Monday, September 05, 2005

It's OK, Mr. Bill! President Sluggo Has a Plan!

President Sluggo has a plan! That’s right, Mr. Bill! After his tour of the Gulf Coast on Friday, President Sluggo returned to Washington to set a new response plan in motion. And the NYT reports he put — who else — Karl Rove in charge:
WASHINGTON, Sept. 4 - Under the command of President Bush's two senior political advisers, the White House rolled out a plan this weekend to contain the political damage from the administration's response to Hurricane Katrina.
As if the failure to respond to the urgent calls for assistance weren't embarrassing enough, officials are now offering excuses for the president’s public relations failure:
In interviews, these Republicans said that the normally nimble White House political operation had fallen short in part because the president and his aides were scattered outside Washington on vacation, leaving no one obviously in charge at a time of great disruption. Mr. Rove and Mr. Bush were in Texas, while Vice President Dick Cheney was at his Wyoming ranch.
Even Times White House fluff reporter Elisabeth Bumiller has captured the seriousness of the situation with this headline:
On the Gulf Coast, a Chance to Inspire Is Slipping Away
Bumiller turns to Doris Kearns Goodwin for perspective:
"These are the kinds of moments when a president gives voice to the country," said Doris Kearns Goodwin, the presidential biographer. "They're remembered forever, if it's done right."
This time, Ms. Goodwin said, "he may be able to say something good in the weeks ahead, but at least as it appears right now, that moment that calls for the president has passed."
Reality seems to be sinking in for DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff:
"I think we need to prepare the country for what's coming," Chertoff says. "What's going to happen when we de-water and remove the water from New Orleans is, we are going to uncover people who have died, maybe hiding in houses, got caught by the flood, people whose remains are going to be found in the streets. There is going to be pollution. It is going to be about as ugly a scene as you can imagine."
Would that he had been prepared a week ago.
(Photo: James Nielsen/Reuters)

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