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September 09, 2005

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this one's tough to blame on Fox alone.

"No one ever went broke understimating the intelligence of the American people."

Fox's audience can't handle the truth.

Polling report is just full of bad news for Bush. People don't even like him anymore. He does have one thing going for him though. 1% think his response to the hurricane was "too quick."

http://www.pollingreport.com/BushFav.htm

http://www.pollingreport.com/disasters.htm

Hey, here's a (barely related) question.

What do we think are the odds of Brown having to resign? If they're high, then what are the odds that, given the right moves, various players could cooperate to force Chertoff to resign too?

If Chertoff resigning is at all realistic, then what?

I floated a fantasy at dKos of getting Lieberman installed at DHS. I know just barely enough politics to think I can make a compelling case (though that particular diary is rushed and a little sloppy), but not enough to know what's really realistic. I can imagine a maneuver that would result in DHS being taken away from the incompetents and given to the man they almost gave it to back in Dec 2004... but that's like an amateur paleontologist finding three bones and trying to imagine the dinosaur. I just don't have the chops to actually get it right; mostly, I'm seeing what I want to see.

Any thoughts on replacing Chertoff?

And by the way, Kagro's suggestion of holding/filibustering Roberts until a real investigation is secured? Yes. I hope Blanco isn't the one begging her not to.

reverse order:

Kagro's idea is excellent. The devi is in the details and the execution. Since it's political theater, you need a good actor to pull it off.

Lieberman? Rell is an R Governor. A D cannot resign the senate to help Bush in any way and wind up diminishing the Senate. Political suicide. Besides, Joementum is for some reason popular around here (CT, not TNH) and is up for reelection.

Replacing Chertoff? Someone with disaster experience. Guiliani would be a good PR choice for Bush, and a bad one for Rudy. He'd have to deliver the goods in a much different setting with different expectations. A 'never-heard-of-him' James Lee Witt would be a good choice.

Brown is history. No one will defend him. The only Q is when.

Mike S, that Gallup and Zogby both have unfav > fav for Bush (and Fox is close) is pretty remarkable.

The media at least has quietly stopped using 'popular' President to describe Bush.

I've been hearing nothing but deafening silence throughout this ordeal from everyone's favorite security and planning bulldog Richard Clarke. Is he only capable of thinking of Them coming to get Us, or can he fit hurricanes and flus and whatnot in his brain as well? Obviously Bush isn't going to appoint his critic-in-chief to homeland security but I'd like to be hearing his voice in there somewhere. Giuliani is an effective political leader but not in my opinion an effective manager or planner.

If you can only get one good person (which with this administration may be an optimistic estimate) would you put her in charge of FEMA or DHS?

Obviously FEMA actually does something, unlike DHS, so one might think FEMA's more critical; but it seems to me that DHS has power to completely trip up whatever competenta there might be at FEMA (& not the other way around) so putting someone good at FEMA may be like parking them in a corner with their hands tied (not to get too abu ghraib-y about it).

Let's play a game! Can you guess which administration the following occurred under?

I worked for a state health department in the mid 1990s to early 2002. In 1994 after the new conservative Governor took office, the head of many bureaus in the Dept. were given to large contribution donors to the new governor's campaign, and these were in many cases people with no health experience whatsoever, nevermind in the related bureau's work. Behind the scenes it was reported that the administration did not know health, did not do health, and thus would use that dept for cronyism awards.

Can you guess the state. Here's a hint. It's governor went on to become the first head of a new Federal cabinet Department which now houses FEMA!

It's governor went on to become the first head of a new Federal cabinet Department which now houses FEMA!

But aren't PA residents (other than in Philly, of course) unusually self-reliant and stoic ('Real' Americans)? They don't really need a functioning Health Dept. do they?

I remember being scolded by some moderate dem friends for ridiculing Ridge when he won the gov job; they told me that he was really moderate and pragmatic, and I guess, relatively speaking, he is. I guess any pol will do this kind of crony crap, but Republicans - appallingly - tend to rationalize it.

Nice bit of symmetry, NG.

Why conservative pundits get no respect.

