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Posted by on Aug 28, 2008 in At TMV | 28 comments

The Republicans’ Perfect Storm?


If the Bush Years were plotted on a fever chart, the key turning point triggering the descent to the Great Abyss of Unpopularity was Hurricane Katrina.

While the war in Iraq remained pretty much an abstraction, albeit an increasingly unpleasant one, when the Category 5 storm made landfall three year ago today, people were incredulous, incensed and finally angered that the White House’s response was an indifference that put the final nail in the coffin of compassionate conservatism.

As a great believer in karma, it is difficult for me to not notice that the primary projected track of Tropical Storm Gustav is virtually identical to Katrina’s. It is probable that Gustav will regain hurricane strength as it enters warmer Gulf of Mexico waters and possible that it will make landfall on Monday as the Republican National Convention opens.

I hope that I am wrong, and with Gustav still relatively far out, the tracking error can be upwards of 300 miles.

Bush diehards have not suffered in the least for their leader’s dereliction and let’s remember that Focus on the Family, that proudly Republican organization, has prayed to God that he rain on Barack Obama’s acceptance speech tonight.

As it is, the four-day circus in St. Paul will be an exercise in unreality, while the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast have had way too much of it.

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Copyright 2008 The Moderate Voice
  • DLS

    I knew someone would follow my lead about Gustav, though I had hoped in a better way.

    What are you going to do if the GOP convention surprises everyone and proves to be interesting, Shaun? (besides deny it is so if it is so, that is)

  • What are you going to do if the GOP convention surprises everyone and proves to be interesting, Shaun?

    Has anyone ever said it won’t be interesting? It just doesn’t have the star power of the DNC. But while the GOP lacks star power, they more than make up for it with shameless mudslinging and the spectacle of having one of the worst presidents ever giving an important speech.

  • I have little to no hope that the GOP convention will be any more exciting or interesting than the Democratic one. (i.e. not very) Probably less so, since it lacks the media sideshow of whether or not the Clintons would torpedo the nominee. It’s a done deal and it will be more speeches and posturing. With a little effort we could probably write the speeches we’ll be hearing now and not miss by more than 20% of the words.

    Oh, and Shaun… Katrina actually came ashore as a Cat 4, though it had previously been a Cat 5 out to sea for a bit there.

  • DdW

    I hope, with Shaun, that Gustav doesn’t hit New Orleans, and–if it does–that there will be minimal casualties and damage.

    But, talk about poetic justice….

  • kritt11

    I must say- I am eagerly awaiting the GOP convention. I’m sure the party’s die-hards will love every minute.
    We have forgotten momentarily that their divisions are at least as great as the Democrats on the big issues. It will be interesting to see how they tie in McCain with his immediate predecessors, who are at the moment, so highly unpopular.

  • Silhouette

    “While the war in Iraq remained pretty much an abstraction, albeit an increasingly unpleasant one.”


    I used to work in violence counseling for women. One of the hallmarks and the instigations of violence in the home or in society or the world is the “thingifying” the “abstraction” of the target in order to make the violence OK.

    Be very careful ever referring to the invasion of a sovereign nation, murdering thousands of innocent civilians, and all in the name of expanding BigOil enterprises as “abstract”.

    There is nothing abstract about blown-off limbs, severed torsos and mashed heads of innocent children, men and women in the name of oil, or the name of anything else for that matter.

    Keep it real. Call it what it is: bone-chilling terrorism and always at the front of my mind and quite tangible for sure, never abstract..

  • shaun


    As someone who has written approximately 300 posts and guest opinions on the Iraq war, including many that focus on the boots and not the brass and a goodly number on PTSD, I am well aware of the pitfalls in calling this moral calamity an abstraction.

    Unfortunately, that is what it was in 2005 and remains for too many Americans.

  • Manchester2

    Do you want to talk “unreality”? How about a C-Span interview at the Dem Convention? They interviewed Sen. Obama’s chief foreign policy advisor, whose last name (interestingly) was “Rice,” not to be confused with our current Sec of State. Anyways, when asked how an Obama administration would differ from the current Bush admin, she said that there had been “no diplomacy” over the past eight years. Doesn’t that make you puke? No diplomacy?! I’ll admit that diplomacy has been inadequate, but “no diplomacy”? Hello?!! How was the North Korean crisis diffused? With “no diplomacy”? What has Sec Rice been doing all during the Russia/Georgian confrontation? No diplomacy? It’s that kind of ridiculous rhetoric that comes from both sides that has me reaching for the remote.

