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  •  Yes but (none)
    Well, a natural disaster, tragic as it is, is not the same as an attack on the United States. The loss of life and damage along the Gulf Coast is horrendous, yes, but there isn't anything the President could have done to stop the hurricane or even to prevent most of the damage. I don't know of any evidence that anyone was aware that the levies around Lake Ponchartrain were at risk of rupture. If there were such evidence, don't you think the Louisiana delegation would have sought funds for a repair some time ago?

    The President is Commander in Chief and it was appropriate for him to respond as he did after 9/11. Hurricane Katrina is not an act of war and I just don't see how it is so bad for him to get a handle on a very unclear situation before addressing the American people. He is going back to DC and I expect we'll hear from him soon. A speech given any sooner isn't going to have any impact on the events along the Gulf Coast and may come at the cost of necessary knowledge and consultation with Homeland Security, military, and local officials.

    •  go read kevn357's link above. (none)
      They did know the levee was vulnerable at precisely the spot where it ruptured, but funding was drastically cut for the programs to fix and expand the levees.

      But that is not my point.  I don't think that he even said something like, "I want to let all those affected by this tragedy that the federal government (or all of America) will do what it takes to rebuild your homes and your communities."  Sure it won't directly save any lives, but it gives people hope and it keeps them calm(er).

      •  I stand corrected (none)
        Well, it appears that maybe there was some inkling that the levies wouldn't hold up the next big storm, no matter its magnitude. So you have a pretty good point there.

        I guess I'm just feeling a bit skeptical that piling on the President is the right way to respond to this thing. Let's focus instead on getting the dollars and personnel and equipment needed to recover the affected area. That is a task that requires less partisanship, not more.

        •  Somone else posted elsewhere (none)
          and I wish I could remember where so I could give them proper credit, but the essence was that after 9/11 we had someone to be naturally angry with.  In this situation, there is nobody who automatically fits the bill.  So it is easy to turn it onto any little thing going wrong with the government's actions.  I agree with this, but I alos think it is a mistake to give Bush (another) free pass when he has made decisions that have had horrendous consequences.
        •  AGREED. (none)
          but. there have been a lot of threads about that. this thread was specifically for us lefty types to vent our outrage at the fact that Bush, who's supposedly brimming with 'leadership,' is off fucking around when his vaunted skills are most desperately required.

          not that anyone's listening.

    •  errr (none)
      If there were such evidence, don't you think the Louisiana delegation would have sought funds for a repair some time ago?

      they did, actually. we can go find the links for you if you like, but i'm pretty sure they're upthread. they had the funds, but they were diverted for iraq. it's really that simple. it was a direct reallocation and there's NOLA engineers on record in 2004 saying exactly that.

      'act of war,' is debatable, but that's not the issue. the issue is that you can't have it both ways. if the president's reponsibility is to exercise leadership in a time of crisis, it doesnt matter if it's an act of war or the biggest natural disaster to hit the country in decades. slacking is not an excuse. photo-ops are just astonishing.

      i think that there would be some people complaining if he was just doing a bad job of exercising leadership, but i wouldn't be one of them. i didn't find him very inspiring on 9/11, but i realize that some did, and that's fine.

      what i (and others) are mad about is that he hasn't been leading at all. that there would be a tragedy was apparent on sunday night. it took until tuesday afternoon, when it became clear that new orleans was really and truly screwed, to jolt bush out of his precious vacation, which he takes too much of anyway. more than the average american worker, i believe, and more than any other president.

      i don't see how you could need any clearer indictment of his presidential abilities. the response on 9/11 was obvious. a monkey could have read those speeches. but in an actual time of national crisis, when there is ongoing work to be done and the disaster is not yet done unfolding, bush has yet to step up to the plate.

      here's the point

      everything that bush did on 9/11 was after-the-fact, and he's lauded for it. the fact is that a monkey could have read those speeches. but many of us liberals were willing to give the benefit of the doubt. sure, we see what others got out of that.

      but now, when a national crisis is still in the process of unfolding, and bush's vaunted leadership could actually do something about it, he's still off on vacation, still playing guitar. what do you think that says about him -- to us? are you willing to look at our position?

      •  Some things we agree on (none)
        I think I would have preferred to see Bush back in DC earlier in the week, or even by the weekend, when the path of the storm and its apparent strength became clear. So I basically agree with you on that. But I still say that we can't be sure that he wasn't involving himself in the situation from where he was. In fact, I think it is more likely than not that he was pretty engaged in the situation. That we haven't seen photos of him on the telephone or meeting with Governors or affected people doesn't mean he isn't doing his job.

        And while I wish I could take as much vacation as Bush does, I don't really begrudge him his time off. First, he's got a much tougher job than me. Second, his "vacation" isn't really laying around the resort. He still has to deal with pressing matters, see his aides and be briefed on important developments, and make decisions. That said, five weeks at his ranch is probably a bit excessive and I do hope he is striving for accomplishments other than "most vacationed" President.

        But, yes, I think his absence from the White House, and especially his ill-advised photo op today, does create a bad impression. I am not a particularly strong partisan and my own views on things do tend toward the more conservative side as far as Democrats go, so maybe I'm just giving voice to an instinctive dislike for partisan piling on at a time of national crisis. I don't think it is right or wise to try to exploit the tragedy along the Gulf Coast for political gain.

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