Special Hurricane Blame Game Edition
Bush Just Doesn’t Give a Damn
“After meeting with Louisiana officials last week, Rev. Jesse Jackson said, quote, ‘Many black people feel that their race, their property conditions and their voting patterns have been a factor in the response.’ He continued, quote, ‘I’m not saying that myself.’ Then I’ll say it: If the majority of the hardest hit victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans were white people, they would not have gone for days without food and water, forcing many to steal for mere survival. Their bodies would not have been left to float in putrid water....We’ve repeatedly given tax cuts to the wealthiest and left our most vulnerable American citizens to basically fend for themselves....The President has put himself at risk by visiting the troops in Iraq, but didn’t venture anywhere near the Superdome or the convention center, where thousands of victims, mostly black and poor, needed to see that he gave a damn.”
— Contributor Nancy Giles on CBS’s Sunday Morning, September 4.
“21st Century Marie Antoinette”
“For many of this country’s citizens, the mantra has been, as we were taught in social studies it should always be, whether or not I voted for this President, he is still my President. I suspect anybody who had to give him that benefit of the doubt stopped doing so last week. I suspect, also, a lot of his supporters, looking ahead to ’08, are wondering how they can distance themselves from the two words which will define his government, our government: New Orleans. For him, it is a shame, in all senses of the word. A few changes of pronouns in there and he might not have looked so much like a 21st century Marie Antoinette.”
— Keith Olbermann on MSNBC’s Countdown, Sept. 5.
Blame Uncaring Middle Class
“Conventional wisdom says natural disasters like hurricanes don’t discriminate, but society does discriminate.... Like it or not, the haves are being confronted with the plight of the have-nots. In the past, middle class Americans didn’t seem to care very much. Perhaps if they had, politicians would have paid more attention, the media would have sent a few more reporters to look into those dreadful conditions and maybe, just maybe, something might have changed. Instead, we waited for catastrophe to shove us into empathy.”
— ABC reporter Judy Muller in a commentary on NPR’s Morning Edition, September 6.
CNN Blames America’s Racism
“I don’t know if it’s race or class, to be honest....You do get the feeling that poor people in the country get shafted.... Do you think black America’s sitting there thinking, ‘If these were middle class white people, there’d be cruise ships in New Orleans?’...Do you think the reason that they’re not there or the food is not there or the cruise ships aren’t there or all this stuff that you believe should be there, [and] isn’t there, is a matter of race and/or class?”
— Aaron Brown to Democratic Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones on CNN’s NewsNight, September 2.
“This hurricane hit Monday morning, it is now Friday afternoon, and we saw just a couple of hours ago, U.S. troops move into that convention center in New Orleans....There have been some that have suggested that race has been a factor because so many of the people in New Orleans who have been suffering, as you well know, are African-American....Do you believe, if it was, in fact, a slow response, as many now believe it was, was it in part the result of racism?...There are some critics who are saying, and I don’t know if you’re among those, but people have said to me, had this happened in a predominantly white community, the federal government would have responded much more quickly. Do you believe that?”
— Wolf Blitzer to Democratic Representative Elijah Cummings on CNN’s The Situation Room, September 2.
Blame Bush’s Wasteful War...
“Mr. President, one of the things you hear here is people saying ‘there’s a lot of resources being devoted to Iraq. Now this country needs them.’...What do you say to the people who say there’s too much money being spent on Iraq and it’s time to bring it home?”
— White House reporter Terry Moran to President Bush during his trip to Biloxi, Mississippi, a clip played during ABC News’ live coverage on September 2.
...And Those Ridiculous Tax Cuts
NPR’s Nina Totenberg: “And let us say one other thing. For years, we have cut our taxes, cut our taxes and let the infrastructure throughout the country go, and this is just the first of a number of other crumbling things that are going to happen to us.”
Charles Krauthammer: “You must be kidding here.”
Moderator Gordon Peterson: “She’s not kidding.”
Totenberg: “I’m not kidding.”
— Exchange on Inside Washington, September 3.