  • Silhouette

    Shaun, I realize that you have a heart when it comes to the war in Iraq. But we must choose our words carefully. Thingifying has an insidious knack for working its way into the minds of the most diligent and thoughtful people even. That is thanks in part to media’s constant barrage of violent images and portrayal of people as “objects”.

    Being aware of “thingifying” is literally the only remedy for the world to keep from justifying unnecessary violence.

    So again, instead of attacking you, I was pointing out something that most people don’t even realize. It had never occured to me when I started violence work that in my own life I routinely dismissed certain people as “things”. It is the root of prejudice as well. And I have to keep a constant vigil on myself to keep from reverting to that mindset that, no matter how small at first, can justify beating down another because “they don’t really exist.”

  • kritt11

    I agree- with Manchester- that is way too simplistic. In the first term there was very little diplomacy, but Bush HAS tried to make up for his errors during the second term with North Korea and Israel and Palestine.

  • jwest

    If it were possible to criminalize ignorance and false demonization, what the liberals did with Hurricane Katrina would be a class 1 felony.

    Because liberals refuse to understand how the country is organized, what the role of state and local governments are, why the responsibilities are arranged as they are and what actually happened before, during and after Katrina, people will die in future catastrophes.

    The reason conservatives work so hard to be elected is because we know that when petulant children are in charge, society suffers.

  • shaun


    No offense taken. Far from it.


    NOLA and Louisiana officials certainly were not blameless. But to whitewash the federal role in the face of the historic record is darkly hilarious.

  • The reason conservatives work so hard to be elected is because we know that when petulant children are in charge, society suffers.

    No! Both liberals and conservatives failed in the Hurricane Katrina aftermath. And society in the Gulf Coast suffered much (and is still suffering) during a conservative administration (not saying a liberal administration would have done better). There was a failure at all levels of government with Katrina. Dem and Repub.

  • superdestroyer

    Does anyone believe that the Democratic Party that cannot manage inner city schools or even the City of Detroit will manage to get New Orleans to function properly if hit by another big storm.

    About all the federal government can do now is assume that local government will not be able to function and will step in immediately so that the Democratic controlled local government cannot do any damage.

  • SteveK

    jwest said: “The reason conservatives work so hard to be elected is because we know that when petulant children are in charge, society suffers.” [KA POW!]

    How a person that has paid attention to the actions (and inaction’s) of the Republican Party these last eight years can, with a straight face, accuse Democrats of being “petulant children” is the ‘wing-nuttiest’ thing I’ve heard in a long, long time.

    Thank you… You’ve made my day!

  • jwest

    And the fallacy continues……

    I took part in the Hurricane Pam exercise in New Orleans just prior to Katrina. I know who should have done what and when.

    The federal mistakes were minimal in the greater scheme of things. Larger mistakes were made in Florida in previous hurricanes and the response still went like clockwork.

    No, this was not a situation where there was blame all around of equal proportions.

    There can only be one commander-in-chief in a disaster. Put the blame where it belongs.

  • SteveK, you made my day by saying “wing-nuttiest”. LOL!

    Sounds like a some kind of food commercial spoof. IT’S POSITIVELY WING-NUTTIEST!!

  • jwest, I also put the lion’s share of the blame on the local and state governments concerning Katrina. But there was a whole lot of FEMA ineptitude and some slow feet in the White House during that awful time.

    But the truth is, we as a nation (and the world for that matter) just aren’t prepared enough to seriously stop the damage of a major hurricane. We haven’t the technological know-how to do much of anything except to react as best we can.

  • SteveK

    jwest said: “The federal mistakes were minimal in the greater scheme of things.

