2005/09/08

Democrats (finally!!) Attack!

From my email inbox:

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean sent out an email Sept 6th saying: "The federal response over these crucial first days has been totally unacceptable."

Minority House Leader Nancy Pelosi rips into emergency management team under Bush Sept 7th saying:

On NBC's Meet the Press I saw Aaron Broussard, the president of Jefferson Parish in New Orleans, weeping as he told of the horrors he had seen as a result of Hurricane Katrina. But he also told of a second disaster -- the response of our federal government.

He told a story of how FEMA, an Executive branch agency, turned away three truckloads of water, saying they weren't needed. He told a story of how the Coast Guard arrived with 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel -- desperately needed -- only for FEMA to tell them not to give the fuel to Broussard. President Bush must give FEMA qualified, competent leadership now.
[Emphases in original]

2004 Presidential Candidate John Kerry talks about the "Paris Hilton Tax Cut" (He doesn't use that term, but he doesn't use the Republican term "Death Tax" either, calling it "tax cuts for the wealthy".) also on Sept 7th:

This is a test of what kind of country we are. Are we an America that responds to crisis by helping the most vulnerable in times of need, or do we just give more to those who have the most?

And California Senator Barbara Boxer also jumped in by sending out a message on Sept 7th saying:

President Bush has termed what happened on the ground in the Gulf Coast as "unacceptable." And he should.

But what is also unacceptable to me is that the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency has absolutely no experience in disaster relief. It is unacceptable to me that after four years of being told that our homeland security is improving, the system utterly failed its first test. It is unacceptable to me that an untold number of people died or were needlessly traumatized in the horror of the Superdome and New Orleans Convention Center because of a chaotic federal response.

There will be another word I will focus on in coming days: accountability.

Yahoo! News also reports that Senator Hillary Clinton, Senator John Edwards and Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid are also making assertive speeches. A consultant pointed out that:

Democrats also were reluctant to criticize the president as the nation rallied behind him after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Such caution, however, is not a factor in the open season on Bush's handling of the hurricane.

"It is different when you face a foreign enemy on the one hand versus a domestic failure on the other," Democratic consultant Mark Mellman said.

All in all, looks like a pretty satisfactory stance for Democrats to be taking. It took awhile to get there as they obviously had their fingers to the wind, trying to guess whether citizen outrage would disappear into "the memory hole" or would grow. Looks like the White House press conference on Sept 6th definitely helped. As Jon Stewart (Comedy Central - Daily Show) pointed out a few weeks back about another subject "Reporters were acting like, wow....amazing...like uh, REPORTERS!" BTW, DailyKos has called for an Emmy Award to be awarded to Jon for last night's Daily Show. I saw that show myself. Marvelous speech!!!! Well worth reading!

As liberal blogs have hugely increased their readership at the same time conservative blogs have remained largely static, the Democrats probably don't have much to worry about concerning the long-term PR impact of Katrina and the Bush Administration response :

Almost every political news blog has experienced an increase in traffic over the past week. However, once again, the progressive blogosphere and netroots have experienced significantly larger traffic gains than their conservative rival.

Also, AmericaBlog concludes that Bush just gets too focused on his priorities of the moment and ignores the wider world outside of his perspective. A perfectly acceptable quality in say, a middle-school principal, but absolutely disastrous in a US President.

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