Friday, June 06, 2008

Katrina and Karl Rove

There's an excerpt from "Machiavelli's Shadow: The Rise and Fall of Karl Rove," over at Salon today, covering the Bush Administrations response to Hurricane Katrina. The darkest bit comes near the end, where Mary Landrieu was showing the devastation to George Stephanopoulos in a helicopter.
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. At that moment I knew what was going on and I've been a changed woman ever since. It truly changed my life."
The question of this election is going to be was President Bush an aberration, something out side the bounds of conservative, something alien that dressed itself up in conservatism. Or, after years of predicting and believing that the Federal Government is incapable and useless, did Katrina reveal the destructiveness at the core of modern conservatism?

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