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September 02, 2005

Bush's Unfortunate Words Of Encouragement

This morning, President Bush gave what has to be his worst speech ever. And that's saying something. i've consistently criticized the president for his maddening inarticulateness, and today he said exactly the wrong things in exactly the wrong tone.

i understand the general rule of thumb in a situation like this. Presidents usually try to remain optimistic, and sound upbeat yet determined. That was exactly the type of approach that worked the week of 9/11. But after the horror of the last four days, the time for the standard speech template is over.

Bush's tone needed to recognize the reality of the situation on the ground now. The folks in the hell that was once New Orleans don't really give a flying fuck about Trent Lott's porch. They're not thinking about the rebuilding effort or whether the city will ever "be great again." They're worried about water, food, and whether they're going to get raped or killed when the sun goes down tonight.

In short, they're worried about survival, and they're understandably pissed at the government. Instead of recognizing that, the president tried to blow smoke up their collective asses. He should have let them know he was as impatient for results as they are.

Here's the lowpoint of that awful speech.

We've got a lot of rebuilding to do. First, we're going to save lives and stabilize the situation. And then we're going to help these communities rebuild. The good news is -- and it's hard for some to see it now -- that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before. Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house -- he's lost his entire house -- there's going to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch. (Laughter.)
If i was down there, one of the victims, i'd be saying "Fuck Trent Lott, what about my house?!"
Again, I want to thank you all for -- and, Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job. The FEMA Director is working 24 -- (applause) -- they're working 24 hours a day.

Again, my attitude is, if it's not going exactly right, we're going to make it go exactly right. If there's problems, we're going to address the problems. And that's what I've come down to assure people of. And again, I want to thank everybody.

Here, i'd be livid. A "heck of a job?!" What an idiotic thing to say, factually, politically, in every way. With all due respect, President Bush is not the one who gets to make that judgment, and it's way too early to say what kind of job "Brownie" has done. But it's not looking good Brownie, that's for sure.

And just so you know, i'm a huge Bush fan.

Posted by annika, Sep. 2, 2005 | TrackBack (3)
Rubric: annikapunditry


I understand what you are saying. I think that this has caused Bush to loose all support he once had. He is now a true Lame Duck and will get nothing else done. Bush could have been a truely great president. He did the right thing in going to war and getting the economy moving with tax cuts. But, the runaway spending, the errors in Iraq, particularly going in with too few troops, and the situation on the border. These have caused too much weariness among his defenders. Now this very lackluster performance in the greatest single tradgedy in the history of the USA, its all over for him. The only good thing is he will still probably get John Roberts into the court.

Posted by: Kyle on Sep. 2, 2005


I think you should know the dog of my childhood was named Brownie, and my parents made him sleep outside in a dog house.

But seriously, you are quite right about the tone he struck-dimissive of the tragedy and offering a shuck and a smile to people starving to death.

As you know I am a giant fan of this president and his usual erudite, always prepared oratory, but this speech sounds like a real winner. I am only sorry that I can't vote for him a fourth time. Maybe I can vote for Brownie.

Posted by: Strawman on Sep. 2, 2005

i'm not that pessimistic yet. Bush can still turn this Katrina disaster around, but he has to get results. Not pay lip service, he has to just "git 'er done." If that means heads need to roll in the bureacracy, do it.

Posted by: annie on Sep. 2, 2005

Strawman, you do have a sense of humor. Who'd have thunk it?

Posted by: annie on Sep. 2, 2005


Yup, an angry funny guy. It is the best combination.

BTW, since Kyle mentioned John Roberts, I just want to say, with out revealing the connection, but it is very close to JR, that I am comfortable with him as a Supreme court judge. I hope That scares the shit out of you.

Posted by: Strawman on Sep. 2, 2005

it doesn't Strawman. Maybe you ain't such a bad guy after all. After i smack you in the nose with that spitball, how about i buy you a beer?

