Where is the leadership? For all his missteps on policy and his cavalier attitude toward equality, President George W. Bush has always enjoyed an aura of "leadership" cultivated through careful photo sessions and scripted sound bites that pushed him toward re-election.
Sadly, this personal quality so resilient before the press seems to wilt before real-world difficulties. President Bush spent the first vital moments of 9/11 reading a children's book in a classroom for the benefit of photographers, then spent most of the day invisible, running and hiding from non-existent threats. Thankfully, our nation still remains indebted to Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who understands that true leaders run toward danger to help, not from danger to hide.
Four years later, as Americans cry out for leadership in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, our commander-in-chief is again sealed off from tragedy. President Bush is always ready to pose for photos in front of troops or Boy Scouts, but his record-setting vacation time proved too valuable to interrupt for thousands of Americans in need. In fact, as the day broke in a devastated New Orleans, the White House released a photo of Bush strumming a guitar with a presidential sticker affixed to the case. As conditions deteriorated in the Superdome, Bush held another photo op to sell his War in Iraq while his flunkies churned out a letter calling for further millionaire tax cuts. Then Bush's consultants decided that he needed to "get involved": his flyovers grounded vehicles needed for levee repair and his press events used helicopters and coordinators that could have been out doing their job as props. The President's staff took their cue from him: 95% of the Cabinet was still on vacation three days after Katrina made landfall. As the State Department sifted offers of help from our friends around the world, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spent thousands on shoes and took in a Broadway show. Bush's political appointees in emergency management barred the National Guard and the Red Cross from disaster areas, and only learned of the conditions in the New Orleans convention center when informed by a news anchor.Katrina begat a horrific tragedy, and its victims need this nation's support. The aftermath has expanded, though, into a man-made tragedy born of ignorance and sloth, and its perpetrators must be held accountable by this nation - all the way to the top.
Saturday, September 24, 2005
An Excellent LTE
Ogandai's done a fine job. Inspiring work. Full text after the jump.