The Verdict is In
I try generally not to ascribe to conspiratorial evil-doing what can reasonably chalked up to stupidity, incompetence, arrogance and inertia. When New Orleans - a coastal city built largely below sea level - was hit by Hurricane Katrina, I was as horrified as the next person by the complete and utter failure of the U.S. federal government to respond in any meaningful way. But I just figured it was mostly a matter of a chain of dumb decisions - like putting a lawyer whose only other organizational experiece was running a club for horse breeders in charge of emergency management. Sure, there was evil involved - like the white deputies who opened fire on blacks fleeing the city to keep them from entering their parish, or even the pearl-clutching by shit-for-brains conservative bloggers and pundits who decried the "looting by savages" or the "lawlessness" by those trapped at the Superdome, though the two are hardly comparable in seriousness.
I tended to pooh-pooh or at least take with a grain of salt claims by some that the entire episode was some sort of monstrous pogrom against blacks or a cold-blooded, cynical attempt to wipe out a Democratic center in the South. No one could be that monstrous or cynical and cold-blooded, right? Not even as big a shit as Karl Rove could look at all those poor people drowning and think "How do I use this to partisan advantage?" right? I'll admit that, even after the invasion of Iraq, even given the torture scandals of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, I didn't think the Bush crowd were actually evil. I thought they were a bunch of violent, ignorant clowns, prone to lashing out at things they didn't understand, even occasionally vengeful agains their political enemies and driven by an ideology they didn't really even understand, but still the bottom line was that they were a bunch of red-nosed, floppy-shoed, horn-honking, Bozo-coiffed clowns.
I was right, they are clowns, but it turns out that they have patterned themselves on the clown from Stephen King's "It" that lives in the sewers and eats children. They are still hapless, clumsy, clowns prone to hitting each other with pies and seltzer bottles, but they are Evil (with a a capital E).
This is all you need to know about what plain rotten, filthy, lickers of Satan's taint these people are. The entire administration, past and present, should be locked in the darkest, dampest, most rat-and-roach-infested part of Angola Prison and left there.
"We landed at the 17th Street Canal," Landrieu says. "The story that day Karl Rove was feeding was: 'The president is on the job, the president has taken control, the president is going to rebuild, and despite the fact that the government and all these babbling fools down here can't do anything, the Corps of Engineers is on the job.' So we landed at the canal, five minutes from my house. I was so excited because they were finally doing something. The Corps of Engineers was there, and they had dump trucks and sandbags. All the cameras were there for the president, who was doing one of his famous press conferences about how he was going to do everything. So I thought, 'At least the guy is doing something, so show your manners and be good and smile.'"
...On Friday, Mary Landrieu had been with Bush and Blanco as they toured the 17th Street Canal, where, at last, major work had commenced to repair the damage that had been caused when the levee broke. "Then, on Saturday," Landrieu says, "George Stephanopoulos called and asked to do an interview with me, and I said, 'George, I'm tired of doing interviews. I have to work. And nothing you are airing is accurately showing what's going on down here.' He wanted to go to the Superdome, and I said, 'We still have people stranded on their roofs. If you want to tell the right story, I will help you tell the right story. You get a helicopter and I'll go up and I will show you what is actually happening. It's awful what's happening at the Superdome, but the reason the people can't understand the story is because the entire region is under 20 feet of water. People can't get into the Superdome to help. They can't get out. People are drowning in their homes.'
"So George and I went up in the helicopter and for three hours his jaw was dropping. Then I said, 'George, before we finish I have to show you one positive thing because I can't send you back to Washington to produce a story that shows nothing but devastation and disaster.' So I told the pilot to tack right so I can show George the 17th Street Canal and the work that was going on there. I swear as my name is Mary Landrieu I thought that what I saw with the president was still there -- people working, trucks, sandbags, everything. Then I looked down and saw one little crane. It was like someone took a knife and stabbed me through my heart. I lost it." There, in the cabin of the helicopter, as they flew above the breached canal below them, Landrieu sat devastated.
"I could not believe that the president of the United States, staged by Karl Rove himself, had come down to the city of New Orleans and basically put up a stage prop. It was like you had gone to a studio in California and filmed a movie. They put the props up and the minute we were gone they took them down. All the dump trucks were gone. All the Coast Guard people were gone. It was an empty spot with one little crane. It was the saddest thing I have ever seen in my life."
Hat tip to posse member Chet over at The Vanity Press, who has been burning up the blogosphere lately.