Sunday, August 31, 2008

Irony

Eight years ago, Grover Norquist explained the agenda for the Bush Republican Party in these famous words: "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." In accomplishing that goal, the Bush administration has been spectacularly successful.

New Orleans is their bathtub.

The disaster of Katrina in 2005 was one of the most horrible examples of the incompetence of government that has ever been known. The storm's approach was well documented, its danger was well known, and one of our most cherished American cities was destroyed by inattention -- and not accidentally, either, this was the perfect application of Norquist's principle.

We are reading that the hurricane approaching New Orleans now is twice as big as Katrina, they're calling it "the mother of all storms," the "storm of the century." Gustav is still out at sea, gathering strength, and these things are unpredictable but it looks to be headed straight for the same stretch of Gulf Coast that Katrina hit. Do you think we have fortified the levees for a Category Five storm? Do you think we are prepared for a disaster there? Did we learn anything from the Katrina experience? Ah, the trick there is in the word "we." Yes, "we" learned something, "we the people," but our government did not, it has been busy flailing in the bathtub, and has nearly expired.

People use the word "ironic" wrong all the time, but this is it: it is excellently ironic that the Republic convention is going to share the front pages of the nation's newspapers with this reminder of the consequences of their political philosophy. They should be proud, but I have the feeling they will not want the voters to draw a short straight line between the coming disaster and their party's policies.

I'm curious to see how they'll play this. They talked about re-scheduling the convention, but apparently that's not going to happen. Now they're saying that President Bush won't attend, because of the storm -- the collective sigh of relief could have created a storm of its own over the Twin Cities. Why would a hurricane affect his decision to give a speech at the party convention? I guess it's supposed to look like he cares this time.

Somebody said there was talk of turning the Republican convention into a telethon to raise money for the hurricane's victims. I hope they do that! I hope they come on the TV screen, one after the other, and tell us how concerned they are about those poor black people down there who have lost their homes. Irony irony irony. You know how Karl Rove has said he runs all of his campaigns as if people were watching television with the sound turned down; this year they'll be watching shots of sorrowful (but perfectly groomed) talking heads interspersed with familiar scenes of chaos and destruction. How's that going to look, with the sound turned down? The message will be, we've been running things for eight years and this is what you get, but don't blame us.

Irony is a tough concept. Let's say there will be irony when a political party drowns the government in a bathtub and then expresses sadness and sympathy for the drowning victims. Irony-deficiency is sometimes seen as a defining feature of conservatism, but the American people are perfectly capable of appreciating irony. We get a laugh out of hypocrites who try to talk out of both sides of their mouth. Let them come on the television with their flag lapel pins and furrow their well-powdered foreheads in significant expressions of sympathy for those brave souls who have lost loved ones etcetera etcetera. We'll watch, we won't actually laugh because it's not funny, New Orleans was a city with a lot of character, good music, good food, a cool way of talking, we won't be laughing but we will note the irony of these expressions. There will be some who miss it, some who will believe the expressions of sympathy are sincere, and who knows, maybe there will be enough of those to make the November election a close one.

22 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, we'll see next week how much the administration has learned. There were unique aspects to the Katrina disaster. The sad thing is when the country should be focused on this imminent disaster, all Dems can do is talk about Katrina. Much like Dems have hoped America would lose in Iraq, they appear to hope for a repeat of Katrina this week. America is watching, my friends. They surely can't be impressed by the Dems. We can tell by the stage he built for himself in Denver that Obama thinks he's Zeus but until he tells us of even one accomplishment of his very brief Senate career, we'll continue to think of him as Harry Reid's yes-man.

Meanwhile, could we hear of any Democratic administration in recent memory that faced a challenge the size of Katrina and how they dealt with it? Please tell us how much time Bill Clinton trying to build stronger levees for New Orleans.

Remember the people of Louisiana, with Katrina still a recent memory, elected on of the most dynamic and conservative Republican governors in America. Those closest to this tragedy don't seem to hold the Republican party responsible for it.

Why does TTF?

You tell me.

August 31, 2008 2:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In contrast to the Democrats, McCain is projecting leadership:

""I pledge that tomorrow night and if necessary throughout our convention, we will act as Americans and not as Republicans because America needs us now," McCain said Sunday.

McCain, his wife Cindy, and his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, toured the emergency management center in Mississippi, a state that could be hit hard by the approaching hurricane.
"No matter what we are — Republican or Democratic — America needs us to do what all Americans have always done in times of disaster and challenge," McCain told reporters.

