James Wolcott made some very good points about whether Democrats should "holster the fickle fingers of blame" His piece argues an emphatic "NO!!"
No, this is the time for politics, none better, because I can tell you just from being out of NY a few days that a lot of people in this country are shocked and sobered by New Orleans, but they're also worried and pissed off. They're making the connection between the money, manpower, and resources expended in Iraq and how raggedy-ass the rescue effort has been in the Gulf. If you don't say it now when people's nerves are raw and they're paying full attention, it'll be too late once the waters receded and the media-emoting "healing process" begins.
This crisis has been an exceptionally clear lesson in this White House's overall approach: Try to get everyone to believe that any criticism of the president will blow back on the critics because Americans just don't like that sort of thing. Attack "finger-pointing," and make sure your allies madly point fingers at your opponents.
Say no one should play politics with a disaster -- and then make sure Republican leaders in Congress set up a commission to investigate the relief effort without asking Democrats for their input on how the investigation should be carried out.
Bush's critics aren't backing off, because they've been here before. Former Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle, who cooperated with Bush in the days after Sept. 11 but lost his South Dakota seat after a long, White House-inspired campaign accusing him of being "obstructionist," speaks from experience.
"Democrats to this day remain outraged at the blatant efforts that Republicans, especially in the administration, made to undermine the perception of our patriotism and our motivations," Daschle said in an interview. [emphases added]
There is absolutely ZERO percentage in holding back. Holding back means simply that your voice isn't heard and has no effect. And from Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) said: "It's a rule in American politics, that whichever side denounces the other for politicizing the issue is losing the argument." And hoo-boy, are the Republicans complaining about politicization!