After writing “Now is the time for finger-pointing” I’ve heard from some people who questioned the appropriateness of bashing the Bush administration for bungling Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. Here’s my considered thoughtful response:
Hell, yes, it is appropriate.
Let me explain. I agree with those commenters that I’ve been focused much more on pointing out the failings of the federal response in general, and of FEMA’s response in particular, than with supporting the relief efforts. Yet personally, we’ve contributed $400 to those efforts, $300 of which has gone to animal rescue organizations.
So we’ve been putting our checkbook where my mouth isn’t. But here’s the thing: if a drunk driver is weaving down the road, running into pedestrians and other cars, wreaking havoc wherever he goes, there are two sorts of needed responses.
(1) Help the victims of his folly, and (2) Stop the guy before he commits more damage.
It’s important to do both things at once. It’d be crazy to say, “First we have to get ambulances to the scene and treat the victims, then we can send police cars after the drunk driver.”
This is exactly analogous with how I view the drunken policies of the Bush administration. Our president is intoxicated with his faith-based and utterly unrealistic view of the world. He isn’t seeing straight, and he can’t drive either domestic or foreign policy worth a damn.
Worst of all, he doesn’t know that he’s drunk. And he won’t listen to those who have a sober perception of what is going on.
Thus just as a passerby on the sidewalk is eminently justified in pointing his finger down the road at the car that wobbily speeded past him, helping the pursuing police to arrest the driver, equally justified are all the bloggers and journalists who have been pointing out the failures of the federal hurricane relief effort.
For example, “Disarray Marked the Path From Hurricane to Anarchy” in today’s New York Times.
To stand meekly by while someone drives drunk, when you can help do something about it, is unconscionable. The same applies to letting the Bush administration carry on with its insanely out-of-control policy decisions that bear little relation to reality.
It was crazy to think that massive tax cuts wouldn’t lead to equally massive deficits. Bush was told this. Did the tax cuts anyway.
It was crazy to think that American soldiers would be viewed as liberators in Iraq and that it would be easy to establish a Western-style democracy. Bush was told this. Did the invasion anyway.
It was crazy to think that the United States could become more energy independent by keeping auto mileage standards absurdly low and giving tax breaks to oil companies already rolling in cash. Bush was told this. Did the energy bill anyway.
It was crazy to think that our nation’s stem cell research could prosper by allowing federal funds to support work on only a few degraded stem cell lines. Bush was told this. Did the stem cell restrictions anyway.
It was crazy to think that stripping FEMA of its independence and capacity for quick response to disasters, along with appointing an incompetent director, wouldn’t leave the agency incapable of adequately responding to a crisis like Hurricane Katrina. Bush was told this. Did the FEMA dismantling anyway.
The Bush administration has to be stopped before it kills again.
Fingers have to be pointed until the careening drunken policies are arrested and pronounced guilty as charged.