Party leaders were considering shortening the big four-day event as Gustav approached the Gulf Coast with potentially deadly strength.

The McCain campaign was chartering a DC-9 jetliner from St. Paul for any delegates from Louisiana and Mississippi who want to return home.

The White House said President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney will skip the Republican National Convention because of mounting concerns about Gustav.
His Homeland Security chief warned that Gustav could prove more challenging than Katrina and the nation's disaster response coordinator worried about New Orlean's fragile levees

Earlier, McCain said in an interview taped on Saturday and aired Sunday on Fox News Sunday that he had conferred by phone with Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour Barbour as well as Govs. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Bob Riley of Alabama and Charlie Crist of Florida.

"I've been talking to all of them," McCain said. He said the approaching storm had already put a cloud over the convention.
"It just wouldn't be appropriate to have a festive occasion while a near tragedy or a terrible challenge is presented in the form of a natural disaster," McCain said. Still, he said, "I think that we are far, far better prepared than we were the last time.""

August 31, 2008 2:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can try to spin it all you want, Sybil. We all remember that Bush attended a couple of GOP fundraisers and wished McSame a happy 70th birthday while 1700 Gulf Coast residents drowned as Hurricane Katrina hit US soil.

August 31, 2008 3:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't need to spin anything.

McCain's handling this perfectly and Americans are watching fools like Chris Dodd get on TV and try to exploit a coming catastrophe for political purposes.

America is watching, CBTS.

August 31, 2008 7:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Talk about exploiting a disastrous event! The repugs. notoriously exploited 9/11 and have come close to destroying America as a result and now they want to appear as humane and caring when it comes to a natural disaster in the Gulf of Mexico region. Maybe if they pray hard enough, they can reverse the course of the storm and take credit for doing the supreme being's work! What hypocracy!!

August 31, 2008 11:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John McCain has long characterized Alaska’s so-called “Bridge To Nowhere” as an example of the sort of wasteful government spending that must be eliminated, suggesting that money designated for “a bridge in Alaska to an island with 50 people on it” could have been better spent elsewhere. And he has cast his new running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, as a like-minded champion of fiscal restraint.

"I told Congress, thanks but no thanks on that bridge to nowhere,” Palin said Friday as she made her first appearance with McCain.

As it turns out, however, Palin did back the bridge during her campaign for governor. The Anchorage Daily News reports that “[t]he Alaska governor campaigned in 2006 on a build-the-bridge platform, telling Ketchikan residents she felt their pain when politicians called them ‘nowhere.’” Palin later designated money earmarked for the bridge to other projects.

September 01, 2008 9:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Republican base has been re-energized by Sarah Palin. The campaign received 7 million in donations on Friday and Saturday alone. From parades to fairs, Republican booths are being swamped with requests for McCain/Palin signs and stickers.

The democrats, meanwhile, just concluded a "same as usual" convention with an array of speakers like ted kennedy, bill clinton, al gore and joe biden. The one new face was the dull mark warner.

Americans want a change and the Republicans offer it. A maverick who has battled the status quo for years has a convention beginning tomorrow with a new generation of dynamic leaders like Sarah Palin and Bobby Jindal.

Dems lost the election Friday.

In a bi-partisan move, McCain is considering appointing Obama as ambassador to Lichtenstein.

"I would not have thought it possible, but McCain and his advisers have made the perfect vice presidential selection in Sarah Palin. It is an ingenious, even thrilling choice, and one that is all the more remarkable in that it was completely unexpected.

All the other candidates, such as Romney and Pawlenty, were boring and came with serious drawbacks. Obama has certainly added excitement to the Democratic ticket; now, with his choice of Palin, McCain has done the same for the Republicans.

Compare Obama's unimaginative selection of Joe Biden--another Washington D.C. blowhard--with McCain's choice. I suppose Biden is supposed to win over lower-middle-class white voters by the fact that he is a backslapping good old boy who likes to watch football games and eat chili dogs. What Biden offers is a proven record of mediocrity, and perhaps he can appeal to mediocre people on the basis of a shared absence of accomplisment.

I'm not saying that Palin has accomplished much either. What she has is potential. The Obama camp has already released its first commercial attacking Palin. But how ridiculous does Obama sound in faulting her for lack of experience? Palin is serving her first term as governor, but then Obama is serving his first term as senator. Palin has no foreign policy experience and has only been to Iraq once; Obama's level of foreign policy experience is exactly the same. It's worth noting, in this context, that Obama, unlike Palin, is at the top of the ticket. Palin will at least have a chance to learn on the job; Obama wants to step right into the Oval Office. So every time the Democrats use the experience charge against Palin, they remind the American people of Obama's greatest weakness.

