Wednesday, September 14, 2005

No, This Time The Strib Got It Wrong.

As most folks know, one of my favorite newspapers is the Minneapolis Star Tribune. It's not just the fact that their editorials usually jibe with my own opinions. In fact, sometimes I disagree with them, but the paper usually presents a well-thought out argument in support of their position. I can live with that.

Today, however, the editorialist was just flat out wrong, not to mention smarmy and obsequious.

The sigh of relief was audible nationwide Tuesday when President Bush acknowledged that federal preparation for and response to Hurricane Katrina was flawed, that he accepted responsibility for the failures and that he would see to it the problems are fixed.

The importance of Bush's statement, coming at this difficult moment, is impossible to exaggerate; it will make an enormous difference in healing the nation of the wounds inflicted by Katrina and preparing for the next catastrophe, whether natural or man-made.

Americans weren't angry last week because Bush refused to take total responsibility for failures in dealing with Katrina; they were angry because Bush refused to acknowledge any federal culpability. Instead, the White House went into spin mode and tried to pin the tail on everyone else. ...

Americans want to have confidence in the elected officials who lead them; it's no fun feeling that those leaders are ducking and weaving and finger pointing to protect their political hides, rather than performing the sometimes painful duties -- such as acknowledging error -- that true public service requires.

Bush's statement was just such a service to the country. It will be important that he follow through, with maximum transparency, on identifying what went wrong and making the necessary corrections. His admission of federal, and personal, culpability was a fine start. It's what Americans expect from their president. We applaud him for it.

The fact is, the President's statement did not accept responsibility in the sense of accepting any blame. It was a hollow statement, one that was coldly calculated to take the heat off in the midst of a veritable firestorm from the media that had been so passive and amenable to all of his malfeasance over the past nearly five years, and to soothe the absolute horror of the American public at what they were seeing and hearing.

If he had been so concerned about the well-being of citizens in the path of the storm, he wouldn't have traveled to California on the day the storm hit in what was a blatantly political photo-op, nor would he have made all the comments he did to the press chiding them for "playing the blame game" after it became clear to everyone in the world that something had gone terribly wrong.

No, STrib. He didn't make this grandiose gesture to get to the bottom of the problem because he has no intention of 'fixing' it. He wants this to simmer down so he doesn't have to answer any hard questions.

Read what I had to say in the previous two posts. That's what I think the STrib and other press outlets ought to be exploring. Bush's statement was in no way a "service to the country." It was just business as usual from the Mediocre Frat Boy.

Sorry. Not this time.


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