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Exploiting Katrina politically

This NYT article suggests that Democrats may try to make Katrina and its aftermath into their own 9-11. I think Republicans should welcome that debate, especially since it could be turned into a discussion of the incompetence, also, of state and local officials (Democrats all), as well as of the relative roles of federal, state, and local governments, not to mention the non-governmental sector, in disaster preparedness and relief. By contrast, 9-11 points unambiguously to a federal responsibility.

Discussions - 17 Comments

The Dems aren’t making Katrina their own 9/11. That’s nuts. The Democrats don’t have to do a thing. The Republicans are digging their own grave. All the Dems gotta do is get out of the way.

The Dems aren’t making Katrina their own 9/11. That’s brilliant. The Democrats don’t have to do a thing. The Republicans are digging their own grave. All the Dems gotta do is get out of the way.

Keep up the deep thinking Shawn. When it comes to Katrina there is no way for Dems to get out of the way, they’re the state and local officials leading the cleanup recoveries. Mayor Nagin & Gov. Blanco have been icons of incompetence throughout the Katrina affair.

The Republicans should never welcome a debate on a Democratic issue. They should stick to their issues: homeland security, foreign policy, judicial tyranny, traditional values, and a few others. A debate on Katrina will only degenerate into a spending contest, or, even if it doesn’t, the median voter will see it that way.

Although he expresses himself a bit extremely, DF is basically right. The Katrina issue amounts to: Why can’t govt. save us from hurricanes? All discussion of that question will favor the Ds.

Don’t the Dems already have a 9/11? I think it is called 9/11.

You know, if the feds came in a forced the New Orleans folks out, possibly by gunpoint, we would have the Dems yapping about how oppressive the federal government was.

You can’t win with the Dems for this is all about politics and nothing, not one thing, about saving lives.

I just can’t understand why the Democrats have been blaming the federal government when it was the local government that failed to act. It was Mayor Nagin who let the school buses sit there and "drown" instead of using them to get people out. Oh, and don’t forget all of the people who stayed behind regardless of the warnings. About a month ago Katrina refugees marched on Washington demanding help to clear their streets...why aren’t they clearning their streets? When we had a tornado go through Pennsylvania when I was a young girl, my dad cleaned up the downed trees in our yard...he didn’t even think about marching on Washington demanding help. (By the way, this tornado was the largest to ever hit PA so back then in 1985 it was a big deal). I fail to see how the federal government is responsible. I don’t care if the President/Mayor/Governor is Democrat or Republican, the local government is the ones ultimately responsible. People need to start accepting responsibility for their own circumstances.

says Dale: "You can’t win with the Dems for this is all about politics and nothing, not one thing, about saving lives."

I remember the Mexican army crossing the border to save our butts in New Orleans when the "Feds" could not achieve the same. During the same time, bloggers on this site were worrying about the Mexican army crossing the border to transport drugs in Arizona and Texas.

Everyone is guilty of politicizing Katrina: from "What about the buses," to What about the Mayor?" to What about FIMA," to "You’re doin’ a heckuva job, Brownie!"

If the Dems need a 9/11, all they have to do is point to the people in charge during 9/11, and that would be the Republicans: Executive, Senate, House --- no one to blame but Republicans.

Funny Michael Moore Groupie, I think if you look back at 2001 you will find that the Democrats were the majority in the Senate due to Jim Jeffords flip flop. So I guess your 911 logic is faulty.

Not to mention the cruelty of multi-generational welfare, that ties people to the whims of the (ineffective) government, by paying people just enough to disincentivise education, innovation, contribution to society, and betterment of one’s own living situation. Let’s talk about how welfare paralyzes people. And how the Democrats pander to these people by tossing them crumbs. It’s sickening. How were the welfare recipients supposed to get out of New Orleans when Ray Nagin was preening and posturing? Ugh!

MS took the direct hit of Katrina and came through the days afterward well with no whining-- run by Republicans-- AL, GA, and FL, too.

LA-- run by Democrats-- is exposed as incompetent on a world-wide stage, so it had to be someone elses fault. Democrats-- always the victim, searching for someone else to blame.

" Democrats-- always the victim, searching for someone else to blame. "

What was the title of this post?

Without placing the blame on anyone, local, state or Federal, I don’t think the argument will be won by Republicans by turning the focus to the Mayor or Governor and pointing out that they are Democrats.

I’m in Ohio, if a Democratic or Republican Mayor in New Orleans is incompetent, it doesn’t sway me one way or the other. He or she doesn’t represent me.

The Federal Government does represent me and when they do something I don’t approve of, I am angry at them. I think this might be the same for many voters. The emotions will be directed more to the Federal level, because they are representative of all U.S. voters.

Katrina was an enormous natural disaster. I feel all levels could do more and should execute their duties more efficiently. I agree with David Frisk a little - Republicans won’t win the argument framed in which level of Government failed. They might do better to highlight individual acts of heroism, private sector contributions, etc.

I consider myself liberal, but agree with many conservatives that personal responsibility needs to be taken seriously. The people and organizations that took it upon themselves to go to the Hurricane raveged areas and bring water, rescue equipment, etc. are probably a better focus for Republicans.

That being said, Katrina was and still is too big for many individuals or local governments to handle without Federal resources. It takes a balance. It would make government even more bloated if each State had a disaster response agency at the level of FEMA. But FEMA can’t do it alone, nor should it be expected to.

Thing is, LA and NO did have disaster plans in place. They were not followed. Moreover, NO officials were initially stating that the hurricane was no big deal shortly after it hit, which was true.

The problem came when the levees broke.

Dale - I don’t doubt you, I just don’t think Republicans will win the argument with that reasoning. There were failures at all levels, but the images that will stick in people’s minds are those shown on TV - people stranded, people asking for water, people on top of their roof...

The argument that Government agencies failed can be made, but to turn the argument to the local government’s failure without recognizing the federal government’s failure probably isn’t going to go very far for many voters. Most voters can’t hold a referendum on the Mayor or Governor. They might feel they can on the Federal Government..

First of all I would like to express my DISGUST at the comparison of Katrina (natural disaster) to 9/11 (terrorism). Never mind the very loud & public warnings pre-Katrina - the two cannot be compared. Second of all, it further disgusts me that the deaths of thousands are so easily turned into a political platform. I don’t mean that action should not have been taken in either case, but that the death & destruction of such events are used to further a political campaign. Sick.

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