For most of this year Bush's advisers have blamed the president's sliding poll numbers not on the war in Iraq but on high gas prices at home. Those prices spiked after Katrina, topping $3 a gallon in many neighborhoods,
But what they seem to fail to note is it is not the event, but their response and actions that drive these numbers.
So how did they respond? It was sadly predictable.
Bush staged photo ops, that delayed aid and created a false impression of success. Politics over life saving with this president.
ZDF News [from Germany] reported that the president's visit was a completely staged event. Their crew witnessed how the open air food distribution point Bush visited in front of the cameras was torn down immediately after the president and the herd of 'news people' had left and that others which were allegedly being set up were abandoned at the same time....
But perhaps the greatest disappointment stands at the breached 17th Street levee. Touring this critical site yesterday with the President, I saw what I believed to be a real and significant effort to get a handle on a major cause of this catastrophe. Flying over this critical spot again this morning, less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a Presidential photo opportunity; and the desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment....
Bush actually stopped rescue attempts.
People were wondering why those choppers were not out picking up flood victims or delivering supplies. The reason why is simple -- Bush had the majority of helcopter traffic stopped while Marine One was in the Gulf Coast region....
They lied about understanding the nature and scope of the disaster.
Defending the U.S. government's response to Hurricane Katrina, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff argued Saturday that government planners did not predict such a disaster ever could occur.
and the President, sounding profoundly unpresidential, used his weekly radio address to blame others.
Of course, the right wing is blaming anyone else in a laughable effort to excuse this gross failure in defending this nation.
Bush partisans went on the offensive. Grover Norquist, the conservative activist with close ties to Karl Rove, blamed the chaos on "looting in a Democratic city run by a Democratic mayor and a Democratic governor."
Please note, most of the looting started about 100 hours after the president declared the emergency. Grover doesn't bother to, or seem to be able to, explain why there was no federal presence in place that would have helped prevent the need for food looting, and the general looting that started soon after.
For a vocal and angry view of the performance of this administration, head over to The Big Brass Blog and read some of the demands for accountability, that include laundry list of failings, or vistsi some other blog links here.