Sunday, March 22, 2009

His what now?

I love Frank Rich, but his latest essay hits the ground running with an absurd premise (which Rich borrows and amplifies):

It would be foolish to dismiss as hyperbole the stark warning delivered by Paulette Altmaier of Cupertino, Calif., in a letter to the editor published by The Times last week: “President Obama may not realize it yet, but his Katrina moment has arrived.”


Whatever you think of what Obama is doing to try to fix the economy, at least he is trying to fix the economy. (Wasn't the "big story" a few weeks back about how he suddenly has gray hair?) Maybe his solution is wrong, maybe he is being unduly political or cautious, maybe he's just trying to shore up things the way they were, maybe he's secretly in the pockets of the already-entrenched powers-that-be. Or maybe he isn't. But at least he is taking action. And at least he demonstrates a basic level of empathy and concern about the issue.

Bush's Katrina sins, lest we forget, were of a different stripe altogether. When the hurricane hit, Bush was oblivious, incompetent, and criminally cavalier, all at once. His "response" was inaction, and the impression he created was that he did not give a flying fuck. What emergency, remember?

Am I crazy to think there's a difference?


Joe said...

Would you have preferred Bush to take the wrong actions, making everything worse?

Andrew Durkin... said...

Hard to imagine how Bush could have made Katrina worse, short of dropping nukes on NO -- but if he had been actually engaged with the issue, and had been genuinely interested in fixing the problem in a timely manner, then I'd've been willing to cut him a little more slack, yes.

mrG said...

I think you're right on the mark; not only the cold silence of the Bush administration, but their almost precision skill at doing and saying the dumbest things is, I think, the number one biggest argument against all the new Conspiracy buffs. Like the old UFO argument, that if the government is so hopeless at covering their tracks on relatively innocuous things like sex scandals and leaked budgets, how on Earth could they mastermind a massive centuries long secret society takeover scheme? :)

That said, I still don't buy the argument that a top team of Wall Street presidential advisors were 'surprised' to learn how AIG paid its bonuses, and I still don't follow the argument about "too large to fail" that is driving the bonus payments ever higher - Obama didn't need to break the law cancelling the bonus contracts, he could have just let Nature take its course and let AIG fail. But he didn't, because his world-view sits AIG somewhere among the Titans of Olympus and his High Priests are all saying you have to throw a giraffe into the volcano if you want your water hole back; kinda funny in a way that such a master of election media PR should fall for the finance world's masterful PR, but as you say, he's on it and that is a far cry from what we saw (not) happen in the previous administration.

The Dissonance said...

sigh... it would seem the media takes great delight in finding stark-raving mad loonies to get quotes from. it's sad and hard to escape, there are so many loonies out there.