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Katrina's Negative Effect on Dems' Campaign Strategy

Commentary by Greg Lewis / NewMediaJournal.US
September 5, 2006

Only four or five months ago, Democrats were unabashedly crowing over their impending takeover of the House of Representatives. There were admittedly some premature, not to say inappropriate, public squabbles over which Democrat would become Speaker of the House, following which Nancy Pelosi emphatically, even somewhat petulantly, made it clear that she would not be denied her rightful position as House Speaker after the inevitable Dem electoral success this fall. Make no mistake about who wears the pants in the Democrat Party.

The bottom line among Democrats was that they would become the majority party in the House, and you couldn't have convinced them otherwise. As late as last April, the notion that Democrats would come to be the majority party in the House of Representatives was a given, at least to hear them tell it; the heirs-apparent to the U.S. political throne were merely wrangling over who would be tapped to manage their newfound political clout.

In the meantime, however, things have changed on the ever-fluid domestic political and scientific fronts. Among the "events" that have occurred in the interim has been the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's wreaking havoc on the Gulf Coast, more pointedly on the city of New Orleans. In the wake of the inarguably tragic events that followed Katrina's making landfall, Democrats have hammered the Bush Administration relentlessly, with "science," particularly climatological science, as one of the weapons in their arsenal.

Let's take a minute to focus on this "science," which, among other things, predicted an even more brutal and disastrous hurricane season this year than last, and which blames both last year's actual and this year's predicted catastrophes on the advance of global warming that would have certainly been averted had we not re-elected Bush in 2004.

"Science" aside, this Fall's hurricane season is turning into a real disappointment, indeed, into a possible political disaster, for Democrats. While they have had a full year to trumpet their assertions that it was the Bush Administration that was really at fault for the city of New Orleans's and the state of Louisiana's inept efforts to protect their citizens, it is highly questionable whether they've really managed to make their message stick.

It's becoming increasingly clear that it is that "jimber-jawed idiot," Ray Nagin — my apologies to William Faulkner for stealing the descriptive phrase — along with his incompetent (and very likely corrupt) Louisiana Democrat cohorts Senator Mary Landrieu and Governor Kathleen Blanco, who are truly at fault.

In the fullness of time — and thanks to such dispassionate sources as Popular Mechanics Magazine ("Now What? The Lessons of Katrina," March, 2006), whose excellent analysis of the Katrina disaster in New Orleans demonstrates precisely how effective the Federal Government's response was, in the face of the resistance and ineptitude they had to overcome on the state and local levels — it is becoming clear that the leftist mainstream media's relentless attack on the President is largely baseless, and that, while no one and no agency is entirely blameless, the overwhelming culpability lies with Nagin, Blanco, and Landrieu. Trust Democrats to point the finger of blame in every direction but that where it truly belongs.

For most thinking Americans, it is clear that the fault for (at least) the scope of the New Orleans disaster lies overwhelmingly with Louisianans. From their corrupt rechanneling to more politically "urgent" (and arguably more corrupt) ends of federal funds earmarked over the past three decades to shore up New Orleans' levees against just such an event as Katrina precipitated, to their inability to so much as think straight, let alone implement the relatively simple and direct steps that might have mitigated the disaster that ensued following Katrina, local and state officials criminally dropped the ball.

Among the things they failed to do include actually giving the go-ahead in a timely manner to the President and his agents to take the necessary steps, including deploying National Guard troops and other resources, to stave off what happened (this approval, it should be noted, could by law only have come from state and local officials). This is not to mention that the same state and local officials had the responsibility, immediately prior to Katrina's making landfall, of getting thousands of school buses to high ground so they would be available for evacuation duty, as well as of insuring that New Orleans cops would stay at their stations and carry out their prescribed duties as public servants. In these obligations, Nagin, Blanco, and Landrieu failed abjectly.

The bottom line is that, in their current rush to re-blame the Bush Administration for what happened a year ago in the Gulf of Mexico, Democrats — along with their shills, the "mainstream" media — have in fact opened up a can of worms. By attempting, in hindsight, to re-focus attention on the Katrina catastrophe for political gain, Dems and the mainstream media have actually provided an opportunity for the Bush Administration and conservative commentators to bring the facts of the matter to a larger audience, an audience that, 365 days ago, was caught up in the moment and arguably found it difficult to sort out the conflicting reports they received.

