Tuesday, September 06, 2005

What do You Want ME To Do? I'm Just The President

We think in times of national calamity such as the one that has befallen our fellow citizens along the Gulf Coast, we must put aside our differences and rally around those who are suffering. Americans have a long history of helping each other up off the mat after tragedies and closing ranks behind our forward looking leaders as we bring the full force of our can do spirit to bear on the problem.

Except that this time our forward looking leader is George W. Bush.

Looks like we're on our own folks.

Further complicating the the response to the hurricane, Bush visited the affected sites. But the visit was a photo op designed to fool those Americans who were too upset by the death, destruction and dislocation to pay much attention to the "disassembler" in chief.

First stop a briefing at a Coast Guard Hanger. Now, even though the leader of the free world was down in the trenches with the great unwashed acting like he had a clue what it might be like to lose your entire life's work in the blink of an eye and not have your daddy bail you out, how did the ungrateful press choose to report the story? Here's the headline: Bush Visit to New Orleans Halts Food Delivery.

Three tons of food ready for delivery by air to refugees in St. Bernard Parish and on Algiers Point sat on the Crescent City Connection bridge Friday afternoon as air traffic was halted because of President Bush’s visit to New Orleans.

"Look, those people hadn't eaten in days," an unnamed official said. "What's a couple of more hours? It's the president for crying out loud. How many times in their lives will they get to see him up close?"

Well, enough briefing, next it was off to one of the scenes of devastation in Biloxi. As Bush, Haley Barbour and others walked down a street, 2 women appeared. But it turns out that the two women didn't even live in Biloxi, and had just come down for the day to loot. "We were as surprised as anyone they were there," said Press Secretary Scott McClellan. "The area was supposed to have been cleared by the National Guard."

Fearful that the presidential party might encounter some actual survivors, the secret service whisked Bush away to his next stop, levee repairs in New Orleans. And what a sight that was. Safely removed from any chance he might actually come face to face with a resident, the president conferred his blessing on the relief effort. "Progress is flowing" Bush opined. When asked if he really said "flowing" while standing at the breech that lead to the greatest flood in New Orleans' history, McClellan responded that the president "was trying to inspire people. He got one of those Word-a-Day calendars and 'metaphor' was today's word."

Apparently Bush failed to inspire the crew working on the levee because when he left, they did too. Senator Mary Landrieu said "Flying over this critical spot again this morning, less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a Presidential photo opportunity; and the desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment."

Press Secretary McClellan blamed their non return on the fact that "they were a union crew. Probably had the day off or something."

And on his way out of town to make his tee time, the president sought to ease the fears of survivors about the reported unrest at the Convention Center...yes the Convention Center that FEMA Director Michael Brown had just discovered. Bush said, "I'm pleased to report, thanks to the good work of the adjutant general from Louisiana and the troops that have been called in that the convention center is secure."

"Did he say 'secure?'" Press Secretary McClellan was asked by a local reporter. "Well, that's such a vague word. I mean we locked them in there, so that's sort of secure, right?" McClellan said.

Meanwhile Bush made it back to Washington in time to play a round of golf with donors and watch his favorite show, American Idol. Plus there was chocolate milk at dinner. "Is this a great nation or what?" the president said just before his bedtime.

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