Home > Political Ranting > Operation Rescue Bush

Operation Rescue Bush

September 17th, 2005

One thing you have to give the Bush administration: they’re so slick sometimes they make “Slick Willie” look like a talentless ametuer. Yes, they were off their game in the first few days after things blew up in the post-Katrina debacle. They got a lot better very fast, but by that time, things were already too far gone. No amount of Rovian maneuvering could dodge responsibility for what happened.

So Bush is taking a new tack: first, he’s trying out the political trump card of “accepting responsibility.” Sometimes in the past, when politicians have taken this move, it gives them a way out. When the FBI move on the Koresh compound in Waco, Texas turned disastrous, Janet Reno immediately accepted responsibility, and offered to resign if the president asked it of her. She received a great deal of respect for doing that, because she did in fact put her reputation and her career on the line. Clinton himself received far less respect when he too claimed full responsibility a short while later; it had too much of the “hey, that worked, so me, too” feel to it. Reno’s claim felt genuine; Clinton’s rang less true.

Bush’s claim is about as fake as a breath mint on top of a heap of steaming wet horse manure. Now, if on September 2nd, say, when people were experiencing hell in Louisiana and elsewhere and the fact of the government screw-up was just dawning, had Bush taken responsibility then, that would have been gutsy. But he didn’t. He waited another two weeks, and before claiming “responsibility,” he tried blaming the Democratic mayor of New Orleans and the Democratic governor of Louisiana. And when that didn’t work, he tried the old “now’s not the time,” “let’s not play politics,” and “let’s not play the blame game” tactic. When that didn’t work, he removed Michael Brown from the rescue effort, and when that didn’t work, he fired Brown. And still it didn’t work.

That’s when he “accepted responsibility,” stunning the nation–after all, Bush always refused to take responsibility for anything, refused to admit that he’d ever made a mistake. And probably a lot of Americans took his claim of responsibility seriously, and credit him for it. Which they should not, of course. An immediate claim when the feces were still flying into the rotating blades would have been worthy of respect, but only after blaming everyone else and trying everything else?

When you’ve tried every last out and come to realize that you’re going to be seen as responsible no matter what, “accepting responsibility” means nothing. It is not a “get out of jail free” card. It does not mean that he gets to avoid criticism now. If anything, it is the last affirmation that all the criticism heaped on him is justifiable and true–which, when you think about it, is part of what “being responsible” is really all about.

The second move Bush is making is to act like a Democrat. He cares about the poor. He cares about minorities. He cares about inequalities. Really? What a set of solid brass cajones does he have to have to make that claim? After five years of tax cuts for the rich, inaction on poverty, massive corporate welfare and handouts, cuts in social services and no raise in the minimum wage–after five years of the rift between the poor and the rich growing more and more and more massive, Bush suddenly decides he’s a Democrat? The phoniness of all of this is shown up just by a single recent act he took: to suspend the Bacon-Davis Act for the rebuilding after Katrina, and as a result, slash the wages of the people in the region who might otherwise use the good wages to buy homes and cars and rebuild their lives as well. Bush is pushing people under, people who are trying to keep their heads above water. If he cared about inequality, he’d raise their wages, not cut them.

And the uber-slick Rovian Bush is back. He wants to take care of the poor. He’s leading the nation in prayer. He’s got the guts to take responsibility. He’s going to spend $200 billion on the reconstruction, and make sure that we beat poverty while we’re at it. And no tax hikes to pay for it, either–we wouldn’t want to hurt Americans with such a thing. Instead, we’ll simply “cut unnecessary spending” (read: Democratic programs, mostly for the poor), and pile the rest on to the already-crippling deficit. Heck, that thing’s so big and bloated already, who’ll notice more?

Certainly we don’t want all that money ending up in the hands of the poor–they don’t know how to spend it right, like rich people do. The “recovery account” handouts news has the right wing appalled at Bush’s pledge to give a $5,000 check to each adult evacuee to help go find a job. Already right-wingers are outraged, and rumors of the New Orleans poor going out and blowing it all on designer handbags are already making it into the right-wing blogosphere.

$5,000 isn’t chicken feed, but if your home is gone, your possessions gone, your property swamped and worth nothing, your job gone and you’re in a strange new place in the midst of a jobless “recovery,” $5,000 will not last very long. And if you do the math, you’ll see that even if a million people get that handout, it still will only be a few percent of the total Bush plans to spend.

I have a sneaking feeling that Bush hasn’t changed one iota, that this is nothing but another Rovian ploy, slicker than ever. Think about it. Who’s going to get the lion’s share of that $200 billion? Where will the money really end up? Just ask yourself: where did it end up in Iraq?

After all, the Bush people are hardly new at this.

Categories: Political Ranting Tags: by
  1. Tim Kane
    September 18th, 2005 at 06:35 | #1

    Excellent analysis. I would aslo add this: As Josh Marshall has stated he is proposing greater federal authority and use of the military in future situations. In other words he is not attacking incompetence, he’s giving incompetence greater authority.

    Now all of this is troubling in and of itself, but, as the Air Force Academy’s religious persecution problems indicate, the Military is in the process of becoming Wingnutized by the religious right. There is creap coming from multiple directions: The political use of Military on our streets to inforce order and a military that is increasingly in the hold of the far right wing religious nutcases. 10 – 15 years from now we are looking at a society that is ruled over by Neocon’s who are either very rich or very religious, all reinforced by a military command structure of the same Neocons. Meanwhile gutting American institutions and the government itself and continued global warming means more Floods, Hurricanes, Blizzards (power outages) and then comes the odd earth quake or two. Pretty soon it becomes obvious that the Government can’t clean up all of these messess which means they wont clean up any of these messes. The rich will live on high, safe, dry ground in gated communities, the poor will be dying in the streets. Elections will be fixed, there will be no trail to expose, and the opposition will be so poor and disenfranchised economically they won’t beable to compete politically. Each time a disaster occurs, the military will take to the streets, and eventually the only place you will be able to apply for a job is through the religious out-placement centers, meaning you wont’ be able to get a job unless you cow tow to the correct orthodoxy.

    That is the society America is imposing upon itself. We will not fall to superior societies, of competing systems, we will simply collapse into our own self imposed way, in a manner very similar to how Japan collapsed into a dark age during its medieval period: the concentration of wealth and power into smaller and smaller estates, and those wealthy and powerfull using there influence to simply avoid to fund the state. This also did in the roman empire and a host of other societies in history.

    “…The world will slip into a new dark age…” Winston Churchill before the battle of Britain.

  2. ykw
    September 18th, 2005 at 13:49 | #2

    Maybe the $200b number is like the 10K number in “up to 10K casualties”, which was possibly hyped up, by various parties, for various reasons (e.g. helps pull people in to watch the news shows).

    Perhaps total losses may be $200b, yet gov’t payouts may be more like < $100b.

Comments are closed.