Posted by: annika on Sep. 2, 2005

"The Horror"? More like the depravity of the thugs of New Orleans. Every year in Detroit they do the same things, burn houses, kill people.

If you wish to be offended, be offended with those at fault. I know she's not much, but LA does have a Governor, state and local coppers, and National Guard troops at the beck and call of the Gov, and no they're not all in Iraq.

Then there is the cartoonish Mayor who has turned out to be the anti-Guliani, and a police force that has lived up to its rep of worst in the nation. Finally we have the dregs of the citizenry themselves who refused to leave when ordered out, and now flail helplessly in the welter of their gore, and the MSM groupthink that insists on a hollywood ending to banal reality. Sorry folks, things don't work that way.

Posted by: Casca on Sep. 2, 2005

"Then there is the cartoonish Mayor who has turned out to be the anti-Guliani"

I kinda liked Nagin as a mayor before this disaster happened. Blame it on my ignorance of local politics. Anyway, at least he was a hell of a lot better than Moriale.

"Finally we have the dregs of the citizenry themselves who refused to leave when ordered out, and now flail helplessly in the welter of their gore"

My uncle is thinking about selling his home in New Orleans when he gets the chance. He says that he loathes the "trash"(dregs) that has been building up in the city for all these years. He doesn't want to raise his kids there with all those looting, murderous bastards still around.

Posted by: reagan80 on Sep. 2, 2005

Bush's speech was definitely lacking to say the least. This doesn't mean that he's to fault for a response many people feel is slow. Let's face it, most of the work is in other people's hands, but a good speech could have done wonders. If Bush is actually directing the response, then FEMA and the National Guard are not doing their job. Bush's only job is to reassure the people that they will be taken care of. Just because they made the mistake of staying behind doesn't mean we should leave them to fend for themselves.
In addition to some reassurance, I'd have liked a speech that would have spelled out the required punishment for those that have fueled the anarchy. In the rubble of the WTC, Bush stated clearly who was going to be held responsible for that disaster. I miss that guy.

Posted by: Trevor on Sep. 2, 2005

"I kinda liked Nagin as a mayor before this disaster happened."

Not having lived in New Orleans once he took office, I mostly heard good things about him. At leasst the fact that he endorsed Jindal over Blanco for governor seemed to be a positive sign of ending business as usual.

"Anyway, at least he was a hell of a lot better than Moriale."

Now THERE'S a backhanded compliment. Marc "my top priority is putting my name on every trash can in the city" Morial was (and still is) a fucking joke. Or do you mean his father, who I gather was smarter and therefore able to be even MORE corrupt?

Posted by: Dave J on Sep. 2, 2005


Not one word on the utter negligence of the City of New Orleans, its Mayor, and Louisiana? They knew for HOW MANY years that this exact tragedy could occur? But it's all the fault of Bush's speaking ability and the feds'?

Posted by: Mark on Sep. 3, 2005

I don't think anyone was saying that the situation in NO was Bush's fault. What was being said was that the federal response wasn't as cool as it could have been (which would have been claimed no matter how good it was, as was pointed out) but that Bush's speech didn't help the perception of the feds doing things right.

If your family was attacked & the police responded ten minutes after they were called & then the chief of police said at a press conference how they were working to catch the guys & the cops responding did a bang up job & the family took the brutal assault like champs all the while intermingling some jokes into the conference you'd be livid. That wouldn't be saying that the assault was the fault of the police; it'd just be saying the police chief made a bad situation worse by careless & unthoughtful remarks. & that's what the criticism of Bush's speech is. It's not assigning blame for the fed's actions. It's assigning blame for some rather unwelcome talk. He tried to paint a rosey picture (relatively speaking) instead of delivering the straight talk that was expected of him.

