We all know how George W. Bush helped the victims of Hurricane Katrina and the good people of New Orleans while he was the most powerful man on the planet. W did, in the words of SNL applied to Obama himself, "jack" and "s..t".
So what does Obama do? YES, our decisive leader has recruited the friend of the poor, the black, the impoverished and the homeless, George W. Bush to help the people of Haiti. Can’t you just hear the collective sigh of relief coming from Port-au-Prince? "Santa Maria, our prayer’s been answered. We don’t have to worry no more, the Great Black Father in Washington has sent GEORGE W. BUSH to help us!"
From "Obama enlists Bush, Clinton to help Haiti" by Steve Holland of Reuters:
Obama enlisted the help of former President Bill Clinton, a Democrat who is already a U.N. special envoy for Haiti, and former President George W. Bush, the Republican who preceded Obama in the White House.
They agreed to a request from Obama to lead private-sector fundraising efforts, issuing a joint statement expressing deep sadness at the devastation and suffering in Haiti.
I guess Obama must have been the only person in America who didn’t witness W’s incompetence in dealing with the after effects of Hurricane Katrina. From the same story:
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs dismissed a question as to why Obama would turn to Bush after criticizing him for the U.S. response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, saying bipartisan unity was needed.
There’s that 4 letter word again too, "bipartisan" that Obama loves to invoke. What we seem to be getting with the Obama administration, is bipartisan incompetence.
ABC News’ Yunji de Nies tried to draw Gibbs out, asking him essentially how this administration which had been so critical of W’s "relief efforts" after Hurricane Katrina and so critical in general of the former president, could now turn to Bush as the "best person" to help out in Haiti? That’s an excellent question answered by Gibbs with this authentic Beltway gibberish:
GIBBS: I don’t think George Bush would hold up — I think if you asked George Bush whether the government acted up to its ability in responding to Katrina, I think the answer to that would be no. I think the… I mean, you know, I just think the notion that somehow because you’ve been critical of the previous administration doesn’t mean — I mean, why did we ever come here to have lunch with them. Why did we ever come here to ask them what’s it like to be the president. I mean, I think…
Got that? I guess what Gibbs is really saying is that the Obama administration didn’t mean most of those critical words aimed at W in 2008 or that having coffee with George and chatting him up on the difficulties of being president is more important than just about anything else?
The Wall St. Journal remarks that Bush’s co-chairing of the disaster relief effort in Haiti will enable Bush to:
"mark his re-emergence into the public spotlight for the first time since leaving office a year ago amid controversy and low popularity ratings."
In other words, Obama is giving W. a helping hand in the reshaping of W’s public relations legacy. Is that what the people who voted for Obama wanted out of him? Here’s another reminder too, if one is needed, that Obama ain’t that much different than George W. After all, George W’s man is still calling all the shots over at Obama’s Defense Department.
Meanwhile, what about New Orleans now almost 5 years after Hurricane Katrina? What’s the story in that part of America following George W’s stewardship and one year of Obama’s? From a recent article:
Shelia Phillips doesn’t see the New Orleans that Mayor Ray Nagin talks about, the one on its way to having just as many people and a more diverse economy than it did before Hurricane Katrina. How could she?
From the front porch of her house in the devastated Lower 9th Ward, it’s hard to see past the vegetation slowly swallowing the property across the way. Nearby homes are boarded up or still bear the fading tattoos left by search and rescue teams nearly four years ago. The fence around a playground a few blocks down is padlocked.
"I just want to see people again," she said recently, swatting bugs in the muggy heat.
…On paper, the city’s economy appears to be thriving, with relatively low unemployment, foreclosure and bankruptcy rates. But in post-Katrina New Orleans, residents’ perceptions of their city’s recovery tends to depend on where they live, their vantage point of it. Swaths of some neighborhoods are sparsely populated, even desolate, and federal rebuilding dollars have provided much of the economic resilience.
The flow of returning residents has slowed, the cost of living has spiked and blight is rampant. Public investment in neighborhoods has been uneven, much like the pattern of Katrina’s devastation.
Water driven by the Aug. 29, 2005, storm flooded 80 percent of the city and essentially destroyed St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes. Other areas were spared the worst of the damage, and have rebounded more quickly.
…By one estimate, 36 percent of New Orleans’ housing is empty, and like the lot next to the Miesters, there is no clear indication when or whether it will be rebuilt.
…Greg Rigamer, a demographer with GCR & Associates Inc., said it could be 20 years before the population tops 400,000.
The reality of the situation is that under both Bush and Obama, Republicans and Democrats alike have presided over a country for the past 30 years that has been slipping backwards. In the late 60’s and 70’s, huge pockets of poverty were only commonplace in Appalachia and the Ozarks. But since Ronald Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II and now Obama, we have the "rust belt," the devastation in the cities of Michigan so well-documented by Michael Moore, post-Katrina New Orelans, and in the past couple of years we have even seen the Golden State stumbling toward the status of a state that is both bankrupt and not governable any more. The years from 2000-2009 saw many workers actually lose earning power, lose their homes and lose their jobs. Poverty rates are at an all time high in America under a supposedly Democratic administration (but one that likes working with Republicans).
Leaders of both major parties have sold their own people out to multinational corporations who would rather produce their goods in China where there are no labor laws, no strikes, no rights, and no democracy. These are the self-same people who now claim they want to help Haiti.
FDR didn’t send Herbert Hoover out to deal with the Dust Belt and to do away with the Hoovervilles and the unemployment lines. One suspects that if Obama had been President then, he would have all under the banner of "bipartisanship".
God help the people of Haiti and the people of the United States of America.