Saturday, September 10, 2005

Overplaying Their Hand

There are some whose intellectual life centers on intense, irrational hatred for George W. Bush and those associated with him. Expressions of their hatred are easy to find--it's in blogs, extremist pronouncements by some politicians, cockamamie statements by entertainers, and media "news" reports.

I've commented a number of times on the likelihood that these unrelenting attacks on the President, and by extension the Republican Party, could well create a backlash among fair-minded people. The Hurricane Katrina disaster has given the Bush-haters an unexpected opportunity to pour forth their venom, and they're overplaying their hand again.

As just one example, some Bush-haters almost immediately starting claiming that black people were allowed to die in New Orleans because President Bush is a racist. Kanye West, a hip-hop artist, proclaimed on TV that "George Bush doesn't care about black people." The media covered his statement extensively, of course, including numerous repeats on CNN.

According to a Boston Globe report, last Saturday at an NFL pre-game show in Boston Kanye West performed via video link:

...it was disconcerting to hear his name booed loudly by Patriots fans who evidently didn't appreciate his nationally televised comment the other night on a Hurricane Katrina benefit that President Bush "doesn't care about black people." The boos were thunderous and lasted for much of his number.

I searched without success for a report on this at The Washington Post, The New York Times, and the LA Times. I've heard nothing on CNN. The only thing I found was a brief item on The Drudge Report. Seems the same press that repeatedly showcased West's statement didn't think it was important enough to report the reaction of a large group of average Americans.

The political warfare being waged by some Bush-haters is way over the top. They've maneuvered themselves into the absurd position of dealing with tragedy and failure as victories for their side, whether it's natural disasters or set-backs in Iraq. All that matters to them is having an opportunity to attack the President.

They're overplaying their hand on every deal. As any poker player knows, that's a sure-fire prescription for losing.

14 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Sir:

I hate any incompetence when it costs the lives of soldiers and civilians without just cause.

Of course people are outraged at this presidents lack of response. Any human being should be, if they are informed.

See just couple examples below:

The Chicago Tribune reported that a huge assault ship, the USS Bataan, had been deployed in the Gulf of Mexico when the hurricane struck. Despite the fact it had six operating rooms and 600 hospital beds, and was willing to help, Fema did not use it all week. A New Orleans newspaper, the Times-Picayune, published an open letter to the president calling for every official at Fema to be fired, "director Michael Brown especially".

http://vdare.com/roberts/050831_neworleans.htm

How New Orleans Was Lost-by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts
Dr. Roberts, a former Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal and a former Contributing Editor of National Review, was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during the Reagan administration. He is the author of The Supply-Side Revolution and, with Lawrence M. Stratton, of The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice. Peter Brimelow’s Forbes Magazine interviewed with Roberts about the recent epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.

Not a "liberal" plain old fashioned common sense. I hope for the sake of America you take the time to read it with an open mind.

This president's biggest problem is failure to consider expert advice. Chickenhawks should not plan wars.....

9:35 AM, September 10, 2005  
Anonymous Kevin said...

Tom, I think that Colin Powell and a couple of other prominent blacks summed the reality up best by saying that it was classism, not racism, and that many blacks happen to exist in the lowest economic classes.

To me, the comments of folks like Kanye West are ultimately destructive to the extent that they keep the national debate focuses on skin color instead of classism.

That said... I really don't think that we can honestly dismiss all those who see racism in the Gulf Coast as Bush haters. They may well be. But, it's a chicken/egg thing for some.

Watching national coverage last night of the hurricane recovery (I think it was NBC) they showed a black woman who's experience sleeping on the floor in a shelter had convinced her that racism was alive and well because, she insisted, whites had been given cots to sleep on while she and her black family had to sleep on the floor. Now this woman and her family may hate president Bush. But, I don't see how we can dismiss her reaction as being on the basis of hating Bush. It seems clear that whatever it is goes signficantly deeper than partisan politics.

12:35 PM, September 10, 2005  
Blogger Tom Carter said...

Kevin, I think you're exactly right about the issue being one of class. The fact is, totally evacuating a major city within a matter of 24 hours is an impossible task. The least capable, least self-sufficient, and least affluent, regardless of race, are always going to fare worst. That having been said, the evacuation of New Orleans could have been done a hell of a lot better in all respects.

That story about whites being given cots while blacks in the same shelter have to sleep on the floor just doesn't pass the smell test. I'm sure the reporter accepted the story at face value. Do you really believe it?

1:34 PM, September 10, 2005  
Anonymous Kevin said...

Tom, the black woman was the one telling the story about the cots and the floor, not the reporter. And it was only one rather small segment of a larger piece that wasn't about race or even class for that matter.

A few minutes before they had been interviewing a lower class white family who expressed frustration at the lack of service they were getting. The white family got a lot more air time than the black woman did. Quite a bit more, in fact.

