Who needs wingnuts when you have the Beltway media:
Elected in part out of revulsion at the Bush administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina, Obama now finds himself confronting an even more devastating and complex humanitarian crisis.
And, adding irony upon irony, the racial context of New Orleans is writ large in Port-au-Prince. Katrina cost George W. Bush what little standing he had among moderates in his own party in part because the shocking images of suffering in New Orleans were so racially imbalanced.
Now the Obama administration’s competence and compassion will be tested in a similar racial context—and with a much worse infrastructure. Obama and his aides understand all of this. The president was out early today with a strong statement about American efforts to deal with the aftermath of the devastating Haitian earthquake.
Expect to see a parade of official statements and rescue missions. Expect to see the Pentagon deeply involved—ships and soldiers—to supplement international relief efforts. Expect to see the president and chief of staff Rahm Emanuel keeping a close, minute-by-minute watch on what is happening around the island. Expect to see a review of what the administration has—or hasn’t—done to improve the dire overall life of that country. Expect Obama to make sure that there is no egregiously incompetent “Brownie” in the chain of command, and that, as president, he doesn’t tell anybody they are “doing a heck of a job” unless they really are.
Could someone please explain to Howard Fineman that:
1.) Haiti is not an American state. Louisiana is.
2.) The head of FEMA will not be leading the rescue efforts in Haiti. FEMA did take the lead in the rescue of New Orleans, because as we established in point 1, NEW ORLEANS IS AN AMERICAN CITY.
3.) Earthquakes, unlike hurricanes, happen with minimal warning. Hurricanes move along trajectories that allow for action prior to the devastation, which is part of what made the slow response galling.
4.) Never in my lifetime has an American president been responsible for the rescue of another nation after a natural disaster, no matter what the “racial context.” Sure, we always help- but putting the responsibility on our President?
5.) Finally, and most importantly, Howard Fineman is an asshole. I can only hope this was written after six double vodka martinis.
The most depressing thing is that if Fineman absolutely had to try to make some sort of convoluted connection between President Obama and President Bush, there was a natural analogy that sort of fit- the tsunami in 2004. And you know what- I think President Bush and our military did a very impressive job in response. If I remember correctly, we had a large naval contingent that was on the scene quite quickly.
Which is probably why Fineman didn’t want to use that example.