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The Speech Bush Didn't Give
By Tim Grieve on Salon:

The president says he's ready to "take responsibility" for whatever the federal government did wrong in the wake of Katrina, and you've come through with a veritable flood of ideas about where he could begin.

Here's the speech that War Room readers might write. Douglas O'Morain of Austin, Texas, gets us started, and then a list of would-be presidential advisors too long to mention fills in the blanks and connects the dots from there.

"My fellow Americans, while many people were at fault for our country's poor response to Hurricane Katrina, I am the president, and the buck stops with me. In addition to being the commander in chief, I believe that the president has a moral obligation to protect the people to the best of his ability. And in this case, I did not perform for you as I did on September the 11th, 2001. While I believe that there are many reasons behind the debacle in New Orleans and elsewhere in the wake of the hurricane, I accept full responsibility for the failures of the federal government. I will not shirk from blame; I will not pass the buck.

"I take responsibility for not having shown concern about the people or the situation in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast until it became clear that it was a public relations disaster for my administration. I take responsibility for the fact that Katrina will go down as one of the 10 deadliest natural disasters in our nation's history -- and that the other nine all happened before helicopters were widely available for rescue missions.

"I take responsibility for packing FEMA, a federal agency America depends on in national emergencies, with political hacks with no real qualifications for doing life-and-death jobs. I take responsibility for not making geography skills a priority for FEMA. I take responsibility for the fact that, while fires blazed out of control in New Orleans, 600 firefighters were stuck in a FEMA seminar on customer service in Atlanta. I take responsibility for telling Brownie that he was 'doing a heck of a job,' when, in fact, he sucked.

"I take responsibility for not asking Dick Cheney to end his vacation sooner; for not asking Condoleezza Rice to end her shopping spree in New York sooner; for not asking Donald Rumsfeld to cut short his trip to the ballgame and mobilize soldiers for the relief effort. I take responsibility for sending large numbers of National Guard members from Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Florida to Iraq, making it impossible for them to act quickly to aid and protect their homeland.

"I take responsibility for allowing one of my senior administration officials to insinuate that that I ignored the delay in the deployment of federal troops because I didn't want to seem like I was bullying some chick governor.

"I take responsibility for allowing the nation's poverty rate to rise four years in a row. I take responsibility for the fiscal policies and war plans that have left our country unable to perform its primary duty of protecting its citizens without going into further debt. I take responsibility for failing to give the Army Corps of Engineers adequate funds to build and fortify levees in New Orleans. I take responsibility for consistently burying scientific evidence about global warming and other issues and paying people to reword scientific reports so that they line up with my way of thinking.

"I take responsibility for pretending to play guitar in California while New Orleans was flooding.

"I take responsibility for saying, 'I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees,' when practically anyone who lived in New Orleans for the past 100 years could have anticipated it. I take responsibility for countless phony uses of the word 'folks' instead of 'people' to convince as many knuckle draggers as possible that despite my massive wealth, Yale education and privilege I am really just as dumb and illiterate as they are.

"I take responsibility for the suffering that will follow from my decision -- between photo-op hops to the safest sites in the battered Gulf Coast -- to suspend the Davis-Bacon Act protections for laborers working to rebuild the Gulf Coast and New Orleans. I take responsibility for issuing 'no-bid,' 'cost-plus' contracts to those helping to rebuild hurricane damaged areas so my close personal friends and cronies can make millions taking advantage of the worst natural disaster in America's history -- just like they did in Iraq. I take responsibility for trying to further my political goals of allowing private/religious school vouchers, smashing unions, weakening environmental regulations and giving Halliburton a blank check during this time of great crisis.

"I take responsibility for having failed to say 'I take responsibility' for anything until it was politically expedient to do so. I take responsibility for being such an arrogant, cranky, vindictive twit that my loyal aides have to draw straws to see which unlucky one has to bring me a reality check. I take responsibility for putting myself in the position of being elected to the most powerful position in the world knowing full well that I have neither the experience, the imagination nor the human compassion that is a prerequisite for the job."

Posted by aalkon at September 16, 2005 8:59 AM

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Comments

This about sums it up. I think Barbara Bush's classist and classless remarks gives voice to the attitude of this president.

Posted by: Patrick at September 16, 2005 2:04 PM

I see yet another lame attempt to make one guy do everything.

Would it make you feel better to have a President rush to a scene, weep, then just sit there while the engine of recovery grinds on without him? Do you realize that when you ask for the use of executive powers to circumvent due process, you are asking for a precedent which will, not might, be turned by others into a liability, providing that the immediate executive action was not a failure right away?

Where on Earth did you get the idea that any political figure acts without considering whether his or her job is on the line?

Hey, the news is out: FEMA isn't any slower, faster, or different than it has been before. The difference is that this guy isn't "a man of the people" - like the previous one, the one that sat Air Force 1 on the runway at LAX for two hours so he could get a haircut.

