With the stranded being brought out of New Orleans on stretchers and by air, bus and train, the president acknowledged again on Saturday that his administration had failed to help many of the hurricane's most desperate victims promptly and promised to resurrect New Orleans and devastated coastal areas of several states.Believe it or not, I actually don't want to use Katrina as an opportunity to slam Bush. In fact, I don't even like that the DNC has put out documents highlighting the President's failures - I think enough people can and will notice things without the aid of political parties at a time when the obviously-political is rather distasteful.
"I know that those of you who have been hit hard by Katrina are suffering," Mr. Bush declared hours after signing a $10.5 billion package of assistance for the stricken region, which he called a down payment on aid to come. "Many are angry and desperate for help. The tasks before us are enormous, but so is the heart of America. In America, we do not abandon our fellow citizens in our hour of need. And the federal government will do its part."
But consider for a moment the idea that the federal government has a part to do here. An impliedly limited part.
Our country hasn't been truly federal in a very long time. And clearly, the states hardest hit by Katrina are completely tapped out. So how it is that the federal government has only "its part" to do?
While this could easily be attributed to Bush speaking imprecisely - as he is known to do - it more correctly illustrates the victory of the neoconservative movement. For over 20 years they built their new paradigms in think tanks and in small offices around the country. Hell, somehow, even Clinton was made to declare over the era of Big Government. And now, at a time when the federal government's role in these united states should be at its most obvious, the leader of the United States promises that the federal government will do its part - thus limiting the actions required of it to a specified, undefined segment of action.
The federal government shouldn't be doing its part. What he should have said is that we - WE the people - will move heaven and earth to bring swift relief to those who have lost everything, to rebuild a vital part of our national character, not to mention economy, and to ensure that in the future, no American city will ever again have to wait so shamefully long for the aid and comfort of the sovereign nation in which it makes its home.
The federal government's response has been a disgrace. And to perpetuate the myth of a federal government, long since undone at the request of both parties and all interest groups is insulting and immoral.