Sunday, August 27, 2006

Hey! You thought the Katrina/Rita stuff was incompetence - but it was planned.

Frank Rich describes what happened in New Orleans with the benefit of hindsight, and Digby expands it.

This from Frank Rich:
"The ineptitude bared by the storm - no planning for a widely predicted catastrophe, no attempt to secure a city besieged by looting, no strategy for anything except spin - is indelible. [Snip]

What’s amazing on Katrina’s first anniversary is how little Mr. Bush seems aware of this change in the political weather. He’s still in a bubble. At last week’s White House press conference, he sounded as petulant as Tom Cruise on the ‘Today’ show when Matt Lauer challenged him about his boorish criticism of Brooke Shields. Asked what Iraq had to do with the attack on the World Trade Center, Mr. Bush testily responded, “Nothing,” adding that “nobody has ever suggested in this administration that Saddam Hussein ordered the attacks.” Like the emasculated movie star, the president is still so infatuated with his own myth that he believes the public will buy such nonsense. [Snip]

[This is the next] White House P.R. offensive, ... next week’s Katrina show. It has its work cut out for it. A year after the storm, the reconstruction of New Orleans echoes our reconstruction of Baghdad. A “truth squad” of House Democrats has cataloged the “waste, fraud, abuse or mismanagement” in $8.75 billion worth of contracts, most of which were awarded noncompetitively. Only 60 percent of the city has electricity. Half of the hospitals and three-quarters of the child-care centers remain closed. Violent crime is on the rise. Less than half of the population has returned."
Then from Digby:
"We all talked about the African American NOLA diaspora sort of abstractly last year but it really has come to pass. A large part of the city and environs aren't coming back and as long as the rebuilding is so "slow" they won't. Eventually they will put down roots elsewhere. The result is that the Democratic base of Louisiana has been disappeared. I have no doubt that is no accident."
This was - first - incompetence in governance by Bush and the Republican Congress who refuse to provide oversight. The failure of FEMA was not intentional. It was a failure to plan and prepare.

But that failure was then taken advantage of for political gain. How do the Republicans get rid of the pesky Democrat Kathleen Blanco who is governor of Louisiana, or the Democratic Senators John B. Breaux and Mary Landrieu?

Well, when a widely anticipated hurricane causes the poor mostly Black and largely Democratic voting people of New Orleans to seek refuge in other states, the federal government simply closes down the low cost housing projects of New Orleans rather than rebuild them, fails to provide resources to rebuild the Democratic parts of New Orleans, and then after the hullabaloo dies down, finances Republican developers to gentrify what is left of New Orleans.

The result? A solidly Republican state of Louisiana.

How simple can it get?

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