Friday, January 13, 2006

A heckuva place to bring your family

Mr. Bush, you let me down. You let us all down.

In my last post, I hoped that your chief-of-staff's quoted remarks indicated you really didn't know what was going on in and on the Gulf Coast in general. I hoped that exposure to the reality on the ground would move your heart and lead to a change in policy.

Instead, you chose to act out the lines from Louisiana 1927 about President Coleridge and the "little fat man" newspaper reporter.

I guess, like the Grinch, your heart is two sizes too small. That, or nobody in local leadership made a point of grabbing you by the collar and dragging you to Lakeview or Waveland and saying "what the heck are you going to do about this." I'm not sure heck is the word they would use, but you get the idea.

To review Mr. Bush's visit, let's start first with the Times-Picayune's headline on the subject:

"President avoids endorsing Baker bill"

Here's Mayor Ray Nagin's account of the closed door meeting, from today's T-P:
Nagin, who attended the powwow and sat on the president's left, said Bush remains skeptical about the [Baker] bill in its current form. Nagin said the president's doubts center on the legislation's ultimate price tag, and on the unprecedented federal involvement in a local matter Baker's plan may represent.
Mr. Bush apparently doesn't believe that the people in Louisiana who lost everything--far beyond the coverage of even reasonably prudent insurance--should received even 60 cents on the dollar. I can just hear his signature, telegraphic delivery in my head. "Nope. No can do. Too expensive." Instead, the survivors will all likely be forced into the tender mercies of the new bankruptcy bill. To paraphrase his father: "Message: Your life is ruined, and I get paid either way."

As for the "unprecedented federal involvement in a local matter," I noticed that neither Louisiana nor North Dakota were attacked on 9-11. I'd like you to explain why we should have to send sons and daughters into harm's way for for that horrific "local matter". I'd like to know why the Congress rushed through a generous aid package for the direct victims of 9-11 in that local matter.

Then, there's the T-P's second headline, part of which reads: "[Bush] remains coy on Catagory Five levees."

Wonderful. Just what we all needed to hear. Thanks for coming. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Finally, the Prez left us one of his inscruitable bits of folk wisdom. "It's a heck of a place to bring your family." (The Associated Press, I noted, rendered this as "heckuva", as in this post's headline.

I know the President thinks a double entendre is something he once had too many of at Pat O's, but I think anybody who cares enough about New Orleans to be reading this wouldn't miss this one, even if they'd knocked back half-a-dozen flaming faux pas.

Mr. Bush, my wife leaves for New Orleans on Sunday. We are trying to lineup schools, housing prospects, all of the necessities of life in New Orleans. My wife toured Lakeview with her new boss before she accepted the job. We know exactly what kind of a place it is to bring one's family right now.

We're coming anyway.

Thanks for all your support.

Great entry. I cited it in mine. Very well said. Watching him was embarrassing.
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"And when we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard nor welcome, but when we are silent we are still afraid. So it is better to speak remembering we were never meant to survive." -- Audie Lorde

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