Here's why Palin is such a good choice. She seems like an incredibly wholesome person who doesn't so much talk about family values as embody them. This is the best kind of social conservative: one whose life is an exemplar of the kind of American dream that we can all admire. In attacking her, I think her critics like Paul Begala and James Carville sound like total jerks. I'd like to see more of those carping attack dogs on TV: they can only help Palin.

With her support for a muscular foreign policy and guns and oil drilling, Palin is an across-the-board conservative, which will reinforce McCain's credentials with the right-wing base of the party. Not that those guys had anyone else to vote for, but the choice of Palin will increase the enthusiasm of GOP activists in working hard for a McCain victory. Second, unlike Bush, McCain has chosen a deputy who can be a future leader of the Republican Party. Palin is also young and thus helps to neutralize Obama's youthful advantage. As a woman, Palin will not so much win over the disenchanted Hillary supporters as pick up Hillary's argument to independent voters that it's about time America had a strong woman in its top echelons of political office. For every Obama supporter who can claim an historic first for the Democrats, Palin enthusiasts can make an equal historic claim for the Republicans.

The media will continue to lionize Obama-Biden and attack McCain-Palin. It's only a short time before we start hearing that Palin is the "wrong kind of woman." (Would anyone dare argue that Obama is the "wrong kind of black man"?) Still, the American people have gotten pretty good at seeing through the media charade. A whole summer of media genuflections hasn't produced a substantial Democratic lead. For months, McCain and Obama have remained virtually tied. Now, with Palin, the Republicans have their first chance to pull ahead."

September 01, 2008 12:44 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

“There were unique aspects to the Katrina disaster.”

Such as negligence, ineptitude and most importantly, INACTION.

So unique. In fact, I’ve never even heard of those things before.

Gustav could kiss that region with sunshine and rainbows, but the damage is done. The nation has just been reminded of the Republican-lead government’s “response” to Katrina.

God’s timing appears to be pitch perfect.

And talk about “raining” on a (RNC) parade… …AND the fact that this is hitting governor Bobby "Creationism/Hate Gays" Jindal’s state (Louisiana), you’d think they’d PRAYED for it.

But mostly, I can’t wait to hear more about Sarah Palin, and how extensive John McCain’s relationship with her is - TO FEEL SO CONFIDENT that she is capable of ensuring the safety of all 300 million of us - with what I’m assuming to be her extensive foreign policy experience and all.

Then again, apparently for most Republicans, thumbing through a kid’s book is all the response that is necessary when the President of the United States Learns that your children’s lives may be in imminent danger. And she’s had five kids, so clearly she can do that.

September 01, 2008 4:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What???!!! The Governor's daughter is pregnant with an illegimate child? Zowie...there goes all of the Republicans' Focus on the Family oratory that the right-wing ding-bats love to spout. I guess you can't blame the Governor for that, though. All she was required to do was to give her children a good foundation of Christian morality, one based on her own religious teachings. Apparently the Governor's daughter is going to marry the father in a good old-fashioned conservative shot-gun wedding. "Isn't that special?"

September 01, 2008 4:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John McCain's running mate Sarah Palin said Monday that her 17-year-old unmarried daughter is five months pregnant, an announcement campaign aides said was aimed at rebutting Internet rumors that Palin's youngest son, born in April, was actually her daughter's.

In 2004, less than 48% of Alaskan public schools required students to take 2 or more health education classes. Of those, 94.5% taught "abstinence as the most effective method to avoid HIV infection" but only 37.6% of them taught "how to correctly use a condom."

In November 2006, then gubernatorial candidate Sarah Palin declared that she would not support an abortion for her own daughter even if she had been raped...In that same 2006 questionnaire, the soon-to-be governor said she would fund abstinence-only education programs in schools.

This ultra conservative governor's daughter didn't learn how to protect herself from unplanned pregnancy at school or from her mom apparently. Let's not forget this governor allowed herself to go through a high risk pregnancy (due to her advanced age) and earlier this year brought a special needs child into the world.

We must provide better role models than this Palin mother/daughter set for women throughout this great country!!

