Listen to this NPR piece from the Sept. 9 All Things Considered. At about 6:42 into the segment, they quickly mention that the president called the Louisiana governor and NOLA Mayor Ray Nagin onto Air Force One and bartered with people’s lives. He offered to send federal troops only if the two democrats agreed to cede all command and control of the situation in NOLA to the White House. This isn’t what a president does. He doesn’t dicker for political advantage while people are dying in their homes, nursing homes, or in relief shelters. This was an unbelievably cold-blooded move.
What’s almost as bad is that the governor then told him she needed 24 hours to think it over. Inexcusable. What she should have done was leave the plane, grab the nearest group of journalists, and tell them what she’d just heard.
One more interesting note about the piece: it explains that local emergency officials certainly did follow the established procedures and requested federal aid as soon as they were able. Someone needs to beat Bill Frist, Tom DeLay, and Dennis Hastert over the head with this story until they shut up already.
I just got off the phone with a telemarketer for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He had the audacity to ask me to donate to the Democrats to help them take back congress this year. He actually said to me, I shit you not, that given the war in Iraq and the Republican response to Katrina, that it is vital that Democrats win back congress. He actually used an in-progress horror show involving millions of Americans on American soil to solicit money for politicians.
Though my first instinct was to reach down the phone line and strangle him, I calmed down just enough to tell him that I think it’s obscene to ask for political contributions while this cataclysm is still going on. Any cash that I have to donate, I told him, is going to the relief effort. This guy actually argued with me. He argued that it’s vitally important that Democrats take back congress to prevent these things from happening again. I raised my voice and argued back and so did he! I was amazed at the balls on this guy. If they want to call back in a month or two, fine. But it’s inhuman to call me for money while people are trapped and drowning in their attics.
I’m a Democrat and I do believe that control of congress is a good goal for the party but not right now. Not when decades of divisive partisan politics has resulted in the unbearable horror that’s playing out on the Gulf Coast. Whatever happened to bringing in the best and the brightest? Whatever happened to public service? They’ve given way to new levels of political cronyism that have handed over our vital public agencies to idiots like Michael Brown (link and link) and Michael Chertoff (link).
If you agree with me, feel free to contact the Dems here.
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