Skip to comments.Don't Blame Bush for Katrina
Posted on 09/04/2005 2:10:55 PM PDT by truthfinder9
Don't Blame Bush for Katrina Christopher Ruddy Monday, Sept. 5, 2005
George Bush and the federal government are not to blame for the disaster we have witnessed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
In fact, the primary responsibility for the disaster response lies with New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco, and other local officials.
Yet, leading Democrats and their allies in the major media are clearly using this disaster for political purposes and ignoring one obvious fact.
This fact, which needs to be repeated and remembered, is that in our country state and local government have primary responsibility in dealing with local disasters.
The founding fathers devised a federal system of government one that has served us remarkably well through great disasters that have befallen America over more than two centuries.
But if we believe all the major TV networks, George Bush, FEMA, and the Republicans in Congress are all to blame for the current nightmare.
Let's remember that FEMA the Federal Emergency Management Agency was only formed in 1979. It was formed to coordinate and focus federal response to major disasters as an "assistance" to local and state government.
Common sense suggests that local and state government are best able to prepare and plan for local disasters.
Is a Washington bureaucrat better suited to prepare for an earthquake in San Francisco, a hurricane in Florida, or a terrorist act in New York?
When the Sept. 11th attacks took place against the World Trade Center, no one suggested that the Bush administration should have been responsible for New York's disaster response or that federal agents should have been involved in the rescue of those trapped in the buildings.
Last year, four major hurricanes slammed into Florida. Governor Jeb Bush led the disaster response, and did a remarkable job with nothing happening like we have seen in New Orleans.
The primary response in disasters has always come from the local community and state government.
First responders and the manpower to deal with emergencies come from the local communities: police, fire, and medical. Under our federal system, these local departments answer to local authorities, not ones in Washington. These first responders are not even under federal control, nor do they have to follow federal orders.
In addition to local responders, every state in the Union has a National Guard.
State National Guards answer first to the governor of each state, not to the president. The National Guard exists not to defend one state from an invasion by another state, but primarily for emergencies like we have witnessed in New Orleans and in the areas impacted by Katrina. (See: http://www.arng.army.mil/about_us/organization/command_structure.asp)
Tim Russert and the Blame Game
The media would have you believe that this disaster was worsened by a slow response by President Bush and his administration, though the primary responsibility for disaster response has always laid with local and state government.
It is true that federal response was not as fast as it could have been. The president has acknowledged that himself.
But the press has focused on the first 48 hours of federal response, and has not uttered a word about the fact that New Orleans had 48 hours of warning that a major Category 4 or 5 would make landfall near the city. Yet local officials apparently did little to prepare.
Obviously, Gov. Blanco did not effectively deploy her state's National Guard.
And New Orleans' city leaders did almost nothing to evacuate its population having no transportation. In failing to follow their own evacuation plan, these officials did little to pre-position food, water and personnel to deal with the aftermath.
I was surprised Sunday to watch Tim Russert on his show "Meet the Press" tear into Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff. Russert once did not suggest local government had any role to play in dealing with the disaster during his encounter with Chertoff. Russert also asked for Chertoff's resignation.
It took Russert 29 minutes into his show 29 minutes to raise the question of local responsibility. And when he did so with Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard, he did so in a passing way. Broussard brushed off his question with a non-answer.
Broussard began his interview claiming that the American nation had "abandoned" New Orleans.
That is nonsense and a lie.
Broussard, who was never identified by "Meet the Press" as a Democrat, spent much of his time attacking the Bush administration, as has Democratic New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin. Broussard then ended his performance as he collapsed in tears with a demand: "For God's sake, just shut up and send us the money!"
His tears didn't wash with me. My sympathies lay with the tens of thousands of people who have suffered or died because local officials like Broussard, Mayor Nagin, and Governor Kathleen Blanco, also a Democrat, failed at their jobs in a monumental way.
As the former New Orleans mayor Marc Morial told Russert, the disaster in New Orleans was "foreseeable." In fact, New Orleans has long known that such a disaster could take place if a major hurricane hit the city. The municipality even prepared its own "City of New Orleans Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan." It is evident by reading their plan that the city knew evacuation of the civilian population was its primary responsibility not the federal government's.
The city plan acknowledges its responsibility in the document:
As established by the City of New Orleans Charter, the government has jurisdiction and responsibility in disaster response. City government shall coordinate its efforts through the Office of Emergency Preparedness.
Again, the City document also makes clear that decisions involving a proper and orderly evacuation lie with the Governor, Mayor and local authorities. Nowhere is the President or federal government even mentioned:
The authority to order the evacuation of residents threatened by an approaching hurricane is conferred to the Governor by Louisiana Statute. The Governor is granted the power to direct and compel the evacuation of all or part of the population from a stricken or threatened area within the State, if he deems this action necessary for the preservation of life or other disaster mitigation, response or recovery. The same power to order an evacuation conferred upon the Governor is also delegated to each political subdivision of the State by Executive Order. This authority empowers the chief elected official of New Orleans, the Mayor of New Orleans, to order the evacuation of the parish residents threatened by an approaching hurricane.