Pesonally I'm still trying to find the spot in the constitution that allows for any federal funds to be spent on any sort of disaster recovery (as they're talking about) & I'm iffy on using federal resources for non-martial purposes like refugee evacuation. So I hold the feds blameless for any inactivity (& consequently blame them for exceeding the constitution where they aren't directly authorized to act) but most people don't share my views & they expect some accountability from the feds. Bush's speech does not ease those folks' concerns over whether or not the feds "care" or are doing all they can. It makes them think that he's covering up a bad performance by the feds, which doesn't help if you were already wondering whether the performance was bad or not.

Posted by: Publicola on Sep. 3, 2005


You don't seem to have too swift a grasp of how things get done in this country. The city has no resources that could attend to the levies, it is purely the domain of the Army Core of Engineers and for the Bush budgets they were allotted very little money. In fact in all the Bush budgets, congress increased the amount over the Bush proposal for the levies.

So much is the fault of Bush's speech patterns and ignorance but, I agree, probably not the slow response to this disaster. He did, however, offer nothing in his remarks yesterday except his hesitant grin, disingenuous facial expressions which border on tics, a few staged hugs and his overarching allegiance to the hurricane’s maker. More evidence of intelligent design no doubt. I demand that the Stork Theory of Babies (STB) taught in public schools.

Hey Pub,

Why is it that the constitution is involved in the saving of American lives? Your parochial attachment to the Big Doc. is astounding.


You get dumber and more vile each time I read you. You also, I expected no lees, seem to be another big hearted guy with just the right sensitivity toward his fellow Americans. Go crawl back under your rock you racist pig and try to figure out how you would transport your sack of shit self 300 miles north with out a car, bus fare ( or no busses running), two kids under 5 and your infirm mom and no family support in another location. You’re a smart engineering student, I’m sure you can solve this tiny little problem.

Posted by: Strawman on Sep. 3, 2005

Strawman (if that is your real alias)
The constitution created the federal government & assigned certain functions to it. It also made clear that unless those functions were specifically mentioned that the federal government could not perform them. If the federal government is wanted to perform funcions that the constitution did not give it the power to do then it must be amended.
When the federal government does what we consider to be good things despite its lacking the constitutional authority to do so it weakens the limits on the constitution, which makes it easier for the federal government to do bad things.
Here is a brief glimpse into Madison's view of federal action regarding benevolent causes. Here is another post from the same blogger that speculates that by unconstitutionally subsidizing the risk of living in disaster prone areas the federal government may be making the problem worse (i.e. people don't have as much discouragement to live in those areas).
It is not only potentially harmful in the short term but potentially very dangerous in the long term when the federal government starts living beyond its constitutional means. I know you subscribe to the "living constitution" pipedream, but even you must surely realize that when the plain text of a paper is ignored or twisted & convulsed to wring whatever meaning you wish out of it that text becomes worthless & to no effect.
If you tell your kids in January that they have ot be in by 7 p.m. but constantly don't chastise them when they come in at 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. then by August you shouldn't be surprised if they don't take your restrictions seriously. Same with a constitution; if we do not hold the government to it when we think we might recieve benefit from it then how are we supposed to hold the government to it when it means to do us harm?

& in Reagan80's defense, you're a bit quick to be jumping to conclusions of racism. Orleans is a real nice place to visit, but it's also fairly dangerous. A lot of that has to do with an entitlement/dependence mentality that is prevelant in a lot of large cities. Having a corrupt local government (& especially police force) doesn't help. There's a lot of crime & there are a lot of people committing those crimes. No mention was made of the race of the criminals, but you did imply that Reagn80's comments were racist. Now since Reagan80 only mentioned the "trash (dregs)" & "looting, murderous bastards" & he did not ascribe an ethnicity to them. However since you implied his remarks were racist it would be fair to assume that when he mentioned the "trash (dregs)" & "looting, murderous bastards" you did ascribe race to them. I'd say that would make it more likely that you have some racial prejudices than Reagan80 (or his uncle). when someone mentions "criminals" I don't think they're talking about black folks, or white folks, or hispanic folks. I just think they're talking about criminals. if you automatically assume they're talking about a certain racial group, then that's an indicaation that you have some stuff you need to work out.

