I wish to apologize to Michael Brown. I have just seen the Associated Press video footage of FEMA's pre-Katrina briefing to President Shemp, and it appears to me that Brownie was, indeed, doing a heckuva job. He anticipated a storm of historic magnitude and even anticipated the chaos in the Superdome as a possible "catastrophe within a catastrophe." He inquired about medical and mortuary services and told his subordinates if there were any territorial disputes to do what they needed to do and he would take the blame. I have seen hours of news footage and read hundreds of press accounts regarding Katrina and the FEMA response. I thought I knew, yet I did not know. Now I have seen and heard and realize that Brownie wasn't the weak link in the criminally neglectful non-action after Katrina. It was President Shemp himself.
My first reaction to the Bush briefing video was "so what?" He's inept and we know it, so what's new? President Shemp did what he always does; say whatever he needs to say at the time, in this case "help is on the way," and leave it to his underlings to take care of the details. What is so blatantly obnoxious is President Shemp's bald-faced lie five days after the hurricane struck that "No one could have anticipated the breach of the levees." Hell, I anticipated the breach of the levees. That's the first thing they teach you as a visitor to New Orleans. "They have to bury the dead above ground here because it's all below sea level." Maybe President Shemp forgot that they call those funny drinks at Pat O'Brien's "Hurricanes" for a reason. And his stammering response about "no situational awareness" (a statement that would make Al Gore wince) on the ground after the hurricane would be more credible had we not now seen evidence that he had detailed situational awareness before the storm hit. I just thought he was vacationing and detached. Now I'm starting to agree with Kanye West, he just doesn't care. There was campaign money to be raised and photo-ops on the schedule. President Shemp knows his priorities.
I understood the gravity of the situation listening to Jeanne Meserve, normally a composed CNN reporter, break down while relating the breaking grim news that after the levee breach people in New Orleans were drowning in the dark with no one to help them. The online headlines read "New Orleans Descends Into Chaos," and because I have a heart, I cried reading those stories. Now, I'm repulsed by the President's conduct, just as I was in watching his conduct for the first ten minutes after he was informed that "the nation is under attack" on 9/11. In fact, during President Shemp's "fly-over" the Gulf Coast to assess the damage, his recorded words were, "It's devastating. It must be doubly devastating on the ground." And then some, Bubba. Maybe President Shemp has a heart, just no soul.
A supervisory board in San Francisco just made news by being the first governmental body to call for the impeachment of the President and Vice President for High Crimes and Misdemeanors. Thirty five years ago, the Bay area was the first to have Free Speech demonstrations and anti-Vietnam War marches, and the rest of the country dismissed them as "peaceniks," and Communists. Big ideas often start in small ways.(Please refer to my previous post "President Hastert"). I am also convinced that this government must be held accountable for their crimes. But I am not in such a hurry to insure that we must prioritize and, IMPEACH CHENEY FIRST.
The tragic thing about this President is that though of good heart but slight of head, he never really wanted to be President in the first place. He is entirely a creation of Karl Rove (read Molly Ivans' "Bushwacked"), who had to first talk him into believing he could be Governor of Texas. Karl Rove first saw President Shemp as a young man with a steely gaze and a lot of charisma and thought, "I can make him president." That is a long way from having an ambitious young man or woman with ideals and ideas of their own who actually wants to be President and sincerely wishes to serve. Bush accepted the Presidency much as he might have accepted the presidency of his college fraternity; like it was a popularity contest or a feather in his cap, and no matter what damage he does to the bylaws, there's no permanent harm done. Now he has done permanent harm. It's there for anyone to see who wishes to see. And those who will suffer the worst, Katrina victims aside, are the Congressional Republicans and administration apologists who have to face the voters in 2006. Then we will see a hurricane of a magnitude that not even President Shemp can ignore.