    I love the ‘minimal mistakes’ meme, here’s my favorite:

    FEMA Ice Trucks Still Stuck In Portland
    Drivers: 750 More Trucks On Their Way

    PORTLAND, Maine — Hundreds of truck drivers are still in Portland, waiting to off-load the tons of ice they first hauled to the Gulf Coast at the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

    FEMA said it has more ice than it can use, so it wanted to put the ice into storage for use in a future emergency. Critics, however, said that paying truck drivers $800 a day to haul the ice across the country makes no sense.

    The trucks began lining up outside a cold storage facility on Read Street in Portland over the weekend.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  • jwest

    One of the biggest misconceptions was that Bush could have sent the Army into New Orleans to help prior to the minute he did.

    If he did, the commanding general of the unit ordered to go would have been well within his rights (and more importantly, would be doing his duty) to refuse. Bush would have been impeached within days – with the full support of the republican party.

    There are very few specific things that are absolutely forbidden as outlined in the Constitution. One of them is sending federal troops into a state against the wishes of that state’s governor.

    Kathleen Blanco continually refused to let Bush send help. Only after a meeting on Air Force One, along with an additional 24 hours for her lawyers to “check it out”, did she finally relent to brokered shared command agreement.

    That’s the ticket, Kathleen. Let the people die while you worry about looking like a weak governor.

  • jwest


    I’m searching Google now for the body count of how many people died due to an overabundance of ice.

    Let me know if you find it.

  • jwest,
    I’d like you to prove that outrageous story about Blanco refusing Bush’s help.

  • rudi

    Does anyone believe that the Democratic Party that cannot manage inner city schools or even the City of Detroit will manage to get New Orleans to function properly if hit by another big storm.

    The city of Detroit been on the skids since it’s last white mayor Jerry Cavanagh, the riots and white flight. The tax base and vacant/new homes have declined since JC.

  • jwest

    The largest problem with the state and local response to Katrina was a lack of communication.

    After 9/11, when it was realized that fire departments couldn’t talk with the police and responders couldn’t talk with city or state officials, the new department of Homeland Security, congress and Bush passed the Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP) Part 2. This act provided billions of dollars specifically for interoperable communications equipment, along with personal protective gear.

    The HSGP bypassed the state and provided the money directly to local communities. This was done because previous programs where delayed by the state governments and the money was sidetracked to wages, supervision and consultants as opposed to equipment.

    Some states immediately bought the needed equipment. Louisiana (in all it’s democrat glory) was mired in arguments on which system to buy – which would determine whose brother-in-law or cousin would be passing out the bribes.

    It’s just so typical.

  • kritt11

    jwest- You are a true believer, LOL.

    FEMA has stepped in in the past during less serious hurricanes and delivered. Katrina was the worst natural disaster in US history. I won’t pretend that Nagin or Governor Blanco performed well– they froze. But even past Fema director Mike Brown admitted that his agencies response failed the people of New Orleans.

  • jwest


    The points I brought up are so basic, they are summarized in Wikipedia.


    You are making my point. If you and your liberal fiends would take the time to learn what FEMA is, what it’s suppose to do in emergencies and what it did in the Katrina affair, you would be better off.

    Once you learn about how the country is organized, between federal, state and local governments and what the responsibilities and limitations of each one is, you will make a much more informed voter. The people in Louisiana didn’t realize prior to Katrina (and most still don’t) that Kathleen Blanco was the commander-in-chief of the Louisiana National Guard. She alone could ask other states to send in additional National Guardsmen, or she could request federal troops. If she asked for federal troops, she would need to relinquish command control because the Constitution doesn’t allow the president to give up control to anyone else.

    When you learn the facts, you will take state and local elections much more seriously. These are the people you are entrusting your life and property to in an emergency.

  • kritt11

    jwest- Do you realize how condescending you sound? I think everyone gets that responders from all levels of government screwed up. It still doesn’t make up for the fact that Bush would not cut short his vacation to take command of the situation— and most informed voters know it. They also know that he had previously flew back to Washington while also on an extended vacation in Crawford to deal with………….

    The Terry Schiavo emergency!!!!!

  • Kathryn

    My thoughts and prayers are completely with all people in the path of Hurricane Gustav. Regardless of who it is popular to blame during Katrina, thinking of the political implications of Gustav is unseemly.

    That being said, I’m glad to see Karl Rove has his priorities set straight (heavy sarcasm).

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