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Bush advisor to investigate Bush administration response

Despite the Banana Republicesque appearance of the move, the Bush administration has selected his homeland security advisor, Fran Townsend, to lead in internal probe into the federal response to Katrina, Reuters says.

...A separate congressional inquiry will also investigate what went wrong with the federal response. But Bush so far has refused to back calls from Democrats for an independent commission to look at the disaster response.
"The president said he wanted to hold people accountable. This is one of the many ways in which he will do that," the [spokesman Trent Duffy] said.

GOP bill might come due 11/06

The WSJ offers "The GOP's New New Deal. The bill for Katrina may fall due next November", which contains this shocking stat:

To put that $200 billion in perspective, we could give every one of the 500,000 families displaced by Katrina a check for $400,000, and they could each build a beach front home virtually anywhere in America.


Dozens of other reasonable proposals to offset Katrina's tidal wave of deficit spending have been similarly repelled. Mike Pence of Indiana suggested a one-year delay on the multitrillion dollar new prescription drug benefit for senior citizens. For 220 years, seniors have managed without this give-away; one more year of waiting would hardly be an act of cruelty. It would save $40 billion, but there were no takers. Then there was the well-publicized idea by Republicans and several Democrats in Congress to cut $25 billion for bike paths, train-station renovations, nature trails, parking garages, auto museums and 6,000 other such pork projects in the just-enacted highway law. It was torpedoed by the powerful committee chairmen who patched this abominable bill together in the first place...
The government has just allocated $250 million for "counseling and legal services." After 9/11, the federal government authorized tens of millions of dollars for "counseling" to traumatized families of the victims. A Republican Study Committee audit discovered that millions went for "peace" and "diversity" workshops, a "yearlong celebration of trees, gardens and other healing places," theater workshops, anger-management classes and multiculturalism programs to discuss "who we are and why we are here." (Isn't that what churches are for?)
...We all want to see New Orleans rebuilt, but it does not follow that this requires more than $100 billion in federal aid...
...Alas, in the world of compassionate conservatism, the quaint notion of limited federal power has fallen to the wayside in favor of an ethic that has Uncle Sam as first, second and third responder to crisis. FEMA, despite its woeful performance, will grow in size and stature. So will the welfare state. Welcome to the new New Dealism of the GOP...

Dick Morris: Bush will recover from Katrina, make it work

Here's the condensed version of "Hurricane Katrina, Act II - starring George Bush":

The low job approval of Bush's efforts in the week after the storm will fade into history and take its place alongside similar criticism of his slowness to act after the planes hit on Sept. 11... Bush has a job that will occupy most of his second term and will lend it a theme and a grandeur that Sept. 11 imparted to his first four years in office.

Why, you could almost say that both national tragedies were tremendous gifts to the Bush administration.

"The Katrina Speech Bush Should Have Given"

Mac Johnson offers a follow-up to his earlier column entitled "The Katrina Speech Bush Should Have Given":

...My disappointment focuses around several distinct points. Primary among these is that I have had about all I can afford of "compassionate conservatism." Unnecessary deficit spending is neither conservative nor compassionate, and if someone discovers the budgetary difference between a compassionate conservative and a bleeding heart liberal, please, let me know. So far, my best guess is that the government would not grow nearly so quickly under the liberal as it has under the profligate conservative...
...[Bush] could have held this cause up in comparison to all manner of silliness and shamed much of the waste from our current budget. We could then help our fellow Americans and not expand government nearly so much...
...His statement [on race from his Katrina speech] is the standard apology for disproportionate black poverty, disproportionate black crime, and disproportionate black underachievement in America. It is the bread and butter of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson and the standard "Get out the vote" cry of the Democratic Party in the inner cities of America.
And it is simply hogwash. If you were poor and black in 1955, you could offer this explanation for failure truthfully. It no longer is very relevant. No one has been cut off from the opportunity of America by external impediments for forty years. The doors have been thrown open, the way lighted and the government has spent several trillion dollars attempting to guide poor blacks through the door. Yet many remain inside the prison of poverty. Racial discrimination, even if prevalent, cannot injure a people without other assistance...

Bush down in polls

Fox: 41% approve, 51% disapprove (conducted Sep 13 and 14)
And, from a poll taken after Bush's big speech:
35% say Bush has done a good or excellent job
41% say poor
He was doing better before the speech, but that might have a turnaround as the propaganda is cranked up.
Anyone want to provide more information?

Bubba blasts Bush over Katrina, poverty, lack of omnipotence...

Bill Clinton has criticized Our Leader Bush for his response to Katrina on Sunday's "This Week". Your job is to determine why. Is this an attempt to help heal the Bush administration, with perhaps another Bush appearance in which he'll shovel out even more money? Surely, Clinton wouldn't turn on his new best friends in the Bush Family, so something else must be up.
Thus spake Bubba, per AFP:

"If we really wanted to do it right, we would have had lots of buses lined up to take them out"...
He agreed that some responsibility for this lay with the local and state authorities, but pointed the finger, without naming him, at the former director of [FEMA]...

