when katrina first hit the gulf coast on monday, a small voice in back of skippy international said, calmly, "that's it. aw
ol's going to send in the calvary to his red state supporters, and he's going to look like the saviour that his constituents have been proclaiming him to be. there's no stopping the gop now."
unluckily for everyone, that small voice was wrong.
we say unluckily, because if anyone in the administration had any inkling of pr sense, the army and navy and national guard would have been air dropping food and water and parachuting into the disaster area on tuesday, thus making the administration look competent, decisive, and, above all else, caring about america. and thousands of lives would have been saved.
say what you will, we would rather have had live americans and dead complaints about awol than visa versa. we are not smirking over the fact that awol screwed the pooch. again.
but pooch-screw he did. his minions squabbled among themselves as americans were drowned, beaten, torn assunder and squashed before the mighty force that is nature herself (a force which, we may add, was well-predicted 24 hours before it happened). and where was the compassionate conservatives after all this happened? that's the question that remains unanswered.
all mrs. skippy can say these days is, thank god it wasn't a terrorist attack, something nobody saw coming. if this is how homeland security keeps our homeland secure, then it's time to buy a gun and put money under the mattress.
we thought karl rove was supposed to be a pr genius. didn't someone in awol's adminstration (not condi...she was shoe shopping) think that rushing to the rescue of the very states that voted them into office would look real good, not only to their constituency, but also the rest of the humane world?
imagine...if the repubbbs had actually done the job they wanted so much to have that they cheated, not once, but twice, to obtain, not only would they be untouchable and unstoppable in public opinion now...but people would be alive.
yes, we at skippy international would be feeling helpless before the world-wide onslaught of love and devotion for the take-charge leader of the free world who helped the poor and downtrodden...but people would be alive. and we could live with that trade-off.
but no. the very nature of neo-reactionary philosophy precluded the administration from helping people who didn't make 500k a year. paul krugman hits the nail squarely on the head, knocking it out of the park, if we may mix our metaphors:
but the federal government's lethal ineptitude wasn't just a consequence of mr. bush's personal inadequacy; it was a consequence of ideological hostility to the very idea of using government to serve the public good. for 25 years the right has been denigrating the public sector, telling us that government is always the problem, not the solution. why should we be surprised that when we needed a government solution, it wasn't forthcoming? ...
for one thing, the undermining of fema began as soon as president bush took office. instead of choosing a professional with expertise in responses to disaster to head the agency, mr. bush appointed joseph allbaugh, a close political confidant. mr. allbaugh quickly began trying to scale back some of fema's preparedness programs.
you might have expected the administration to reconsider its hostility to emergency preparedness after 9/11 - after all, emergency management is as important in the aftermath of a terrorist attack as it is following a natural disaster. as many people have noticed, the failed response to katrina shows that we are less ready to cope with a terrorist attack today than we were four years ago.
but the downgrading of fema continued, with the appointment of michael brown as mr. allbaugh's successor.
mr. brown had no obvious qualifications, other than having been mr. allbaugh's college roommate. but mr. brown was made deputy director of fema; the boston herald reports that he was forced out of his previous job, overseeing horse shows. and when mr. allbaugh left, mr. brown became the agency's director. the raw cronyism of that appointment showed the contempt the administration felt for the agency; one can only imagine the effects on staff morale.
that contempt, as i've said, reflects a general hostility to the role of government as a force for good. and americans living along the gulf coast have now reaped the consequences of that hostility.
now the hardly-ever-right wing of blogtopia (yes! we coined that phrase!) will never be able to spin away the facts: this administration, nay, this new repubbblican party, has a new set of values.
they don't care about americans. that's too bad...because if they did, people would be alive.