David Brooks has measured the ambition of President Bush’s Katrina recovery plan, further elaborated here, here, and here. I think that Brooks has hit the nail on the head: this is GWB’s true experiment in compassionate conservatism. Traditional Republicans and Democrats have different reasons to be concerned, but I think Bush will seize the moment and push this plan very hard.
Update: Stephen Moore has many serious reservations about the plan, some more convincing than others. He can’t, for example, be serious in comparing the costs of rebuilding Chicago, San Francisco, and Galveston in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to the costs of cleaning up toxic muck and restoring transportation and communications infrastructure today. But waste, fraud, and mismanagement are a sufficiently serious risk that the President ought to appoint someone--please let’s not call him a czar and give him another layer of bureaucracy--to spearhead the reconstruction effort. I nominate J.C. Watts, whose support was central to the Bush Administration’s domestic policy initiatives in 2001, who has demonstrated the capacity to work well with non-profit and faith-based groups, and against whom it would be next to impossible to play the race card.