Let’s Play the Blame Game

In its Inside Washington poll, the National Journal surveyed congressional leaders and Capitol Hill insiders from both parties were asked to grade the performance of the main actors on the Katrina stage. The overall grades were pretty predictable: Bush D+, Chertoff D, Brown F, Blanco D+, Nagin D+, Hastert D.

Far more entertaining were the comments from those polled. Here’s the game: Match up the comment with the actor and the party affiliation of the commenter. Answers are below.

1. “Five-week vacations while the country is at war are bad .… So, too, is appointing anyone other than experienced professionals to emergency-management positions. And never fly over disaster areas in a jet.”

2. “He’s really clueless on these issues, but has at least brought some clarity to the message.”

3. “He has led the single most inept performance by the government since Jimmy Carter’s helicopters all malfunctioned while trying to rescue our hostages in Iran in 1980.”

4. “Flat-out not up to the task of strong leadership after a disaster.”

5. “ [He] is his own disaster. The Bush administration has wisely put him so far underground now that it will take a National Guard rescue team to find him.”

6. “He may be right substantively, but it’s a case of political deafness when deftness was required.”

7. “Definitely not the Rudy Giuliani of New Orleans.”

8. “Hysterical at times, he offered a poor comparison to Giuliani’s heroic performance in the rubble of the Trade Center.”

9. “It was bad enough that Bush sat for seven minutes after he first heard of the events on 9/11, but to do nothing on the Gulf Coast for four days is beyond belief.”

10. “If Trent Lott lost his leadership post in the Senate for racial insensitivity, what should happen to [him] for writing off an entire city?”

ANSWERS: 1. Bush, R; 2. Chertoff, R; 3. Brown, D; 4. Blanco, D; 5. Brown, D; 6. Hastert, D; 7. Nagin, R; 8. Nagin, D; 9. Bush, R; 10. Hastert, R.


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