& as for who is to blame - any city that depends on a system to keep it from eing flooded does have the resources to keep that machinery going. But because of constitutionally questionable policies they abrogated their responsibility to the feds. If you arbitrarily say that I'm responsible for th esafety of your house then you cannot go pointing the finger at me when that safety is compromised. If the Army COE hadn't been assigned the responsibility then either New Oreleans would have squeezed the money & resources out of the cities budget or they would have let it sink & moved on. A is the mre likely course of action.

& just for the helluvit it had nothing to do with the budget allocated - the levies were designed to contain a certain amount of water. That amount of water was exceeded. It would have taken building levees capable of conatining a larger amount of water, which was not a topic of discussion in the last several decades. You just can't realistically say that money was holding them back, when the levees functioned as they were supposed to. They underestimated the outcome of a storm as big as Katrina & no amount of cash would have helped as long as they set their sights on a lesser amount of water from a storm.

Still, it falls on a city & possibly a state to ake preperations for that sort of thing. I simply cannot find a constitutional mandate for the feds to assume any responsibility whatsoever.

Posted by: Publicola on Sep. 3, 2005

Oh & Strawman, since you're not frightened to the point of being armed, tell me how would you protect your sack of shit self, 2 kids under 5 & your infirmed mom from the looters/rapists/thugs that seem to be so rampant in New Orleans? You're an expert in social interaction, I'm sure you'll be able to explain your magyver-ish solution so even I, the scaredy cat that I am, can understand. :D

Posted by: Publicola on Sep. 3, 2005


I'll wait for Ragun to tell me how, he is a very smart fellow, engineer, you know.

Also, you gotta get some brevity, I don't have time to read all your hot air.

Posted by: Strawman on Sep. 3, 2005


The federal government's response becomes less crucial in proportion to how well the levee problem is handled in advance. New Orleans was well aware of the possibility of this exact scenario for a long time. To reduce the destruction of a city into barbs against the President and the federal response while (1) a hundred thousand citizens ignored evacuation orders and (2) decades of negligence went unaccounted for strikes me as unfair.

Posted by: Mark on Sep. 4, 2005

I understand. It must be time consuming enough to spout your own hot air. Get back to me when you have time to actually discuss your excercises in multi-synapse firing.

I don't think the feds should take blame for their inactions. I think they should take blame for their actions that were not authorized by the constitution, but that's a seperate issue.

If Bush would have either kept his mouth shut or talked like he had some sense then it wouldn't be being discussed, let alone misunderstood. I don't think anyone here is trying to blame bush for doing a poor job (although that could be argued - it's just not being argued in this post).

Bush is getting reamed not for the fed's response, but for the poor quality of his speech. No matter how much the feds were or weren't doing, his speech was counter-productive to say the least.

Posted by: Publicola on Sep. 4, 2005

Thanks, Publicola.

"You also, I expected no lees, seem to be another big hearted guy with just the right sensitivity toward his fellow Americans."

You want to judge me, Strawman?

Here's a checklist of all my relatives on my mother's side of the family that live in the Metairie area of N.O.--

- 1 uncle, his wife, 2 kids

- 1 uncle, his wife, 2 kids

- 2 grandparents

- 1 uncle

- 1 uncle

That's 5 of my family's households in the N.O. area that could possibly be flooded or looted now. Since they all made it out of there safely and they're related to me, then I guess they aren't worthy of your sensitivity either.

BTW, I've also been living in N.O. since Fall 2003, douchebag.

"Go crawl back under your rock you racist pig and try to figure out how you would transport your sack of shit self 300 miles north with out a car, bus fare ( or no busses running), two kids under 5 and your infirm mom and no family support in another location."

Not all of the people that stayed behind were poor innocent folks. There were quite a few career criminals(thugs) out there that chose to stay behind to take advantage of the post-Katrina chaos.

