Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The Blame Game

Former FEMA chief Michael Brown's laughable performance before Congress yesterday was the latest move in the Bush administration's attempt to play the "blame game" by pinning its failure to respond appropriately to the Hurrican Katrina emergency on state and local elected officials who just happen to be Democrats.
On Monday came the outrageous news that "Brownie", who resigned in disgrace just two weeks ago, is still on the administration's payroll -- as a consultant to the very organization he shamed. Making this even more shocking was the disclosure that he is being paid to analyze the failures in the response to the hurricane.
Tuesday's performance made it clear that the "analysis" will be a brazen attempt to fix the blame on others, once more shirking responsibility for one of the worst failures of government to protect its citizens in our history.
The Bush administration has shown over the past five years that it considers governance to be nothing more than performance art. Any situation, no matter how serious, can be reduced to a photo op or a sound byte.
Last weekend, in just one egregious example, Bush made a big deal about how he needed to waste fuel and hinder emergency preparedness activities by making a site visit to a command center in Texas, then abruptly cancelled the visit when his handlers learned that the weather in San Antonio was likely to be sunny rather than rainy and windy. Clearly, if he couldn't pose like Anderson Cooper and Geraldo Rivera, he wasn't interested.
This is completely in character for a president who insisted on making a long, moody walk through the darkness in a New Orleans park to deliver a worthless address on recovery, who thought nothing of cancelling chemotherapy for patients at a San Diego hospital so he could get his picture taking (while Katrina was raging in the Gulf of Mexico), who donned his Village People drag to prance across the deck of an aircraft carrier to proclaim victory while lives were being wasted in Iraq.
This former governer of Texas insisted last weekend that one of the reasons he needed to visit the emergency control center the state he formerly governed was to see how state and local officials work together.
George W. Bush has become something less than a laughing stock. He is a disgrace to this nation, a politician who has shown himself to have less character than Richard Nixon, less of a connection to the people than his father, the notoriously out-of-touch George H.W. Bush, less regard for the facts than Ronald Reagan.
And we've got three more years to go.