Heartless Bush Prefers Oil
“The dilatory performance of George Bush during the past week has been outrageous. Almost as unbelievable as Katrina itself is the fact that the leader of the free world has been outshone by the elected leaders of a region renowned for governmental ineptitude....The populism of Huey Long was financially corrupt, but when it came to the welfare of people, it was caring. The churchgoing cultural populism of George Bush has given the United States an administration that worries about the House of Saud and the welfare of oil companies while the poor drown in their attics and their sons and daughters die in foreign deserts.”
— Former New York Times Executive Editor Howell Raines in a Los Angeles Times op-ed, September 1.
Like 9/11, Bush AWOL on Katrina
Newsweek’s Joe Contreras: “The federal response has been lamentable....The response of the government of the most powerful, economically advanced, technologically sophisticated country paled alongside the relief efforts that I’ve seen [mounted by] Third World governments....”
MSNBC’s Natalie Allen: “And what in the world, in your opinion, explains it, Joe?”
Contreras: “For one thing, the federal government since 9/11 has been too fixated on the terrorist threat. I think also that President Bush, for yet another time, once again showed a lack of instant immediate leadership. Just as we saw him flitting around the country during those initial eleven hours after the attacks on the Twin Towers, we saw him once again at his ranch in Crawford.”
— MSNBC’s live hurricane coverage, September 5.
Chance to Expand Welfare State
“Hurricane Katrina is perhaps the most economically destructive event in American history since the Great Depression, the last time the country responded with unprecedented sweeping changes to help the least fortunate. Today may demand an equal effort.”
— Reporter Chris Cuomo during an August 31 ABC News special, “In the Path of Katrina.”
Fearful of Christian Generosity
“Do I need to be concerned that I’m going to go live with a church family, are they going to proselytize me, are they going to say, ‘You better come to church with me or else, I’m, you know, you’re not going to get your breakfast this morning’?”
— Co-host Harry Smith asking author/pastor Rick Warren about church families taking in those displaced by the hurricane, on CBS’s Early Show, September 6.
Thank Bush’s Big Oil Buddies
“The hurricane that struck Louisiana yesterday was nicknamed Katrina by the National Weather Service. Its real name is global warming....Unfortunately, very few people in America know the real name of Hurricane Katrina because the coal and oil industries have spent millions of dollars to keep the public in doubt about the issue....In 2000, big oil and big coal scored their biggest electoral victory yet when President George W. Bush was elected President — and subsequently took suggestions from the industry for his climate and energy policies. As the pace of climate change accelerates, many researchers fear we have already entered a period of irreversible runaway climate change.”
— Former Washington Post and Boston Globe reporter Ross Gelbspan in an August 30 Boston Globe op-ed.
Enough of this Free Market Crap
“What can you, and what can the President do, to help people, because the prices are clearly spiraling out of control?...What about a national price cap? There are some people who say, gas is going to cost us $3 a gallon, the average will be $3 a gallon by the end of the week — by next week. What about a national price cap?”
— CNN’s Soledad O’Brien to Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman on American Morning, August 31.
Bush Doesn’t Care About Blacks
“I hate the way they portray us in the media. If you see a black family, it says they’re looting. See a white family, it says they’re looking for food....A lot of the people that could help are at war right now fighting another way, and they’ve given them permission to go down and shoot us....George Bush doesn’t care about black people.”
— Rapper Kanye West during NBC’s Concert for Hurricane Relief, September 2.
“If it was a bunch on white people on roofs in the Hamptons, I don’t have any f[bleep]ing doubt there would have been every single helicopter, every plane, every single means that the government has to help these people.”
— Actor Colin Farrell on Access Hollywood, September 5.
Katrina, Bush’s Monica Lewinsky
“Hurricane Katrina is George Bush’s Monica Lewinsky. One difference, and I’ll say this, the only difference is this: That tens of thousands of people weren’t stranded in Monica Lewinsky’s vagina. That is the only difference.”
— Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart during his opening remarks on The Daily Show, September 6.
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