Posted by: reagan80 on Sep. 4, 2005

"Finally we have the dregs of the citizenry themselves who refused to leave when ordered out"

Casca......... You are one ignorant fool. How can you be so demeaning and uncaring of another human being? Many of these dregs of the citizenry had no way of moving themselves out of harms way. We, as people have a obligatory right to help whomever, regardless of their social background or ethnicity. In fact, most of the comments on this page disgust me. You all are for pro-life, but when that life becomes reality, you are for letting that life go by the wayside. Let’s hear it for the Christian Right!!!!

Posted by: alnino on Sep. 4, 2005

Ragun (I cajunized it now that I know where you hail from),

Other than telling me of the good fortune of your relatives, who obviously had resources, you did not answer my question but made another specious comment to the effect that some remained behind and willfully entered this hell on earth because it made for good stealing. You are truly an idiot.

Posted by: Strawman on Sep. 5, 2005

Hey Pub,

Do you call the remark -"nobody could have guessed the levee's would break"- poor quality or just plain stupid? EVERYBODY knew the levee's could and very well might break and or be overcome. Bush speaks poorly, always has, very poor command of the English language, (that is the price one pays for not reading) but the real problem is he lies with alacrity. Congratulating Brown for FEMA's response? There was no response. That would be like giving the medal of freedom to George Tenant for his exemplary work preventing the 911 attack.
Oh, wait a minute, he did do that didn't he. What a schmuck.

Posted by: Strawman on Sep. 5, 2005


Only if it is a Brooklyn Lager and you promise to leave your Sig on the West coast.

Posted by: Strawman on Sep. 5, 2005

Bush said some unwise things. But you misunderstand the nature of FEMA. They're not first repsonders - they're long temr responders. Figure in 3 to 4 days minimum before FEMA gets rolling. I didn't dig Bush's speech & I don't dig Bush, but I'm pretty sure it's for very different reasons than you.

Alnino - "obligatory right"??? Please. Elaborate. I'm wanting to hear this. Last I heard a right was discretional - you could excercise it or not. Never heard of one that was madatory, let alone one that was based on the pretense of altruism.

& I assume you're of the philosophy which claims we owe a duty to support every life we're capable of? In other words you'd be cool with abortion, but once the baby is viable you'd insist on supporting it from cradle to grave despite its own capabilities &/or actualities? Or rather, have everyone else support it for you?

Strawman again - speaking of not answering questions - well you'll have to forgive me. Apperently my fear is acting up & that interferes with my reading & I just couldn't seem to make out how you said you'd provide for you & yourn's protection in a NO type enviroment since you're so not afraid of firearms that you wouldn't own one?

Miss Annika,
Never trust a man who gets demanding about gifts & insists you meet him unarmed.

Posted by: Publicola on Sep. 6, 2005

Oh, Pub,

She can go armed, just not a German gun, I'm Jewish you know.

As for you other request, I really can't tell you how I would have protected my family, far too hypothetical a question, whereas my question to Raygun is very reality based. The roads, buses, and such were pretty predictable as compared to a violent looter or two or ten armed or not in groups or not, encountered or not. You just want to bang the drum head of fear, your favorite motivation.

Posted by: Strawman on Sep. 6, 2005

Moxie's favorite troll:

Sorry, I can't answer that question. You can't either so it doesn't matter.

"Other than telling me of the good fortune of your relatives, WHO OBVIOUSLY HAD RESOURCES"

Yeah, my stretched Hummer limousine awaits.....

Publicola: You've dignified his posts enough with your responses. Quit while you are miles ahead. You can enjoy some of Strawman's(a.k.a. Mike) classic posts here on Annie's blog:


Here's a sample:

"How many saw the video from a battle earlier this year shown on CNN of an Iraqi writhing in the street wounded, when a GI laughs, pumps two more rounds into him and his buddies let out a few whoops and they all laugh. He tells a reporter a minute later "These guys are dead now, ya know, that's a good feeling. Let’s do it again." Your army, not mine. Rubes and rednecks with guns.