The further problem with the Dems' insistence on resurrecting Katrina as a political issue has to do with the alleged causes of this hurricane. If you look back on post-Katrina-landfall commentary, most lefties chose to blame Bush for the very fact that Katrina even occurred. Bush was "soft" on global warming. Bush's "anti-environmental" policies had, in even the short five years he'd been in office, managed to tilt the balance of the global ecology dangerously nearer the breaking point, the point where we find ourselves rushing inexorably toward human-caused global warming-related catastrophes on a disastrous scale. Katrina was, to Bush haters, prima facie evidence that the President himself, through his administration's environmental policies, had in fact "caused" hurricane Katrina and the resultant devastation visited on the city of New Orleans.

Never mind that neighboring Mississippi suffered devastation arguably as damaging as that of New Orleans, and that Mississippi, under the leadership of Governor Hayley Barbour, is "manning up" to the rebuilding task, while Louisiana, in typical Democrat fashion, continues its incessant whine, its ongoing attempt to find governmental agencies to blame for the very catastrophe itself, not to mention for the fact that "Federal Funds" seem not to be forthcoming to assuage their pain.
The fact is that, under the leadership of the afore-designated "jimber-jawed idiot," Ray Nagin, the city of New Orleans has not managed to come up with even so much as a plan for rebuilding the city. As anyone who has looked into the situation can tell you, one of the criteria for receiving federal funds to rebuild after hurricane Katrina — or any natural disaster, for that matter — is that the area in question must produce a legitimate and reviewable plan for said rebuilding.

Ray Nagin, in association with Kathleen Blanco and Mary Landrieu, has simply not done so. In the light of Democrats' and the mainstream media's focus on the Bush Administration's supposed failures to respond adequately to Katrina, the facts are managing to emerge. And those facts do not present critics of the Bush Administration in a positive light.

The question becomes, "How do the Democrats, who have hammered Bush relentlessly for being the very cause of Katrina, respond to the so-far benign 'hurricane' season this year, a season that has not yet seen so much as the hint of a real hurricane?"

Never doubt that Dems have an answer. And while we haven't yet been treated definitively to that answer, it must surely be along the lines that, given the current hurricane season's inability to live up to the catastrophic outcomes predicted by leftist-environmentalist-Democrats, the Bush Administration has somehow managed to negotiate, with the very forces of nature it is alleged to have been disrupting, nothing less than a cessation of hostilities.

What the President has been unable to negotiate with Islamist terrorists in the Middle East, he seems to have managed to agree upon with Mother Nature herself.

This would help explain the fact that this year's hurricane season has in no way lived up to the hype of the leftist global-warming alarmists. In the bargain, however, it manages once again to lay the current turn of events directly at the feet of the Bush crowd. It would seem that the current administration has somehow managed to buy off Nature for at least this year's hurricane season (and who knows, possibly through the 2008 Presidential elections) so that Democrats will have no natural disasters to blame on their Republican-Conservative opponents.

About all I can say in the face of such traducing by Democrats of the very notion of what a political campaign issue might be as they attempt to spin Katrina in such a way as to make themselves come out a winner is this: When those who support the values on which America was built and on which it continues to thrive begin to see the light, and when that light illuminates incididences that run counter to the Democrat message — in this case the fact that Mississippi is managing to move ahead with its local/individual-initiative-based reconstruction following the Katrina disaster, while New Orleans still languishes in the trough of a Democrat-inspired blame-based inertia that virtually guarantees that the city will not find a way to recover — they also begin to see that the leftists and the liberals and the Democrats who continue to push the program of defeatism and retreatism and let-somebody-else-do-it-ism are not to be trusted with the governance of the House of Representatives, let alone the Senate and the Presidency.

The fact is that Democrats continue to insist on "mewling and puking" — like Shakespeare's ("As You Like It") infant, soon to become a "whining schoolboy" — about the fact that their and their constituents' fates are in somebody else's hands. Never will you hear a Democrat propose a legitimate or workable practical solution to any of the problems that face our citizenry.

"Mewling and puking" is about as far as Democrats are able to go in articulating their political agenda, which, as witness their mishandling of the Katrina "anniversary," is one of the many reasons their candidates will fail to pass muster with an American citizenry that has learned to see through the spin and the sham and the agenda-driven analysis that is all Democrats have to offer as a political platform on which their hapless candidates can run in this fall's elections.


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