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on second thought....

Mark Steyn:

On 9/11, the federal government failed the people; last week, local and state government failed the people. On 9/11, they stuck to the 30-year-old plan; last week, they didn't bother implementing the state-of-the-art 21st-century plan. Why argue about which level of bureaucracy you prefer to be let down by?

What he said.

I just realized how naive that post below is, how idealist, written by someone who lives in this fairy tale world where people are willing to drop pretenses and biases to work together toward a common goal, the goal in this case being helping the people hit by Hurricane Katrina to recover.

The energy spent digging up stories and dirt, parsing words, arguing semantics, pointing out slip-of-tongues, pointing in general and playing a game of my side is better than yours could probably fuel this nation for all time. I simply can not get over the sheer amount of newspaper articles, editorials, blog posts and sound bites from people turning a hurricane into a Republican/Democrat war of blame.

I'm not saying blame shouldn't be placed and people should not be held accountable for what went wrong. But to use this whole tragedy for political gain, to take up the mantle as cheerleader for your party in the wake of thousands of deaths, to have this attitude that this must be drawn along party lines, this must be an us v. them issue, that this is a call to arms, to gather your weapon of words and stand blindly and loyally behind your R or D and get ready to sling the bows and arrows until one of you is declared the winner by virtue of being blamed the least - that's just reprehensible. And it flies in the face of everything I wrote below. I'm an idiot to think that people would put down their badges of loyalty to make things better, to figure out what went wrong and where it went wrong, to help, to do something other than playing Encyclopedia Brown, Hurricane Detective, finding clues as to who said the worst thing and when they said it and how it charts their party on the Better Than You leaderboard. The teams are right now tied for blame but..what's this? He called Louisiana a city instead of a state? Score! The Democrats take the lead in the I'm Better Than You SuperBowl!

I think I prefer to remain naive in my little fairy tale world where everyone works together to make things right, rather than separately to widen the gulf between us.



Yeah, I think I like the idealist version of our country better too.

Denial is bliss - or at least closer to bliss than screed is.

Not naive, profound. You are seeing the best of what people can be. The reason we can't ignore things in other countries and "mind our own business." America, more than any other country, developed from a sense of community. It doesn't matter who or what your neighbor is or how much you disagree on, if they need help you feel it is your job to help because deep down you know they would do the same for you.

Don't the opportunist smear the clarity with which we are seeing the human race at its best.

I like your tribe best, Chief Talks-in-Whispers.

Which administrations in our recent history have been more divisive? Think about that for a awhile. One party does believe fractures along class lines benefits them. I'm interested in facts not fantasy.

"Which administrations in our recent history have been more divisive?"

I seem to dimly recall a fella named Clinton from the misty realm of history. Lots of people only decided Reagan wasn't Hitler after his death. Nixon? Nah, he was a uniter, not a divider.

"One party does believe fractures along class lines benefits them. I'm interested in facts not fantasy."

Well, at least I'm glad to hear you're not a Democrat!

Wow, thanks for the irony, guys!

David C inadvertently (?) invoked Godwin's Law, therefore these comments must now be closed.

Inadvertant, yeah, but works for me....

Nothing should deter us from the enormous job of trying to relieve suffering and eventually bring the gulf coast back to life, but if outrageously untrue statements go unchallenged, they take on the aura of truth.

I'm ordinarily someone who argues against partisan rancor, and if the failure of the Federal government to respond adequately to this disaster were the only issue at hand, I wouldn't be speaking out at this point. However, in light of that serious failure, I find recent comments by Michael Brown and President Bush very troubling. As far as I can tell, THEY are the ones who have been loudly attempting to assign blame and shift it away from themselves, onto the people who suffered through this storm and state and local officials. I don't care how bad local planning may have been, any FEDERAL disaster response plan MUST incorporate an assumption that state and local governments may become non-functional when a major disaster - natural or man-made - occurs.

Regarding Barbara Bush's comments, whether or not there was a slip of the tongue, I would just say that words do have meaning. It is NOT simple partisanship to object to people of privilege making condescending statements about the suffering of poor people in the wake of a disaster such as this. I'd be just as critical if it had been someone like Theresa Heinz-Kerry who made that statement.

What is so wrong about this all - is that instead of examining the mistakes in order to make improvements for such operations/catastrophes - blame and recriminations are news of the day. Mistakes are important - so they don't get repeated (not so we can make political points.)

