President Bush spoke in Louisiana yesterday and made a couple of interesting remarks about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. First, consider this:
In response to the government’s initially slow response to Hurricane Katrina, Bush said, “If I didn’t respond well enough, I’m going to learn the lessons.” The federal government’s response to the second huge storm to slam the area, Rita, has gotten better reviews.
“The story will unfold. I mean, the facts of the story will come out over time, and the important thing is for federal, state and local governments to adjust and to respond,” Bush said.
I’m only going to pick on that for a moment, long enough to point out that “if I didn’t…” seems like a nice way of saying “my critics are wrong.” That may be the case, but it would’ve been easy enough to leave that part out and just say what he said in the last line above. Admittedly, I don’t know the specific question, but it just seems ludicrous. Otherwise, his response was fine. (And Democrats need to stop the useless insinuation that he’s only going to Louisiana and Mississippi for political gain. Maybe, but he’s still the president.)
Moving along, here’s the other quote from President Bush:
“I don’t think Washington ought to dictate to New Orleans how to rebuild,” he said. Bush said he had told New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin that “we will support the plan that you develop.”
I agree that the federal government shouldn’t dictate how New Orleans rebuilds, but wouldn’t it make sense, using that logic, that perhaps the federal government shouldn’t fund it, either? Since we don’t believe in that form of federalism and personal responsibility any more, I want the federal government dictating the terms. I don’t live in Lousiana or Mississippi, but the residents and businesses of those states will use some of my money to rebuild. I don’t want them wasting my money making the same mistakes that compounded the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina. Dictate the terms or don’t spend the money. It’s simple.
Post Script: This in no way constitutes an endorsement of the current administration’s theory on federalism and fiscal policy. I merely expect accountability with how the federal government throws my money (and yours) around for rebuilding purposes.