The Bush Administration’s handling of disaster relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina has been so inept that even Republicans are now criticizing their Dear Leader:
- “It’s impossible to defend something like this happening in America,” said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. “If we can’t respond faster than this to an event we saw coming across the Gulf for days, then why do we think we’re prepared to respond to a nuclear or biological attack?”
- “We intend to demand answers as to how this immense failure occurred, but our immediate focus must and will be on what Congress can do to help the rescue and emergency operations that are ongoing. It is also our responsibility to investigate the lack of preparedness and inadequate response to this terrible storm. [It is] increasingly clear that serious shortcomings in preparedness and response have hampered relief efforts at a critical time,” said Republican senator Susan Collins of Maine, chair of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, in a statement with the ranking member, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, a Democrat and Crypto-Republican from Connecticut.
- “No one can be happy with the kind of response which we’ve seen in New Orleans,” said Republican Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, also characterizing the sluggish mobilization as an “embarassment.”
- Closeted gay GOP Rep. Mark Foley of Florida called upon Bush to recall National Guardsmen stationed in Iraq whose homes and families were in the path of Katrina’s destruction.
- Republican senator from Louisiana David Vitter, speaking to reporters at the emergency response center in Baton Rouge, said he gave the federal government a grade “F” for its response to the disaster so far.
- “What it reminded me of the other day is ‘Baghdad Bob’ saying there are no Americans at the airport,” said Rich Galen, a Republican consultant in Washington. He was referring to Saddam Hussein’s reality-challenged minister of information who denied the existence of U.S. troops in the Iraqi capital. (After top Bush administration officials congratulated each other for jobs well done and spoke of water, food and troops pouring into the ravaged city when television pictures told a different story.)
There will undoubtedly be more criticism from the president’s party as the death toll from Katrina mounts – Senator Vitter predicted that there were 10,000 dead in the wake of the storm. – and the number of U.S. soldiers killed and wounded in Iraq continues to rise.
And then there’s the price of gas – going up, up, up…