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9/02/2005

Right-wingers on Bush and Katrina

Ass Missile says that those critical of the Bush administration's "response" to the Katrina disaster just want to "bash President Bush."

But a non-trivial portion of the criticism of Bush is coming from the Right. Here's what some right-wingers had to say:

Newt Gingrich:
I think it puts into question all of the Homeland Security and Northern Command planning for the last four years, because if we can't respond faster than this to an event we saw coming across the Gulf for days, then why do we think we're prepared to respond to a nuclear or biological attack?
John Derbyshire:
...the feds look awful, and that can't but reflect on the President. For what we spend on them, federal employees should be swarming over the disaster area. There should be one per resident.

Bob Livingston was just on FNC, telling us to "Open our hearts, and open our wallets." I did open my wallet, Bob -- I sent north of $20,000 to the feds last year. What happened to it?

... 'The results are not acceptable,' he said lamely. Well, obviously. Don't the feds have legions of troops, flights of helicopters, warehouses full of food...? Where are they? What the hell use is the federal government?

It impacts everything. 'Where's the National Guard?' asked Shep Smith yesterday. To the minds of several million people watching him, the answer must have occurred, as it did to me: 'Oh, they're in Iraq...'
Jonah Goldberg:
As I think about what the finger-pointers are likely to say in the aftermath of all this it's hard not to credit some of their complaints. For years, Democrats complained that we needed to spend more on "first-responders." I took this for what it often was: an attempt to pad municipal budgets with pork. But, one must concede it wasn't entirely about that either. And while it's likely this disaster would have presented many if not most of the challenges we're seeing this week, even if all that money had been spent as the Democrats wanted, it remains hard to dispute that it would have been better spent than much of the garbage in recent budgets.

And that's the point: The choice isn't between a lean, fiscally responsible, Republican budget and a porcine Democratic budget which included money for first responders. The Republican Congress has proven to be just about as disgusting in its spending as a Democratic Congress might have been. Sure, perhaps Democrats would have spent a bit more, but Republicans are supposed to be against bloated government and the stealing of tax dollars for personal projects and missions. So whatever pennies we've hypothetically saved with Republicans, their hypocrisy and betrayal of principle more than compensates.

So the question is, would the money have been better spent if the Republicans hadn't gotten their way? And, though it sickens me to say so, that is at best an open question. I have the utmost faith in the kleptocratic and dysfunctional governments of New Orleans and Louisiana to waste and steal money. But, we were supposed to be preparing --at the national level -- for a major terrorist attack for the last four years. I just don't see much evidence of that preparation. Congress re-assembled lickity-split to deal with Terri Schiavo -- a decision that didn't and does not bother me the way it bothers some. But however you define the issues involved in that case, in terms of real human suffering they are very hard to stack-up against what's happened in New Orleans.
The Manchester Union-Leader:
"A better leader would have flown straight to the disaster zone and announced the immediate mobilization of every available resource to rescue the stranded, find and bury the dead, and keep the survivors fed, clothed, sheltered and free of disease."
LaShawn Barber:
Second, why, someone please tell me, is our federal government so unprepared and inept? It’s been four days since the storm ended, and people are still without food and water. Dead bodies are sitting on the side of the road. Can you imagine, God forbid it, if Islamofascists decided to unleash whatever bombs they have? I’m not talking about terrorist thugs coming into the country; I’m talking about the ones already here, the Allah-loving America haters we foolishly let in.

It’s been almost 4 years since 9/11. We’ve spent BILLIONS of dollars on so-called homeland security. We watched in disgusted amazement when Bush created yet another federal agency, but we thought he knew what he was doing. We must protect the homeland.

The infuriatingly sad reality is that our government will not be able to protect us or defend the homeland in the event of a massive terrorist attack.

...Liberals hate George Bush, and no matter what he does, they’ll use anything and anyone to get at him. I don’t hate the man. I voted for him. I want him to succeed, but more than that, I want to be safe, feel safe, and I don’t. The federal government’s response to Hurricane Katrina has been an epic and humiliating embarrassment.

...It’s September 2. The storm ended four days ago. People have been waiting, begging for help, and all politicians do is talk, talk, talk. Doctors and nurses are begging for help. The aftermath of the storm is much worse than the storm itself.

We send billions of dollars overseas. We help everyone else, but we can’t even help ourselves. Why was the federal government slow to respond? Why weren’t rescue efforts coordinated? Isn’t that what all those billions of homeland security dollars were supposed to do? Why are people still waiting to be rescued?

I’m ashamed of this country and its bumbling leadership today...
Defend Bush if you must, but you can't pretend the criticism is coming only from the left.


UPDATE: From AMERICAblog:
Rep. Charles W. Boustany Jr., (R-La.), said he spent the past 48 hours urging the Bush administration to send help. "I started making calls and trying to impress upon the White House and others that something needed to be done," he said. "The State resources were being overwhelmed, and we needed direct federal assistance, command and control, and security -- all three of which are lacking."

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