Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Spinnin' Is Beginnin'

The NY Times "White House Enacts a Plan to Ease Political Damage" reports:
Under the command of President Bush's two senior political advisers, the White House rolled out a plan this weekend to contain the political damage from the administration's response to Hurricane Katrina.

It orchestrated visits by cabinet members to the region, leading up to an extraordinary return visit by Mr. Bush planned for Monday, directed administration officials not to respond to attacks from Democrats on the relief efforts, and sought to move the blame for the slow response to Louisiana state officials, according to Republicans familiar with the White House plan.

The effort is being directed by Mr. Bush's chief political adviser, Karl Rove, and his communications director, Dan Bartlett. It began late last week after Congressional Republicans called White House officials to register alarm about what they saw as a feeble response by Mr. Bush to the hurricane, according to Republican Congressional aides.

If the administration had some competence and ethics, then containing political damage would not be an issue. But politics trumps all these days, so doing the "right thing" is seemingly always and solely seen through the political prism. When left to his own, the dunce just doesn't seem to know what to do.

American Progress nicely summarizes a response. "Administration Tries to Shift Blame for Its Own Incompetence" and goes into more detail in today's Progress Report newsletter.

And if you haven't seen Keith Olbermann's Monday night editorial on MSNBC, then you must watch this: Video at Crooks and Liars, transcript at MSNBC:
The "city" of Louisiana (Keith Olbermann)

Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff said it all, starting his news briefing Saturday afternoon: "Louisiana is a city that is largely underwater..."

Well there's your problem right there.

If ever a slip-of-the-tongue defined a government's response to a crisis, this was it.

Olbermann has always been there, but is the mainstream press coming around too? Perhaps, and we can hope. And keep the press's feet to the fire too.

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