see. Oh! Did I mention the drop in the President’s poll numbers?
Yes, these are heady days for our left wing friends. The fact that their celebrations are taking place as a direct result of the distress, suffering, anguish and death of tens of thousands of their fellow citizens seems to not be of much concern to our morally superior betters. In fact, it has emboldened them to advance every crack pot theory on race and class that has poisoned American politics for going on forty years. One could say the left is dancing on the graves of black people, celebrating the exploitation of a political opening brought about by the incompetence of relief efforts in the largely black neighborhoods of New Orleans except for one thing; most of those graves are empty at the moment because the future les habitants haven’t even been plucked from the floodwaters yet.
But why let a small detail like common decency spoil a good party? It’s Mardi Gras in September in the Big Easy and liberals are dancing the Cajun Reel with the thousands of grinning skeletons who very soon now will start filling up the temporary mortuaries set up to receive them. The fact that we will be denied the edifying spectactle of watching the gruesome task of retrieving these corpses has now led to charges of a “cover-up” – as if focusing a camera on the bloated, blackened remains of our fellow citizens should be made into some kind of reality TV show. Kind of a Survivor meets The Great Race high concept production. Why, the syndication possibilities are staggering.
Consider the hue and cry that went up in the hours and days following September 11, 2001 about how we shouldn’t be showing images of the tortured souls as they jumped to their deaths from those doomed towers.Or the unbearable, constant replaying of the horrific scenes of destruction as the towers fell. The rational at the time was that such appalling images would breed anger and hate. But the anger and hate that would be bred by showing the maggoty corpses left behind by a man-made disaster are perfectly alright – as long as that anger and hate is directed at George Bush. After all, from the left’s perspective, if you can’t use images of a rotting cadaver for the ultimate good of making George Bush look bad, why bother?
That’s all they have to live for, of course. That and the possibility that the American people will become so outraged at the President’s choice of Michael Brown to head up the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that they will rise up in their righteous anger and smite the Republicans a mortal blow at the polls next year. The elevation of horse show impressario Brown to the lofty perch of FEMA Director may have been an unconscionable and unfathomable act of stupidity on the part of the President. But so was having Ron Brown’s Commerce Department give technology transfer waivers to American companies so that the Chinese army could improve the accuracy of thier ICBMs (Clinton). Or selling arms for hostages (Reagan). Or putting price controls on crude oil (Carter). Or putting wage and price controls into place when inflation was at the “astronomical” rate of 4.7% (Nixon). Or supporting Cuban ex-pats in a doomed-from-the-start effort to take back their country from Castro (Kennedy).
All President’s make huge mistakes. Some lead to economic distress. Others actually cost lives. At this moment, despite the left’s charges that Bush is insensitive, I doubt whether the President is getting much restful sleep these past few nights. If there is anything at all that the American people have sensed about this man on a personal level, it is a sense of a simple, faith-based compassion for his fellow citizens. Does he recognize personal responsibility in his disasterous choice of Michael Brown as FEMA Director? Firing the incompetent fool would be a good indication one way or another.
But giving Master Brown the heave-ho won’t satisfy the baying hounds at the President’s doorstep. The ghosts of New Orleans may indeed haunt Mr. Bush’s Presidency from here on out if he doesn’t act soon to counter the impression that the Federal government isn’t on top of this relief effort. It isn’t enough to promise money and support for the half million displaced people whose lives have been shattered by the storm. This is a given in America. It’s doing what’s expected.
What the President needs to do is the unexpected. Americans will back a President after he makes a mistake only when he admits the error in public and asks for forgiveness. Reagan and Clinton both made monumental errors in their second terms and yet finished their times in office with the strong support and even affection of the American people because they recognized their mistakes, apologized for them, and moved on to bigger and better things.
Following Iran-Contra, Reagan negotiated the first real reductions in a class of nuclear weapons when he signed a treaty with the Soviets eliminating medium range missiles from Europe. And following Clinton’s apology for lying to the American people about “that woman,” and his subsequent impeachment, he seemed to gather new energies which allowed him to finish his term with approval ratings over 60%.
Clearly, this is a mea culpa moment for Bush. But whether his political enemies, who now have the upper hand, allow him the luxury of such a course of action is problematic. The left’s continued glee at having the President on the run will last only as long as the President stubbornly refuses to make things right with the American people.
Things went horribly wrong in New Orleans. And while the inexplicable gaffes of the disaster tag team of Blanc-o-Nagin will ultimately come to be seen as at least equally responsible for the tragedy, the American people want an acknowledgement of what they’ve seen with their own eyes and heard with their own ears; the people that the President dispatched to deal with the relief efforts failed miserably. They want the President to take ultimate responsibility for this and they want it done soon. Any delay will be seen as playing politics and that’s something the American people have no patience for right now.
Do the right thing, Mr. Bush. And do it now.