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Disaster Tourist — Why Now?
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Disaster Tourist

Showing absolutely no regard for the fact that his carnival disrupts the lives of people who have experienced a major trauma, the Shrubbery brought the Clueless Twit Flying Circus to Minneapolis and said:

“Our message to the Twin Cities is we want to get this bridge rebuilt as quick as possible,” Bush said after visiting with rescue workers and people who watched the bridge crumble. “We understand that this is a main artery of life here.”

He pledged his support to cut through the paperwork and make Congress do its job.

As Chris Kromm reminds us, nearly two years ago the CTFC crash landed in New Orleans where he said:

Tonight I also offer this pledge of the American people: Throughout the area hit by the hurricane, we will do what it takes, we will stay as long as it takes, to help citizens rebuild their communities and their lives. And all who question the future of the Crescent City need to know there is no way to imagine America without New Orleans, and this great city will rise again.

Almost three years after Ivan, and two years after Dennis, local officials are still negotiating with FEMA about the color and material for the ribbons that must be tied around the debris piles, so they can finally be removed and people can start rebuilding their lives.

Folks, he’s threatening to veto the bill that would finally provide some protection to New Orleans and start fixing the wetlands problems, so Minnesota should keep in mind “if his lips are moving, he’s lying.”


1 Steve Bates { 08.04.07 at 9:01 pm }

“All hat, no cattle” is more than just the name of a web site (though I do admire the web site). Bush surely has set the record for the most broken promises of any occupant of the Oval Office… ever. As you note, if his lips are moving, he’s lying; I might add that if his lips aren’t moving, that just means he has temporarily subcontracted the lying. Day and night, it never stops.

2 Bryan { 08.04.07 at 10:32 pm }

It’s just amazing. For a while there he was visiting businesses and within a month after his visit, some disaster struck them. Anything he talks about is going to be forgotten as soon as he leaves.

I’m having a hard time believing that the quarter of the population that supports him can figure out how to vote.

3 Michael { 08.04.07 at 11:03 pm }

I’m having a hard time believing that the quarter of the population that supports him can figure out how to vote.

That may be the one skill they’ve been able to master, Bryan. Regrettably, it isn’t hard–unless someone is trying to make it so.

4 Bryan { 08.04.07 at 11:27 pm }

Maybe it’s like the old system in NYC where the ward captain did it for you.

5 Badtux { 08.05.07 at 2:08 pm }

To be fair, if Bush *hadn’t* done that little bit of disaster tourism, he would have been criticized for not going there, much as he was criticized for his initial response to the New Orleans disaster (which was to cut a cake and accept the gift of a guitar). This is a no-win situation for a President. President Bill Clinton was often criticized for his disaster tourism too, you couldn’t have a strong wind blow over a barn in Iowa without ole’ Bill showing up to pledge that the Amurican people were going to make things right, pledges as empty as anything the Chimperor has promised. Free Willy decided the advantages of disaster tourism outweighed the disadvantages, politically speaking. Sounds like the Chimperor’s handlers have finally, after all these years, come to that same conclusion.

-Badtux the History Penguin

6 Michael { 08.05.07 at 3:39 pm }

No, I really don’t think he would have been. At the very least, he should have timed his visit better. I’m reminded of something H.M. the Queen said in the aftermath of the Aberfan disaster. The prime minister paid an immediate visit, as did Lord Snowdon (husband of the Queen’s sister, Princess Margaret). The Duke of Edinburgh went the next day. But the queen wouldn’t go. According to one of her biographers (Robert Lacey, in Monarch: The Life and Reign of Elizabeth II, p. 223), her reason was quite simple:

“People will be looking after me,” she objected. “So perhaps they’ll miss some poor child that might have been found under the wreckage.”

The same thing with her parents, when they went down to visit the East End of London during the war–they always waited until the rescue and recovery efforts had been concluded, so as not to get in the way with a lot of fuss and protocol. That’s a trick that the Busheviki have never learned. Any time there’s an official visit by the head of state, there’s an enormous amount of work that has to be taken care of, and myriad details that do nothing to aid in the search for and rescue of survivors. Ergo, the truly caring (and smart) head of state stays away until s/he’s sure s/he won’t be in the way. Clinton knew that–and he generally followed through on his promises (not to mention the fact that he hired people for FEMA who actually knew something about disaster work, instead of using it, as Bush has done, as a reward for political hacks who couldn’t find their way out of a wet paper bag with a map and a platoon of Marines).

And I have to think that showing up and flying over the scene of the disaster, as he’s done numerous times in New Orleans, isn’t really going to gain him any popularity points. It’s certainly not going to do anything to help fix the mess, but we already knew that. Consequently, I think if you add up all the factors, Bush really should have stayed home, at least until all hope of finding anyone alive was past.

7 Bryan { 08.05.07 at 5:44 pm }

I admit to being prejudiced by experience, Badtux. After Opal in 1995 FEMA showed up and did a great job. They had people, local people who needed the work, driving around with pick-ups filled with water and ice, and others who would bring food if you needed it.

The debris trucks came through multiple times to keep the streets and gutters clear, not just once. They deployed people to the neighborhoods with the forms and information necessary to file for assistance if you needed it, no call an 800 number when the phones didn’t work.

Under Clinton, the system worked.

Clinton also came to a couple of local memorials for service people who had died in the military actions he was responsible for, but most people don’t know that, because he made it clear he was there a private citizen and only local media was present. The man sat in the middle of the audience, not in the front with the “dignitaries.”

With Clinton there was the possibility that something might actually happen, and you didn’t have to worry about his convoy of SUVs sucking up all available gas supplies, because he didn’t have one. Of course, there was also the point that people liked the man.

But frankly, most people would like to see some immediate form of assistance. The problem with Katrina wasn’t when he showed up, but when help showed up. All of the media was in New Orleans days before any Federal assistance made an appearance, and there was a lot of assistance on stand-by waiting for the word that never came.

If he had wanted to really score points he should have offered a Navy dive team to assist in the recovery effort. It would have been good training, good PR, and useful.