As Lucy Bannerman notes in The Scotland Herald, "Bush pleads 'don't play politics' as blame lands at Washington." Bully Boy pleads it and a whiner calling into C-Span's Washington Journal all but spat at The Nation's Katrina vanden Heuvel that she was "being 90% negative." Ironically, vanden Heuvel had taken the high road (and remained on it).
We won't high road it here. It is playing politics? Is the truth political?
The truth is very political in any period but especially in a time when "up" is called "down," when fiction is passed off as reality.
How do you play the truth game in these distorted times? We'll do it by spitting out the obvious, Bully Boy is no leader. He can marshall the usual subjects to chant "we have to pull together!!!"
Those who seem him as King George are more than happy to be loyal subjects.
Us, we've never forgotten that he's supposed to be working for us. And we'll pull together -- behind the truth. We won't, however, (to paraphrase Susan Sontag) all be stupid together.
What we saw last week was a national disaster hit New Orleans. And, just like on 9/11, the nation was left to await the Bully Boy's actions. And wait and wait. No one expected that he'd grab a shovel and dig in, please that family doesn't work (well, dirty work . . .). But we did expect that the former cheerleader would grab the pom-poms in some attempt to comfort the nation.
Didn't happen. We waited. We waited. And saw the dull witted Bully Boy respond in slow mo yet again. Which, by the way, is why we were never surprised to learn about the years of planning that went into the invasion of Iraq.
So truth telling involves stating the obvious, while the nation was in shock, while Americans were in disbelief that their own citizens could be referred to as "refugees." The nation's jaw dropped further as footage from New Orleans dominated the news cycles.
Truth telling involves faulting him for his lack of response to the nation and to the areas ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. Unlike Bill Clinton, he does not feel your pain, nor is he concerned with it.
Also slow in response was our national agencies. FEMA was rightly noted for its disgraceful behavior by Terry Ebbert, head of emergency operations in New Orleans, and for its late to dinner appearance in Mississippi. FEMA's response was a disgrace. Homeland Security, the much ballyhooed agency created under the Bully Boy's watch, wasn't any better. So who's responsible?
We realize that basic question is a "political" one. It always is. But especially when you're dealing with an administration that's refused accountability regardless of the situation. Lies that took us into war? "Didn't happen." Smears against those who told the truth (and in the case of Valerie Plame, the spouse of someone who told the truth)? "It wasn't us." And when it turns out that, yes, indeed it was them? "We can't comment due to the ongoing investigation." 9/11?
"No one could have guessed . . ." Condi's statement is the fallback for everything apparently.
"No one could have guessed."
And here's where it gets especially ugly, this truth telling, because in the case of the devastation that followed Hurricane Katrina, it could have been guessed, in fact, it was predicted.
Bully Boy's not responsible for the hurricane hitting the United States. He is responsible for the lack of preperation, for the slow response and for ignoring the needs of the areas hit throughout his previous term.
Playing "politics?" Isn't that what got us into our current crisis?
Politics, not the hurricane is at the root of the current crisis. Politics determined who headed the agencies that should have been responding immediately. Politics determined which monies went where and which priorities were recognized and which weren't. Politics determined that the Bully Boy yet again pushing his privatization of Social Security in a state not hit by the hurricane was more important than his demonstrating to the public that he was actually on the job.
A natural disaster (the hurricane) hit the United States. That's about the only issue in this tragedy that's nonpolitical. The ignoring of preparation, the misguided budget policies, the lack of leadership and the lack of response are all political issues.
The Bully Boy's not beyond playing politics (he excells especially in dirty politics) but watch the goon squad come out and try to hush the questions and try to distort the truth. Why? Because the emperor has no clothes. After 9/11, they were able to silence important questions. They can't do it this time. The nation has grown weary of the politics coming out of the White House and we're not in the mood to play follow the faltering leader.
It's time for some accountability and that's the ugly truth.
[This editorial was written by the following: The Third Estate Sunday Review's Ty, Jess, Dona, Jim and Ava, C.I. of The Common Ills, Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man, Kat of Kat's Korner, Elaine substituting for Rebecca at Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude and Mike of Mikey Likes It!]