"We"? As in Nagin and Blanco?
Oddly enough, the NYT omits the bus part:

"It's like when they issued the evacuation order... That affects poor people differently. A lot of them in New Orleans didn't have cars. A lot of them who had cars had kinfolk they had to take care of. They didn't have cars, so they couldn't take them out."
"This is a matter of public policy... And whether it's race-based or not, if you give your tax cuts to the rich and hope everything works out all right, and poverty goes up and it disproportionately affects black and brown people, that's a consequence of the action made. That's what they did in the 80's; that's what they've done in this decade. In the middle, we had a different policy."

Evacuation would seem to be a local issue, no? Perhaps Clinton should have been asked about the welfare mindset and whether that played a part in people staying in place. Note also that some people never heard about the evacuation order. Once again, Bush can't be in all places at all times.

While not using the name of Michael D. Brown, the FEMA director who resigned last Monday after criticism of his performance in the Katrina disaster, Mr. Clinton praised the performance of his FEMA director, James Lee Witt, and said Mr. Witt had been especially sensitive to the needs of low-income people because "both of us came out of environments with a disproportionate number of poor people."

Big Government now Republican Tactic

Mac Johnson:

Republicans once fought to reduce the size of government and restore power -- which is manifested in money -- to the people that generated it. Now they fight for a community swimming pool or a fish hatchery or one more lane on a suburban interstate.
Why? Because they can now take credit for it. The bribe they hated when it worked for their opponents, they love when it works for them.
So the party in power has changed and yet Government grows. Affirmative action and quotas grow. The border is opened ever wider. Debt grows. Regulation grows. Productive areas are still taxed to subsidize failed areas. And it's all in a quest for one more vote. It is the pandering of ambitious whores unburdened by principle.
And the Democrats only regret is that they can't be the ones taking full credit for it all.
Teach a man to fish and you may feed him for a lifetime -but who needs that? Give a man a fish and he will know where to beg for his next meal. And since you can just tax and borrow all the fish you need, why not pass out "free" tartar sauce while you're at it?
I am totally disgusted with our President's "plan" for the Gulf Coast. Here's a different plan: quit planning. Let people live according to what is efficient and naturally rewarding. Quit subsidizing life in a hole by the sea. Quit deciding what zones will be enterprising. Quit deciding what color of entrepreneurs should be successful. Quit being the new party of Big Government...

JPod: W's Biggest Gamble

John Podhoretz:

Once again, as it has at every turn in his presidency, crisis has brought out the high-stakes gambler in George W. Bush. He believes in bold action, and in the extraordinarily risky speech he gave last night, bold action is exactly what he promised the American people...
...Unlike most conservatives, he believes that the power and depth of the federal government can be marshaled to improve the lives of people here and abroad by making use of, rather than husbanding, its resources...
Still, in ignoring the small-government sensitivities of conservatives in favor of a grand set of propoals that, had Bill Clinton delivered it, would be receiving hosannas today from The New York Times and The Washington Post, Bush may have done something politically catastrophic to his own presidency....

At that point, the excerpt runs out, and you need to use a free account to the NY Post to access it. Since none of the bugmenot accounts worked, I'm not going to bother as much as I'd like to learn exactly what JPod is referring to.

Limbaugh supports increased presidential, military powers?

Discussing Our Leader's speech, Rush says:

By the way, I thought one of the things that would aggravate the left more than anything in that speech last night that I have not yet found -- they may have done it -- but I haven't yet found a reaction to and it's a huge "See, I Told You So." The president actually said we've learned now that the US military is the one element of our government and the bureaucracy that's best equipped to handle this. And he went on to say that we need to empower them more in circumstances like that. I thought the left would be throwing up red flags, yellow flags, green flags, pink ribbons and everything. You start empowering the military and those people start having babies out of wedlock. Their cows start having babies. I mean, they just lose it. And I haven't heard any reaction to this at all.

Actually, that's one of the things that should bother the right. What Bush was discussing was not empowering the military for action overseas, he discussed empowering them for action here at home. Any American - and especially conservatives - should be disturbed by the possibility of the military taking a more active role in police functions.
He also tries to put a bright smiley face on Bush's LBJ ways.

"Early warnings raised doubt on Bush disaster plans"

WASHINGTON, Sept 17 (Reuters) - In the months before Hurricane Katrina, President George W. Bush sought to cut a key program to help local governments raise their preparedness, and state officials warned of a "total lack of focus" on natural disasters by his homeland-security chief, documents show...
...In July, the National Emergency Management Association wrote lawmakers expressing "grave" concern that still-pending changes proposed by Chertoff would undercut the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
"Our primary concern relates to the total lack of focus on natural-hazards preparedness," David Liebersbach, the association's president, said in the July 27 letter to Sens. Susan Collins, a Republican, and Joseph Lieberman, a Democrat, the leaders of a key Senate committee overseeing the agency...
...[In February, a month after the National Response Plan was created], however, Bush's fiscal 2006 budget proposed a 6 percent cut in funding for Emergency Management Performance Grants, from the $180 million appropriated by Congress in 2005 to $170 million in 2006.
State and local officials protested what they saw as White House cuts targeting the very program that would help them meet Bush's new disaster-preparedness goals.
"The grants are the lifeblood for local programs and, in some cases, it's the difference between having a program in a county and not," said Dewayne West, the director of Emergency Services for Johnston County, North Carolina, and president of the International Association of Emergency Managers...


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