It is clear the city also recognized it would need to move large portions of its population, and it would need to prepare for such an eventuality:
The City of New Orleans will utilize all available resources to quickly and safely evacuate threatened areas. Those evacuated will be directed to temporary sheltering and feeding facilities as needed. When specific routes of progress are required, evacuees will be directed to those routes. Special arrangements will be made to evacuate persons unable to transport themselves or who require specific life saving assistance. Additional personnel will be recruited to assist in evacuation procedures as needed. . . .
Evacuation procedures for small scale and localized evacuations are conducted per the SOPs of the New Orleans Fire Department and the New Orleans Police Department. However, due to the sheer size and number of persons to be evacuated, should a major tropical weather system or other catastrophic event threaten or impact the area, specifically directed long range planning and coordination of resources and responsibilities efforts must be undertaken. [You can read New Orleans' Emergency Plan for hurricanes at their web site: http://www.cityofno.com/portal.aspx?portal=46&tabid=26]
The city's plan also specifically called for the use of city-owned buses and school buses to evacuate the population. These were apparently never deployed, though the Parish of Plaquemines just south of the city evacuated its population using school buses.
The plan, written well before Katrina was even a tear drop in God's eye, was obviously never heeded or implemented by local leaders.
So why should the New Orleans mayor and Governor Blanco take responsibility when they can blame George Bush and the Republicans in Washington? With Congressional elections fast approaching, Democrats who are out of power in every branch of the federal government know they need to change the tide quickly.
They have apparently seized on the Katrina disaster to harm the President politically.
Criticism of the federal government's response is fair and warranted. But putting full responsibility for this disaster on the Bush administration is way over the top.
Primary responsibility for this disaster remains with local officials like Nagin and Blanco, not President Bush.
Middle America knows it's the DUmmycrats who are supposedly in charge in NO and LA that are responsible. The left, aided once again by the MSM, can spin like a top, but they can't hide the obvious truth. The know-nothing mayor and hand-wringing governor are gross incompetents as are their entire administrations.
Speaking of the lying media:
We need to pray and pray hard for our President, on Fox its been said that President Bush is facing attacks on him for the Iraq war, the Hurricane victims, and rising gas prices.
Where is Vice President Cheney???
Great article. We need more national Republicans as well to go on the offensive in refuting these ridiculous claims by rabid blame-game Democrat politicians. The sheer incompetence & lack of strong leadership by local & state Louisiana politicians especially Gov Blanco and NO mayor Nagin is staggering. I even see that U.S. Senator Mary Landrieux has gotten into the exaggerated attack hyperbole by threatening to punch anyone (including President Bush) for any criticism of local government officials. Apparently however they can dish out as much blame & criticism at the administration & Bush as they wish to.....but respond with shrill attacks when their own incompetence is pointed out. Obviously the MSM will never question the incompetence or bumbling of Louisiana state officials or NO local officials....because of course that would be a No-No to criticize fellow DemoCRAPs.
I have been thinking why W would cause this hurricane. I think it was to drive Joanie Phony, Hanoi Jane and Mother Cindy off the front page. Worked didnt it?
This says all you ever needed to know about Democrats .....
They haven't learned. Old Media is still at it. Viewership and readership down. Down! It is dropping quicker than than the flood waters.
And then there is FR to remind everyone of who was Responsible. I like that!
Next question. Who in N.O. is going to count the votes in the coming election? There is no city! The people are gone.
The people have swelled the populations of other cities but can't effect the vote. Political favoritism is broken.
And the dying continues, with fear of thyphoid, cholera and other vile diseases.
But, Old Media wants to blame the wrong people, while the nation is learning better, again, thanks to FR.
The Dimocrats would rather have the political issue than save their own people. I hae to be that cynical, but I have come to believe it.
Blanco did not authorize Federal help because of the political situation, Period. She did not want to lose control or give Bush the good publicity of doing a good job.
I pity the people of NO, but have nothing but disgust for Nagin, Blanco, the Democrat politicians and the MSM.
Some of us just shake our heads in bemusement at the knee jerk Demopublican partisans. None of them seem to even consider this option: the major, the governor AND the president ALL screwed up big time.
Don't we have a Politburo?!!
The BEST "point"I heard so far was made by a New Orleanian who"escaped"on Thursday.He said that The Lib DemonRats like Mary Landrieu never have ANY trouble evacuating The Projects when they want to get out the vote!The DemonRats send buses filled with box lunches,etc.,etc.,to pick these people up and take them to the polls!!!I guess it's just too bad Katrina came when there was no pendind election cycle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I agree completely with your analysis. I think most of main stream America also understands what you say. The left is digging its own grave...politically speaking.
The city leaders had at least two full days to use these hundreds of buses to evac the poor, exactly as their own emergency management plan called for.
Here's the southeast Louisiana evac plan supplement, most recently revised in 2000. Go to page 13, read paragraph 5. It states:
5. The primary means of hurricane evacuation will be personal vehicles. School and municipal buses, government-owned vehicles and vehicles provided by volunteer agencies may be used to provide transportation for individuals who lack transportation and require assistance in evacuating.
I believe the MSM realizes that it has lost all moderates, libertarians, and conservatives to Fox and the blogosphere, and now is deliberately trying to hang onto what's left: the lefty moonbat demographic.
The democrats have shifted blame for this with a master stroke of just being quiet and not doing any press except small local press.
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