Friday, January 13, 2006

The Imperial Visit

The Emperor in Chief got around to visiting New Orleans and the Gulf Coast yesterday. He managed to make a couple of stops, but carefully avoided those areas hardest hit by the winds and floods. He also managed to avoid those areas where pesky protestors had gathered. Elisabeth Bumiller duly noted his itinerary in the NY Times.

President Bush made his first trip here in three months on Thursday and declared that New Orleans was "a heck of a place to bring your family" and that it had "some of the greatest food in the world and some wonderful fun."

Mr. Bush spent his brief visit in a meeting with political and business leaders on the edge of the Garden District, the grand neighborhood largely untouched by the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina, and saw little devastation. He did not go into the city's hardest-hit areas or to Jackson Square, where several hundred girls from the Academy of the Sacred Heart staged a protest demanding stronger levees.

...Mr. Bush, who appeared to be trying to spread optimism in a city that is years away from recovery, did not tell the group or the city's residents what many were hoping to hear: that he would commit the federal government to building the strongest possible levees, a Category 5 storm protection system.
[Emphasis added]

One wonders whether he could have been as optimistic if he had seen the parts of the city that were under water long enough to destroy entire neighborhoods, where less than half of the debris has been removed by the no-bid contractors and which don't look all that different than they did the day after the hurricane. I guess those areas wouldn't have provided the desired background for the Imperial presence. It would look too much like it is: evidence of yet another failed policy.

Besides, Mr. Bush had other, more pressing appointments:

From New Orleans, Mr. Bush traveled to Waveland and Bay St. Louis in Mississippi, where he viewed destruction along the Gulf Coast. He then headed for Palm Beach, Fla., for a closed-door $4 million fund-raiser for the Republican National Committee and Republican candidates at the home of Dwight Schar, a homebuilder and a co-owner of the Washington Redskins. [Emphasis added]

One must have priorities, you know.


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