It Takes More Than a Hurricane to Knock Some Sense Into...Thomas Friedman
On the day after 9/11, I was in Jerusalem and was interviewed by Israeli TV. The reporter asked me, "Do you think the Bush administration is up to responding to this attack?" As best I can recall, I answered: "Absolutely. One thing I can assure you about these guys is that they know how to pull the trigger."
Um, sure. But they tend to skip the "ready" and "aim" steps.
Well, if 9/11 is one bookend of the Bush administration, Katrina may be the other. If 9/11 put the wind at President Bush's back, Katrina's put the wind in his face. If the Bush-Cheney team seemed to be the right guys to deal with Osama, they seem exactly the wrong guys to deal with Katrina - and all the rot and misplaced priorities it's exposed here at home.
These are people so much better at inflicting pain than feeling it, so much better at taking things apart than putting them together, so much better at defending "intelligent design" as a theology than practicing it as a policy.
Newsflash: To many of us, they never
seemed to be the right guys to deal with Osama.
An administration whose tax policy has been dominated by the toweringly selfish Grover Norquist - who has been quoted as saying: "I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub" - doesn't have the instincts for this moment. Mr. Norquist is the only person about whom I would say this: I hope he owns property around the New Orleans levee that was never properly finished because of a lack of tax dollars. I hope his basement got flooded.
Friedman, Friedman, Friedman. Think before
you type, please. You wish he had a basement?
In New Orleans?
As my Democratic entrepreneur friend Joel Hyatt once remarked, the Bush team's philosophy since 9/11 has been: "We're at war. Let's party."
Well, the party is over. If Mr. Bush learns the lessons of Katrina, he has a chance to replace his 9/11 mandate with something new and relevant. If that happens, Katrina will have destroyed New Orleans, but helped to restore America. If Mr. Bush goes back to his politics as usual, he'll be thwarted at every turn. Katrina will have destroyed a city and a presidency.
Don't hold your breath, there, Friedman.
On second thought, do.