Schwarzenegger Blasts Bush On Response To California Levee Problem
On one side, President George W. Bush who refused to declare a pre-emptive disaster for California’s iffy levees. Bush’s political numbers in California are best described by this book title.
On the other side, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a politico whose political numbers could also be found where the earthworms reside. Schwarzenegger is rebounding from more than a year of political disaster and gearing up for what could be a tough re-election campaign.
The AP reports that the California governor is highly scornful of Bush’s offer to help so far:
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger sharply criticized the Bush administration Saturday for refusing to declare a pre-emptive federal disaster for California’s fragile levees.
President Bush offered California some aid Friday, issuing a rare directive letting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers help with badly needed levee repairs.
“I think the response that the federal government has given us is unacceptable,” Schwarzenegger said. “We need the federal government to come in and help us so we can build the levees as quickly as possible.”
The state would begin strengthening the levees in June regardless of federal help, he said.
“We’re not going to wait for their response,” Schwarzenegger said. “We have seen what happens in New Orleans when people waited for the federal government. Their response was terrible there and we don’t want to be a victim of that.”
That’s called not mincing words. MORE:
The pointed remarks came a day after the governor met briefly with Bush in San Jose, when Schwarzenegger repeated previous requests for the disaster declaration.
Bush’s chief environmental adviser, James Connaughton, said Friday the kind of declaration Schwarzenegger sought required that a disaster had already occurred.
Pre-emptive disaster declarations are only issued when a catastrophe was imminent, he said.
But, in terms of what may be facing the GOP and Schwarzenegger at the polls, isn’t that the case?