While no number of wrongs make a right, your actual, functional complaint is with Congress.

Posted by: Radwaste at September 17, 2005 6:56 AM

When lefties take off their pants to masturbate, they first write pieces like Grieve's. It's not a meaningful critique of the (insufficient) response of this president to a profound disaster. It's a teenage fantasy wherein all the boundaries and social currents of the world are reduced to what the writer found tolerable in 7th grade.

Wanna review individual fragments? OK!

> I did not perform for you as I did on
> September the 11th, 2001.

That tuesday was hardly Bush's finest hour.

> "I take responsibility for not having
> shown concern...

Lefties are endlessly concerned about appearances... Much more with appearsnces, and interior states of "concern," than with actually get things done. So he lists that right here at the top, in black and white. I love that.

> until it became clear that it was a public
> relations disaster for my administration.

Public relations! Political machinery! Modern communications tools! Our writer is a SOPHISTICATE, and WORLD-WEARY one, and he wants us to know it!

> I take responsibility for the fact that
> Katrina will go down as one of the 10
> deadliest natural disasters in our nation's
> history

Not even that it WAS one of the 10 worst, but it will go DOWN as one. Again, it's alll about appearances.

> -- and that the other nine all happened
> before helicopters were widely available
> for rescue missions.

I'm a technician, not a regional operations guy for anything but video signal distribution, but who in the world seriously thinks government should have helicopters ready to move a hundred and twenty thousand miles on short notice? (Where would the people have been moved? Would they have been FORCED onto helicopters? Should the pilots LITERALLY have known which way the wind was blowing to carry people to the correct destination?) Our writer is deep in an infantile fantasy. I recognize the tone. When I was 6, I wanted to hang out with Batman one day.

> 600 firefighters were stuck in a FEMA
> seminar on customer service in Atlanta.

It's my understanding that it was actually a sexual harrassment seminar. This is the sort of thing championed by lefties and their attorneys.


> for not asking Condoleezza Rice to end
> her shopping spree in New York

What exactly were the international chores that went untended? Were we counting on barometric pressure reports from Cuba or something?

> mobilize soldiers for the relief effort.

More will be made of this in the years to come. The inexplicable stupidity of the left on this matter is beyond ironic: The genie may well be out of the bottle, with soldiers interfering in domestic affairs ever after.

> sending large numbers of National Guard
> members from Mississippi, Louisiana,
> Alabama and Florida to Iraq

Again, people who know things about the military say this was not a factor.

> I take responsibility for allowing the
> nation's poverty rate to rise four
> years in a row.

As if the wealth in the economy were like the tap in the White House restroom. Nice guys let in flow, meanies turn it off.

> its primary duty of protecting its citizens
> without going into further debt.

Never heard that one before. I thought public indebtedness was a good way for us to get our shared needs met. That's the way it's been for the past few thousand years.

> I take responsibility for failing to give
> the Army Corps of Engineers adequate funds
> to build and fortify levees in New Orleans.

He wouldn't have been "giving funds", he'd have been spending our money. And NOBODY wanted him to do that. Certainly not the left enviromentalists, who loathed further disruptions of the landscape by the Corps.

> I take responsibility for consistently
> burying scientific evidence about
> global warming

Have we dispensed with this matter in this forum earlier? Yes, I believe we have.

> paying people to reword scientific reports
> so that they line up with my way of thinking.

Our middle-school-addled author just HATES it when grownups argue with him! Sometimes he just gets so mad he wants to hold his breath 'til he turns blue!

> "I take responsibility for pretending
> to play guitar in California

Has he ever denied it?

> anyone who lived in New Orleans for
> the past 100 years could have
> anticipated it.

Hell, everyone in the country knew this was coming. NO ONE WANTED TO SPEND THE MONEY. Some of us still don't.


> countless phony uses of the word 'folks'
> instead of 'people'

Concern with appearances continues, with our author favoring the preferences of his own background. It's all about wording.

> I am really just as dumb and
> illiterate as they are.

Our author takes comfort in mocking other Americans. Unless it's not mockery and he really believes the rest of the country is stupid.

> Halliburton a blank check during
> this time of great crisis.

Maybe a little blood is drawn here, but it's not like you can call the Boys & Girls clubs for construction of this type.

> responsibility for having failed to say

Appearances and wording... We covered this.

> it was politically expedient to do so.

The author hates contention. We've covered that too.

> human compassion that is a
> prerequisite for the job.

I hate the left, especially the Salonists, for being so stupid. There's been nothing to read there since Paglia left.

That was FUN!

Posted by: Crid at September 17, 2005 2:35 PM

Whoops, that's a hundred and twenty thousand PEOPLE, not miles. But do some math on the back of an envelope and consider the scale of such an airlift. Our author thinks we should have been standing by....

Posted by: Crid at September 17, 2005 2:40 PM

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