Jill Biden, who adopted her husband's two boys after he was widowed, would be a much better role model for American women and the Biden's daughter Ashley, would be a much better example for American girls too. Ashley had the good sense to get married before she got pregnant.

McCain's misjudgment in selecting this ultra conservative running mate rivals his "poor judgment" in the Keating Five Scandal.

Our daughters will be better educated and protected, and will have much better female role models when we elect the change we need -- Obama/Biden.

September 01, 2008 5:24 PM  
Blogger BlackTsunami said...

by the same token of what you wrote, amused by joebama, as a black man, I get offended by pundits saying that its wrong for blacks to vote for a black male soley on his color and then turn around and see nothing wrong with a man picking a woman for v.p. to get the female vote and "evangelical christians" voting for a candidate who says that he is also an "evangelical christian." talk about hypocrisy.

and apparently you haven't read the reactions by folks who feel that mccain choose palin as a gimmick. gimmicks don't win elections.

September 01, 2008 5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ooooohhh...sorry for this mistake -
"The Governor's daughter is pregant with an illegimate child?"
It seems that Ann Coulter cast an evil spell on my computer...it should have read "ILEGITIMATE"

September 01, 2008 6:50 PM  
Blogger Lisa Harney said...

earlier this year brought a special needs child into the world.

There are many reasons to criticize Sarah Palin. This is most emphatically not one of them.

September 01, 2008 8:08 PM  
Blogger BlackTsunami said...

Lisa is right. There are sooooo many other reasons to criticize Palin.

September 01, 2008 9:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nobody criticized her for having a Downs baby, of course. She gave a speech and flew across the continent after her water broke, putting her baby at risk, and a mother with any new baby might not want to take the reins of the greatest country on earth right away. There are also questions about whose baby it was, really, and there's a story about her pregnant unmarried daughter -- including Palin's comment that she was glad her daughter "decided" to have the baby, proving that she is in fact pro-choice... lots of stuff here...

September 01, 2008 9:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Nobody criticized her for having a Downs baby, of course."

'Caun't bea that stupid' did. She's quite shameless and lacks any sense of the value of life.

"There are also questions about whose baby it was, really,"

No, there aren't.

"and there's a story about her pregnant unmarried daughter --"

Well, again, TTF has a lot of shameless promoters. I won't participate in such a discussion except to say that I heard her statement about her daughter's pregnancy and I think she handled the situation perfectly.

Americans of good will admire Palin.

They detest the liberal blogosphere.

BTW, credit for basic decency to Obama, who said he will fire any staffer who tries to politicize the situation.

September 01, 2008 10:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He will do it.

Unlike Bush, who failed to honor his vow to fire every White House staffer involved in outing an active undercover CIA agent for political gain, Obama will follow through on firing any campaign staffer found to be making political use of the Palin family's unfortunate situation.

September 02, 2008 12:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Unlike Bush, who failed to honor his vow to fire every White House staffer involved in outing an active undercover CIA agent for political gain,"

not quite apples to apples

"Obama will follow through on firing any campaign staffer found to be making political use of the Palin family's unfortunate situation."

I think so too. I will say I won't be voting for Obama for a number of reasons but I think he has acted responsibly since the convention concluded. This may be a civil election after all. Although he doesn't really have any more experience than Palin, I'd still vote for him over the experienced Kennedy-Gore-Kerry-Edwards-Biden any day.

September 02, 2008 10:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

not quite apples to apples

I have to agree with Anon here.

Covering up for Executive Branch employees and appointees who were involved in treason -- outing an active undercover CIA operative -- is very likely an impeachable offense, but a campaigner using public personal information about an opposing candidate is probabaly not.

September 02, 2008 10:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We were talking about whether someone should be fired or not.

Allegations of a cover-up involving the President haven't been proven, or much allegated as far as I know, but, in any case, were not the topic of discussion.

How easily you stray off topic.

Try ritalin.

September 02, 2008 11:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

allegated? Do you mean alleged?

I put no faith in a prescription offered by you, thanks but no thanks, Anon. Maybe you should have taken ritalin during vocabulary lessons. They might have stuck better.

BTW, I was responding to your comment about Bush's failure to fire those involved in outing the active undercover CIA agent posted September 02, 2008 12:07 AM

Try to keep up.

September 02, 2008 11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Covering up for Executive Branch employees and appointees who were involved in treason -- outing an active undercover CIA operative -- is very likely an impeachable offense,"

Don't know what you were trying to say but this is what you actually said.

September 02, 2008 12:05 PM  

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