Clinton was impeached for a stain on a dress. I really don't know what it would take for you to criticize Bush. I do remember that in the run-up to the election, you said God Help us if Kerry is elected. I believe the reverse is true. I hope that our nation and our economy survives three more years of the most incompetent president this country has ever had.
Godwin's law notwithstanding, I find the NeoCon ideology, one that excludes criticism of their leader, a tad frightful, and yes it does remind me of a former time and place in history.

Me? I never invoke God.

"Wow, thanks for the irony, guys!"

Did nobody read this? Did nobody actually read the article?

Michele, please don't be down on yourself for being optomistic. "Hope" does not equal "idiocy". Yes, politicians, the media, and half the blogs out there are using this tradgedy to spin their own agenda, but the other half won't talk about it at all. I've seen lots of blogs that say, "I just can't talk about it right now". From the beginning of this whole thing, you "knew" you had to do something positive, and you've done it. In fact, you have over-achieved yourself. I'm not just talking about "Kids of Katrina".

I'm a horrible cynic that hates useless "sappy" stories for the sake of writing something "sappy". I don't think that's what you've done. IMHO, by simply finding all of the positive stories from this disaster that you possibly could, you've done enough to overshadow any soapbox anyone would try to climb up on for their own purposes. Your heart is in the right place; please, don't let anyone try to tell you otherwise.

Everytime I hear

I find the NeoCon ideology, one that excludes criticism of their leader, a tad frightful, and yes it does remind me of a former time and place in history.

I realize what they (and you Vince) really mean is "excludes criticism of the things I think Bush should be criticized for". Not just that he gets no criticism.

Hell, particularly from Michele. You just aren't paying attention if you think she gives him a pass on everything.

Common criticisms from the right on Bush including signing off on bloated pork bills, border security, immigration policy, timid conduct of the war, and Homeland Security.

Very common criticisms from the right Vince.

Oh, nice touch at the end too, the scary "history" thing.

I'm with Allah and Quick on this one. I was appalled to see people leaping on the "let's make a partisan issue of this" bandwagon last week while people were struggling to survive . . . but politics, like the man said, ain't beanbag, and at some point when people are shooting at your guy, you either start shooting back or you roll over and play dead. Inasmuch as I don't want Kos and his ilk calling the shots in this country, that means I'm in favor of setting the record straight about who is really responsible for the failures here (and what failures can't really be pinned on anyone and should just be accepted as part of a natural disaster).

Really, my heart's not in this fight; the most we conservatives can hope for is to hold our ground, and maybe at most get Bobby Jindal elected Governor of Louisiana some day. It's a fight I'd rather not have. But sometimes, you don't get to pick your battles.


I forgot I was supposed to be nice for when you switch sides. I'm having a bad day.

Either way, you are out actually organizing to aid victims, as am I, and that is commendable.


As far as I can tell, THEY are the ones who have been loudly attempting to assign blame and shift it away from themselves...

Yeah Nagin wasn't assigning blame when he said that Bush and his administration were racist and classist

Brown has made some fairly numb comments thought.

I find there are very few bloggers on the right who are not willing to criticise Bush and his administration when it has done something wrong including this blog.

including this blog.

Are you kidding me? I wrote a entire post on how I regret voting for him.

"I wrote a entire post on how I regret voting for him."

That would be interesting to read.

You know... as a psychology major, I realize that the main problem about arguing with people on politics revolves around once basic psychological truth about people (note: psychological truths apply to most, but of course not all people) which is that people's brains dont like to think that they might have made a mistake, especially if they have defended their position - it is vertually impossible to get them to consider other viewpoints - they dont even want to admit to themselves that they might have made a mistake. This is not something that goes on consciously, mind you. But it does make it exceedingling hard (and with some people - impossible) to change someone's mind or opinion, even with overwhelming factual evidence. Bravo to the people who are trying because you will almost certainly reach somone, eventually. I must admit ashamedly that I am cowardly and do not want to complicate my life with online arguments and drama. I have seen the way that differing political viewpoints are often handled on this blog: with mocking, ridicule, and name calling. I will never post my opinions on this blog because I do not want to subject myself to that.

The point of this post is this: please realize that we all do have this natural tendency to fool ourselves and not want to see when we have made a mistake, and force ourselves to go back and reconsider our reality. Please try to watch out for doing this yourself, as it works against real progress being made for the good of all.

PS - I try to do this every day, and Im sure I fail regularly. But I'll keep doing my best.

Your site is realy very interesting.