But then I came across this editorial in the New York Times:
September 1, 2005
Waiting for a Leader
George W. Bush gave one of the worst speeches of his life yesterday, especially given the level of national distress and the need for words of consolation and wisdom. In what seems to be a ritual in this administration, the president appeared a day later than he was needed. He then read an address of a quality more appropriate for an Arbor Day celebration: a long laundry list of pounds of ice, generators and blankets delivered to the stricken Gulf Coast. He advised the public that anybody who wanted to help should send cash, grinned, and promised that everything would work out in the end.
We will, of course, endure, and the city of New Orleans must come back. But looking at the pictures on television yesterday of a place abandoned to the forces of flood, fire and looting, it was hard not to wonder exactly how that is going to come to pass. Right now, hundreds of thousands of American refugees need our national concern and care. Thousands of people still need to be rescued from imminent peril. Public health threats must be controlled in New Orleans and throughout southern Mississippi. Drivers must be given confidence that gasoline will be available, and profiteering must be brought under control at a moment when television has been showing long lines at some pumps and spot prices approaching $4 a gallon have been reported.
Sacrifices may be necessary to make sure that all these things happen in an orderly, efficient way. But this administration has never been one to counsel sacrifice. And nothing about the president’s demeanor yesterday – which seemed casual to the point of carelessness – suggested that he understood the depth of the current crisis.
While our attention must now be on the Gulf Coast’s most immediate needs, the nation will soon as why New Orleans’s levees remained so inadequate. Publications from the local newspaper to National Geographic have fulminated about the bad state of flood protection in this beloved city, which is below sea level. Why were developers permitted to destroy wetlands and barrier islands that could have held back the hurricane’s surge? Why was Congress, before it wandered off to vacation, engaged in slashing the budget for correcting some of the gaping holes in the area’s flood protection?
It would be some comfort to think that, as Mr. Bush cheerily announced, America “will be a stronger place” for enduring this crisis. Complacency will no longer suffice, especially if experts are right in warning that global warming may increase the intensity of future hurricanes. But since this administration won’t acknowledge that global warming exists, the chances of leadership seem minimal.
Ok, I am back.
I have a couple of ideas that could win the good will of the people back.
1.) Assure those who are the poorest of the poor and the weakest of the weak (you know, the ones who could not afford to evacuate the cities) that they will be taken care of. That they will be loved.
2.) Bring home the national guard troops to help in the recsue/recovery efforts. Around 2/3 of the national guard of MS, LA, and AL are in Iraq providing woefully inadequate numbers for such a massive effort.
3.) Call for sacrifice amongst the American People. They want to help. They need to know how.
4.) Talk to the American people like they are adults, not chlidren. You are very condecening in your speeches. We are not as stupid as you think. While you are at it, work on not having that stupid smirk on your face that you get everytime Iraq is discussed.
5.) Give the American people updates on what is going on. Do not rely on the media. It is your job to lead the people. Do it.
6.) As rebuilding begins in The Gulf Coast, DO NOT contract out the jobs of rebuilding infrastructre to your buddies. Follow in the footsteps of FDR, create the GCRP (Gulf Coast Rebuild Project). Let the people who are now jobless work. Give jobs to them. Have the people take pride in their efforts. This can be co-oridninate through the Army Corps of Engineers.
7.) GET RID OF THE TAX CUTS. Right now the only people who need the relief are those directly affected by Katrina. The rest of us can Sacrifice the tax cuts (see number 3), and since they will not truly affect most of us we can handle it. Call on your buddies to pay more.
8.) Ignore the car lobby, and enforce CAFE standards. Make sure that our automobiels meet strict emissions and fuel comsumption standards.
9.) Regulate the utility companies this and the upcoming winters. Make sure that they charge honestly for heating fuel. There is no way people of even median income can afford the upconming $700 heating bills this winter.
10.) Act like you are in charge! Yesterday’s speech did not do that. Yesterday, you pawned out every job. At least look like you give a damn!