Katrina -- Winds of Spin
Mark Georgiev for the New York Times
"If you're a pretender, come sit by my fire, for we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!" Shel Silverstein
Spin should come from hurricane winds, not Republican windbags.
But Washington, DC--not New Orleans--is Spin Central, USA. And the Bush administration is spinning madly to dig itself out from under the mountain of blame in the aftermath of Katrina's destruction -- and the even more devastating lack of first (or second, third, fourth) response to the crisis by the federal government.
Karl Rove and the White House communications office spun into action Friday with a plan to "contain the political damage from the administration's response to Hurricane Katrina." [New York Times] Political damage? "to shift the blame away from the White House and toward officials of New Orleans and Louisiana." [NYT] Shift the blame? Could there be a bigger travesty? Well...
The Mother of Insensitive Remarks
They rolled out the Big Guns, including our president's mother. Who, while touring the Astrodome filled with some of Katrina's most destitute refugees on Monday, stuck her foot so far into her mouth she'll need the Army Corps of Engineers to get it out.
Barbara Bush related that many of the evacuees told her how much they appreciated Texas hospitality and then noted, "What I’m hearing which is sort of scary is they all want to stay in Texas." Huh? You're scared that these poor, mostly black people who've lost everything--in large part as a result of your own son's outrageous screw-up--want to move into your backyard, Bar? How very generous and gracious of you. You heartless bitch.
Think I'm being harsh? There's more. As quoted by Editor and Publisher online, the former First Lady and current First Mother said on American Public Media's 'Marketplace' program, "And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this--this (she chuckles slightly) is working very well for them." Her implication that sleeping on hard cots among thousands of strangers in the posh environs of the Astrodome is preferable to living in their own intact but tacky homes is so filled with contempt and lack of compassion, the mind boggles.
On the other hand, at least now we have a better picture of how George W. Bush learned to be such a Compassionate Conservative: direct from the sour mother's milk of human unkindness.
No Spin From the Master
In a CNN interview, former president Bill Clinton refused to put any topspin on the egregious failure of federal first response to Katrina's victims. "Our government failed those people in the beginning..." Clinton said. "One hundred percent of the people recognize that it was a failure." Clinton went on to say he believed there should be a future Katrina Commission to analyze what went wrong, but "Right now, our goal should be on not failing them a second time."
Incredibly, it turns out, 100% of the people don't appear to recognize any failure by the feds. A CNN.com QuickVote poll asked: Do you agree with former President Clinton that government "failed" the people in the aftermath of Katrina? The Yes vote tally is 78%. But 22% of the people taking the poll responded No.
Who are those 22%? There can't possibly be ninety thousand Bush staffers available to hit poll buttons. So that means these are Political Responses from Bush loyalists who will support the president blindly, no matter how much irrefutable evidence to the contrary. They are undoubtedly the same people who assail Cindy Sheehan as unpatriotic, who still believe there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, who've got guns and ain't afraid to use 'em and who agree that John Roberts is the next Great Mind on the Supreme Court.
And of course, they are clearly people with the same love for humanity as Barbara Bush.
No Bodies, No Baggage
In today's final spin cycle, there's FEMA's effort to block the news media from showing pictures of dead bodies recovered--and discovered--from Katrina's wrath. Hmm. This sounds vaguely familiar. Oh yes! The federal government hasn't allowed pictures of any of the 2000+ flag draped military coffins brought back from Iraq and Afghanistan.
On embargoing pictures of the Katrina bodies, a FEMA spokeswoman said, "the recovery of the victims is being treated with dignity and the utmost respect." Oh please. If they had treated the living with half as much respect, there wouldn't be nearly as many dead.
Do they really think we're stupid enough to buy that excuse? Well, yes they do. This latest endeavor to control our collective outrage is a transparent attempt to cover up what will certainly prove to be a far bigger death toll than even from the War in Iraq.
They say they want to spare our sensitivities, and those of the families. I say, SPIN THIS, YOU IDIOTS.
Labels: Hurricane Harangues