Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Bush is culpable...

Damned right: it's blame game time.

Though I suspect that Nagin and the governor might bear some blame themsleves.

And people who voted for Bush bear some blame to - they put him in office.

Blame for what?

Let's start with about 40,000 dead bodies:

A co-owner of Shelbyville-based Gowen-Smith Chapel has been deployed to Gulfport, Miss., to help with recovery since Hurricane Katrina, and his business partner here has described the grim task there.

"DMort is telling us to expect up to 40,000 bodies," Dan Buckner said, quoting officials with the Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team, a volunteer arm of Homeland Security.

His partner, Dan Hicks, of Paducah, Ky., was deployed Monday. Buckner, of Dickson, is on standby. Their funeral home is one of several collection sites for donations to be taken to the Red Cross in Fayetteville on Wednesday for transfer to places in need.

The 40,000 estimate does "not include the number of disinterred remains that have been displaced from ... mausoleums," Buckner told the Times-Gazette Monday.

(Usless and tasteless aside: I am reminded of an old episode of the Beverly Hillbillies where Granny is explaining about a "bunch of greens that weren't planted deep enough and at the first heavy rain there were greens all over the place" (paraphrase) to someone who thinks Granny is planning her funeral, and who thinks the greens are a family of Greens...)

And while they were dying, and while others were going hungry and thirsty, where was Bush?

Even as Katrina was bearing down on the Gulf Coast that Sunday night and early Monday, Aug. 28-29, and the National Hurricane Center was warning of growing danger, the White House didn't alter the president's plans to fly from his Texas ranch to the West to promote a new Medicare prescription drug benefit.

By the time Bush landed in Arizona that Monday, the storm was unleashing its fury on Louisiana and Mississippi. The president inserted into his speech only a brief promise of prayers and federal help.

He continued his schedule in California, and he didn't decide until the next day that he should return to Washington. But it took him another day to get there, as he flew back to Texas to spend another night at his home before leaving for the White House.

Once the president was in Washington, the criticism only intensified.

While a drowned New Orleans descended into lawless misery, Bush delivered remarks from the Rose Garden that were seen as flat and corporate. It was a sharp contrast to the commanding, empathetic president the public rallied around in the days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

In a television interview, Bush said - mistakenly - that nobody anticipated the breach of the levees in a serious storm.

Even Monday's trip to the region was a redo, hurriedly arranged by the White House over the weekend after lukewarm response to Bush's first in-person visit to the Gulf Coast last Friday.

Bush had raised eyebrows on his first trip by, among other things, picking Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss. - instead of the thousands of mostly poor and black storm victims - as an example of loss. "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," Bush said with a laugh from an airplane hangar in Mobile, Ala.

In the same remarks, Bush gave FEMA chief Brown - the face for many of the inadequate federal response - a hearty endorsement. "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job," Bush said.

Later in Biloxi, Miss., Bush tried to comfort two stunned women wandering their neighborhood clutching Hefty bags, looking in vain for something to salvage from the rubble of their home. He kept insisting they could find help at a Salvation Army center down the street, even after another bystander had informed him it had been destroyed.

Let's call it his "Marie Antoinette moment." (HT: Americablog)

Bush's Mouthpiece claims the buck stops with Bush. Let's see him resign, then, OK?

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