How do we rationalize the Apache pilots from the first gulf war yakking to each other over the radio as they play a video game of "rocket into truck" They were hovering and shooting rockets into trucks filled with retreating Iraqi soldiers. That's murder too or if you do it with a weapon "system" is it just cowardice or a war crime?"

Before I go, I'll leave this parting thought for y'all to ponder:

[Plus, can you imagine the outcry if the president had somehow forced a bunch of black people from their homes under the guise of a "mandatory evacuation"?]

Posted by: reagan80 on Sep. 6, 2005

What a bizarre country you guys live in! From the outside it's unbelievable that your "modern nation" is a disaster zone down south. We had a flood here last year. It was no big thing, but then, we don't all have guns left, right and centre.

Looking at your State and Federal system - it's shocking.

What's all this about a constitution that is not flexible?

Are you really suggesting that those that are unable to move or require help should just die?

And your "Fema" organisation - you said it takes 3 to 4 days to react. IS THAT REALLY GOOD ENOUGH? Do any of you have any idea that 10,000 people have died?

You seem to be too busy firing cheap shots at each other not to have thought about the human tragedy.

Get over your narrow minded issues. Forget politics, race, religion, mayors, right to life, etc. Focus on the raw issue. Then progress will follow. You can ask your questions and post your appalling snipes later.

From abroad, this seems to be the scandal:

USA knew that a storm was coming. Your government knew it was coming. Fema knew it was coming. Yet not much happened for days.

So the city is 6 metres under water, next to the ocean, with poor (under financed) defences. Are you really that shocked that this happened?

Bush is a shocker. He's done too little too late. You guys must be so red faced when ever he opens his mouth. He gives us Europeans a good laugh.

So go on - throw your cheap shots at me too! It's fun watching you guys bitch all day!!

Posted by: Bob The Builder on Sep. 6, 2005

For anyone who wants to take a crack at Bob's condescening post, his IP address reveals that he is from England. No wonder he kept a secret.

Posted by: annika on Sep. 6, 2005


I misspoke by saying an obligitory right (hell W misspeaks all of the time)... I should of said an obligitory duty. I was wrong in my wording but not my intent.

As far as abortion, personally I feel that it is wrong. I fell that every life is important, but I also feel that freedom of choice is provided to us in the Constitution.

And politics aside, YES we have an obligation to take care of all in need. Isn't that what W and the Christian Right read in their bibles? Hmmmmm, a sense a bit of hypocrasy coming out of DC these days.

Posted by: alnino on Sep. 6, 2005

At the risk of igniting a new thread, i have to ask out of curiosity, alnino: why do you feel that abortion is wrong? you may respond to me by email if you like.

Posted by: annika on Sep. 6, 2005


What is there about Bob's post that is debatable? His observations about the pre- knowledge of the storm and the lack of preparedness are self evident. No debate necessary. Response was slow. I really don't know who to blame exactly but there is NO DOUBT the response could have been and should have better if someone was awake at the switch.

Do I think if it had been Simi Valley that flooded and the folks on the roof had white faces and little blonde kids that the response would have been faster and more earnest-Yes. You only have to look at the press coverage of the missing children in this country. WHen did you ever see a TV or print news story of a missing black child that lasted more than a day? Racisim is institutionalized and runs very deep in America.


I stand by those two posts. In fact I showed the tape of those two event to someone yesterday. Turned her stomach and broke her heart. "Our soldiers did that" she exclaimed. "disgusting, I had no idea" It is making her think twice about the good people of Iraq and our president the Butcher of Crawford-war criminal. I know there are some bad people in Iraq but do you think killing 10000 good people- women and children, and decimating a society was the best way to get at them?

Would you like me to email you the clips?

Posted by: Strawman on Sep. 7, 2005