The Bush administration has received a torrent of bi-partisan criticism for its initial response to Hurricane Katrina. But most conservative columnists have continued to go fairly easy on George W. Bush during the past week, according to an E&P survey.

They're also gone easy on him for 9/11, WMD, Abu Ghraib, Iraq, Plame and anything and everything you can think of. Why anyone would take what they say seriously is beyond me.

I think Brown will be gone by this weekend.

Chertoff is another story. He is REALLY a bog part of the problem, and his cadaverous presence on TV doesn;t help. But DHS is a major cabinet now, and one they already had trouble filling.

Maybe if thigs go bad enough here in CA they will invite Arnold to take over DHS and terminate some people, break some heads, charge around like an action figure. It is as good an idea for them as anything else I have heard.

If this tumbling in the polls and (mild) assault by some of the previously sycophantic media hadn't taken place after an appalling tragedy, it would be sweet news indeed. As we all know, the only things Dubyanocchio can claim competence for is cheerleading and smirking, both of which haven't gone over too well this time around.

But, aside from what Mimikatz and others of us think will be a few vacancies at FEMA in the near future, and Kagro X has suggested would be a good time for some spin-off spine among key Democrats over the Supreme Court nominations, what will be our long-term political gain from all this?

Where's the advantage come '06, for instance? Given that the Bush Administration has helped the Norquistians make a powerful delivery in their never-ending government-can-do-nothing-right theme, it would seem that Democrats don't get an automatic leg up in this affair, but rather that ALL incumbents come under the gun. Even that doesn't seem assured. As repeatedly proved election day, people can hate Congress so much its approval falls into single digits, yet they'll still vote for the incumbent in their own Congressional District.

Short of Dr. Dean coming up with a '94esque scenario complete with, say, a Democratic contract for competence, I'm just not persuaded my side of the spectrum is going to gain much from the aftermath of Katrina except - maybe - a few lopped heads and - even more maybe - political stalemale for a year or so.

A couple of things:

There's yet another confirming poll -- AP/Ipsos puts Bush at 39% approve. Gallup can twist numbers all it wants; it's clear the 40th parallel is where Bush stands right now.

Fox viewers are most likely to take the "looters wanted to stay and loot" position, in spite of Smith's reports, because O'Reilly's made it his mantra all week.

Dem, you're 100% correct about the conservative pundits. It's never been more clear than it is now that the GOP under Bush has become a cult with a certified party line. For the press to be truly reborn (as it has seemed at times since this story broke), they must accept that fact and treat these pundit pronouncements as the falsehoods they are.

Meteor Blades, I'm not quite as cynical as you are. I think politics has at least some zero-sum quality to it, and the abject failure of this administration is more than likely to bring about gains for the opposition. In 1980, few Americans truly wanted an excursion into far-right land. But Reagan was the only serious alternative to a beleagured Carter, and he reaped the benefits.

However...I think Dems who persist in a "let's just stay quiet" approach are risking forfeiting those benefits. The recent success of Hackett, those polls showing huge percentages of Dems and independents wanting stronger opposition...to me, these things say the Democratic party is perhaps ready for its Reagan moment -- the time to sweep in and assert control. The DLC crowd -- in posture almost more than policy -- seems to be refusing to take the reins with any command. The fear is, they could be the equivalent of the Whigs, who refused to face the top issue of the day head on, and got marginalized. As in that 1850s-1860 analogy, I think the coalition that ultimately forms and wins (back then, the new Republicans; now, a Dean/Hackett/Feingold sort of party) will take over in solid opposition to the policies of our current rulers. However, the dithering of the spineless crowd 1) can cost us time and 2) might deepen the crisis (though hopefully not as far as a civil war).

What I'm saying is, the 2008 candidate needs to be forthright and passionate (not so much ideologically as iconically). Biden, Hillary, Kerry -- at least as presently constituted -- do not fill that bill. It's imperative we not go soft at this moment.

Me not cynical, demtom, just frequently burned by my own optimism.