1:57 PM, September 10, 2005  
Anonymous Kevin said...

The issue of classism versus racism is one that has interested me for a number of years.

What really first got me thinking along these lines was the charges of racism a decade ago with respect to educational services rendered by our public school systems. Some had tried to make the case that inner-city schools demonstrated that racism was alive and well. But, suburban white kids fared better than inner-city white kids in state testing. And black kids in more affluent communities outside of big cities scored a lot better than inner-city white kids.

So I asked myself what, if not racism, explained the whole thing. Classism was the inescapable answer.

Poor people of all colors in economically poor school districts score significantly worse than middle class folks of all colors in better funded school districts. Affluent people of all colors did even better in school districts which were even better funded. The only rational common factor was $$$, not skin color.

Ever since then I have been deeply skeptical of racism charges. Inevitably I find indications of classism wherever charges of racism have been made.

That's not to say that there is no racism. I know that there is. I just don't think it's nearly as big a factor as some would have us believe.

2:07 PM, September 10, 2005  
Anonymous Kevin said...

Here is a good example of racism vis-a-vis Katrina's aftermath. The ultimate damned if you do and damned if you don't mentality.

3:20 PM, September 10, 2005  
Blogger Tom Carter said...

Kevin, reading stuff like that is very tiring. I try to avoid it.

6:23 PM, September 10, 2005  
Blogger Myrrander said...

With a majority of Americans both disapproving of Bush and his response to Katrina, plus his current 38% approval rate, I think we're winning.

Cheers.

1:28 AM, September 11, 2005  
Blogger ShutteredEye said...

Well, I guess it's a good thing he's already been elected to his two terms, isn't it.

That's not to say we won't end up with another Republican President in a few years....

Tom: I enjoyed your post immensely, it put into words my thoughts much more eloquently than I could have written.

Kevin: Classism is indeed an interesting concept--I'm going to have to read a bit more about that.

11:16 AM, September 11, 2005  
Anonymous CigarGuyM said...

The evacuation of New Orleans SHOULD have started here:

http://www.cigarintel.com/agency/archives/000281.php

Mayor Nagin had literally HUNDREDS of school buses at his disposal. Take a look at the picture in the post to see how he used them.

4:21 PM, September 11, 2005  
Blogger carla said...

The fact is, totally evacuating a major city within a matter of 24 hours is an impossible task.

Considering that 80% of the city was evacuated, state and local authorities did manage to come close to getting that part right. It's my understanding that they provided municipal transportation to ferry folks out of New Orleans..but people had to have a place to go. Many apparently felt that they didn't. Hence the "last resort" Superdome, which became overwhelmed.

The other problem is that the Governor really couldn't evacuate people to places outside of Louisiana. She doesn't have the authority to do that. A lot of folks apparently ended up in Baton Rouge, which has been overwhelmed as well.

Another factor: poverty. Five of Louisana's counties are the poorest in the nation. The state simply lacks resources. They can't be expected to deal with such a massive natural disaster without immediate federal assistance.

10:24 PM, September 15, 2005  
Anonymous Lisa said...

"The political warfare being waged by some Bush-haters is way over the top. They've maneuvered themselves into the absurd position of dealing with tragedy and failure as victories for their side, whether it's natural disasters or set-backs in Iraq. All that matters to them is having an opportunity to attack the President."

I completely agree that some democrats go over the edge in their hatred for Bush, but you are conveniently forgetting that there is an equal number of wackjob republicans out there with a hard-on for Ann Coulter and the tendency to blame this all on the LIBRUL MEDIA.

Crazies are found everywhere. Normal, sane democrats, however, have every right to be outraged, since HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE DIED as a direct response of the weak and unorganised rescue operation of an administration WHICH THEY DID NOT VOTE FOR.

1:32 AM, September 16, 2005  
Blogger Eddie said...

I agree that the liberals are over-playing their hands. I myself, a liberal, have been saying this to my liberal friends for years. I don't know why we do it, not good poker players I guess.

But it doesn't change the fact that George Bush is incompetent.

5:08 AM, September 16, 2005  
Blogger Tom Carter said...

Lisa, you make a good point, but maybe not the one you intended. Sure, there are extremists among both liberals and conservatives, and none of them deserves to be taken seriously. In the end, however, all you can bring yourself to do is criticize the Bush Administration. I think it becomes more apparent every day that there's plenty to complain about at all levels of government and on all sides.

You also forget what democracy is all about. No matter who occupies what office at any level, there are going to be a whole lot of people who didn't vote for him or her. Judging by your use of capital letters, I would guess it somehow outrages you that a lot of people didn't vote for Bush. There's not much intellectual power in that argument, given that enough people voted for him.

9:11 AM, September 17, 2005  

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