Wednesday, September 21

Ignorance is neither Bliss nor Strength

To hear the Left talk, Bush denied Louisiana Federal assistance. This is untrue.

On Saturday (27 August), Governor Blanco did indeed request that President Bush "declare an emergency for the State of Louisiana due to Hurricane Katrina." The White House responded to Governor Blanco's request that same day (Saturday) by declaring the emergency and authorizing FEMA "to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency."

She also wanted to wait 24 hours to decide whether to allow the Federal Government to take over the situation the day before:

Mr. Bush met privately first with Mrs. Blanco, then called Mr. Nagin in for a meeting.
"He called me in that office," Mr. Nagin said. "And he said, 'Mr. Mayor, I offered two options to the governor.' I was ready to move. The governor said she needed 24 hours to make a decision."
That decision was a request by Mr. Bush to allow the federal government to take over the evacuation of New Orleans, which had been marked by chaos for days. The Democratic governor, who has clashed behind the scenes with the Bush administration since the storm hit, refused.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan confirmed the Air Force One meeting with Mrs. Blanco and the governor's decision not to cede her authority over the Louisiana National Guard, but added that he didn't think "it helps any situation to get into all those internal discussions."

There was nothing Bush could do. The issue in question is Federalism. W simply does not have the authority to simply waltz down to Louisiana and take over, no matter how incompetant the State Governor is. Contrary to L┬│eftist belief, he is not only not Hitler, he is also not King George. These are not provincial Governors that can be dismissed at a whim, they are the Governors of States.

The same people who are whining that Bush didn't do this today would be whining that he did do it today if he had done it then. The difference is that if he had then they would be right.

There are the ignorant on the Right, as well:

I carry no water for Gov. Blanco or Mayor Nagin, both of whom will, I am certain, come out worse than anybody when the crisis moment passes and we examine the record of who did what. That said, I was startled to see a quote from a "senior administration official" in a Times story today, explaining why President Bush did not invoke the Insurrection Act and seized control of the Louisiana National Guard:

"Can you imagine how it would have been perceived if a president of the of one party had pre-emptively taken from the female governor of another party the command and control of her forces, unless the security situation made it completely clear that she was unable to effectively execute her command authority and that lawlessness was the inevitable result?"

Excuse me, but what? Is it really the case that a Republican president was so worried about the conniption fit the left would have if he told Gov. Edith Bunker to stifle it, and sent in troops to save the lives of poor black people who were being set upon by anarchists? Sure, the usual suspects would have howled, but they would have howled anyway. The Normal-American community, however, would have seen a commander in chief who was not going to let political considerations stop him from overruling an inept governor and moving in to save lives and prevent an American city from turning into Mogadishu? And the Normal-American community would have cheered this extraordinary example of firm executive leadership, and told the Meathead-Americans to take a hike. But that didn't happen, did it?

That is what I mean by ignorance. Anyone who understands the concept of Federalism understands that had Bush declared the Governor incompetant, removed her, and invaded Louisiana understands that this would have been a greater disaster.

I like Rod Dreher, but he seems to have forgotten the last time a President did that.

They called it the Civil War.

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