"Forthright and passionate" -- demtom, yes yes YES. It just mystifies me that the "establishment" Dems seem constitutionally incapable of noticing the power of fighting on principle, or even of fighting, period. For years all the smart pols have duly noted Bush's success with people who didn't necessarily agree with him, but liked that he had conviction (deceptively packaged of course, but nevertheless). And now, when we have a case study in the weaknesses of those convictions (to say nothing of Bushco's other weaknesses), they're still hypercautious -- not exactly the way to assure voters of your strength. It's almost like battered-child syndrome; have they so internalized the Republican's propaganda over the years that they're afraid of their own instincts?

And maybe they don't realize exactly how broad a segment of the party, and of the general electorate, is frustrated at their flaccidness; my "greatest-generation" dad, an old-style FDR/Truman liberal (tho' he's been scared off the word), who actually voted for Reagan the first time (to get the Russkies; our only knock-down, drag-out political battle), regularly screams his fury about it. What's it gonna take? Anybody have a sense that they're finally getting it?

Late to this thread but I feel I have to answer something emptypockets said above: Giuliani is an effective political leader but not in my opinion an effective manager or planner. Giuliani is NOT an effective political leader from the point of view of African Americans. Period.

As the Pew poll also shows, this disaster has had a different impact in the African American population than on whites:
"More than eight-in-ten blacks (85%) say Bush could have done more to get relief efforts going quickly, compared with 63% of whites. Blacks are also considerably more critical of the federal government's performance in general 77% say the federal government's response was only fair or poor, compared with 55% of whites. While both of these attitudes are also strongly related to partisanship, these racial differences remain even when party affiliation is taken into account.

The disaster has had a far more significant personal impact on blacks than whites. African Americans are nearly twice as likely as whites (43% vs. 22%) to say they have a close friend or relative who was directly affected. African Americans are also much more likely than whites to report feeling depressed and angry because of what's happened in areas affected by the hurricane. "

Though African Americans are a relatively declining demographic, they have historically functioned as the moral compass for the country and this event will rouse those claims again.

Janinsanfran, I think you're right about African Americans. And unlike so many other issues, this event is playing out in front of us on television (shades of hoses aimed at schoolchildren), so I think the moral force will resonate.

You're also right about Giuliani, of course. I figure emptypockets was referring to his 9/11 performance, which is all most people know about him, along with the much-inflated rep as the guy who saved New York. Most people don't know that on 9/10 he was a figure of contempt and ridicule. And he was poison for African Americans, arrogant and thuggish. The guy had one genuinely great moment, which was (I do believe, as a New Yorker who's always detested him) beneficial at the time for the city and the country; and he'll probably ride on that moment for the foreseeable future, unfortunately.

Recommendation:

Check the C-Span schedule this weekend for the interview with Doug Brinkley, New Orleans Resident and Historian, formerly at Orleans U, now of Tulaine. He rode out the storm in NOLA, left and took his family to Houston, then returned to run boats into the projects to rescue people. He has lots and lots to say -- and people reading here will appreciate. I would point out that in 2004, he endorsed Wes Clark. Anyhow you have to listen to the interview to get the full flavor of his criticiam. Among other things, he is taking this quarter off to create a Katrina Archive, and already his students are doing oral histories with survivors and decision makers.

Brinkley describes an additional form of looting which hasn't made the press yet. Apparently in the first few days relief supplies directed toward St. Bernards Parish and Orleans, were hijacked by Jefferson Parish police and sheriff deputies -- including water, food, generators, flat bottom search boars. In case you haven't figured it yet, Jefferson Parish is David Duke territory. Historian Brinkley is a damned good witness on this -- he was in many ways Stephen Ambrose's heir apparent. We need to get his version of the looting of aid for New Orleans out in the MSM -- and he tells this story in the C-Span interview. He also is a super critic of FEMA, and has an on site criticism. Apparently all the FEMA people were trained in process only to respond to terrorist acts, and the reasons the Wal-Mart Water, for instance, didn't get through was because it had not been checked for bombs and WMD. In military terms, they don't have any smart sergents at the front who know how to "think" and improvise. He witnessed the turning back of badly needed first responder supplies as well as rescue equiptment.

Sara, your posts (as always) make me think. This time, it's about 'law and order', Nixon style. But thanks for the Doug Brinkley tip re CSPAN.

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