The Baton Rouge Advocate is no bastion of the liberal media, but instead boasts center to slightly center-right editorial stances. Here it talks about the recovery plan boosted by conservative U.S. Rep. Richard Baker that President Bush killed, for no good reason and without even much of an attempt at explanation. Let me just say that the BR Advocate is right on target here.
As the one year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches, it is Bush’s mishandling of the long-term recovery efforts, not the much-hyped tragedy of the immediate post-storm relief problems, that deserves to go down as the single worst part of his legacy as president. Just as liberals like to ignore the very real local and state (and thus mostly Democratic) culpability in turning a horrible disaster into an even more horrible catastrophe, and just as ALL political camps ignore the 40 years of fumbling at all three levels of government, conservatives are guilty of being willfully blind to the errors of the Bushies.
Every time I blog on this topic, I am inundated with angry responses from people who don’t even bother to learn the facts enough to know the difference between a floodwall and a levee, or the difference between what the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for and what the local Levee Board is responsible for, or the difference between a federal grant and a revolving loan fund, much less the differences AMONG various Democratic dynasties in New Orleans and their inter-reactions with Republicans through the years. The reality is that there is plenty of blame to go around for the multiple sorrows of New Orleans and the Mississippi Coast, for which the biggest culprit is cruel Nature herself.
But anybody who wants to see better responses in the future to disasters natural and otherwise should be willing to look at the whole picture and to let his own “side” take an appropriate share of responsibility, lest another major city or region be sentenced to the human misery that still is a matter of daily life in New Orleans and on the Mississippi Coast.