The Louisiana Sellout
Refusing to be pulled from the golf course or to cut his vacation short by more than a few hours, Bush exercised leadership clearly below and behind the call of duty. In keeping with his National Guard reputation, he was AWOL. Worse, all his appointed sycophants were also on vacation. The Director of Homeland Security claimed to be unaware of the critical situation and FEMA Director Brown was likewise flummoxed to learn that there was a crisis when questioned by the press. Jefferson orchestrated the Louisiana Purchase and now Bush has orchestrated the Louisiana Sellout.
Bush has indeed earned his place in history as the "dress-up" leader of Mission Accomplished fame who preached compassionate conservatism, but given a 3-day warning of impending disaster in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast would not be deterred from his staying the course of his vacation. He also took a month vacation just prior to the 9/11 attack and then sat stunned in a classroom mugging for a photo-op after ignoring warnings about al Qaeda. Once again, he was determined to stay the course and he was able to focus on his vacation. This is the same president that has made the term "Commander-in-Chief" a term that can only be used while referring to him and he officially eliminated the term for CINCPAC or CINC SOUTHCOM, etc. He wanted it to be absolutely clear that there was only ONE Commander-in-Chief. The combination of a massive ego combined with miniscule ability has produced incompetence of new proportions. Because of his ego, he is unable to take criticism and so he selects appointees based on loyalty as the most critical qualification.
Recent reports leaking from the White House indicate that the Bush staff puts out weather reports such as "calm," meaning that it is safe to approach the president, or "storm warnings," meaning that it is unsafe to brief or interact with a shaky Bush. The president has fired anybody who dared to provide unfavorable information from the Secretary of the Treasury on down. He announces Shinseki's retirement as soon as that general had the courage to tell Bush that it would take several hundred thousand to secure Iraq.
It is tragically ironic that the same staff that speaks of weather reports about the Commander-in-Chief failed to heed the three-day warning of the high category hurricane and take even the most basic steps to prepare for the storm in the Gulf of Mexico. He also chose to cut the budget for the repair of the very levees that failed and caused flooding of New Orleans from Lake Pontchartrain. This president must be first on his bicycle or there will be hell to pay. This president claims to have choked on a pretzel and bruised his head during a Super Bowl. This president has boasted "bring it on" to our enemies. This president has claimed to be compassionate while enabling the worst barbarity of desperate people in New Orleans by demonstrated disregard and lack of basic leadership. This is the president who refuses to admit an error and claims to be in charge. He shows signs of paranoia that may or may not be treatable given his history of suspended alcoholism and may need care. How long can we continue to march the March of Folly behind the naked Emperor claiming to have new clothes?
Even if we cannot impeach the apparently insane, do we all need to pretend that he is OK? Even after the disaster of the Louisiana Sellout, he has refused assistance from many organizations that could provide specific assistance. Instead, he has shown preference for "faith-based" organizations including that of Rev. Robertson of recent fame for promoting assassination of Venezuela's Chavez. Think about it. We have an incompetent and egocentric president and a loyal party that is ready to support him at the expense of the poor and disadvantaged in New Orleans and elsewhere. Let us not fall into the "no criticism" trap. It did not work for Iraq. It did not work for a warned emergency. Incompetence is its own reward, but we are all being punished. Odds are that Halliburton will do the recovery on a no-bid basis.