Writing for Nation of Change, Rebecca Leber reports that, according to a new poll by Public Policy Polling, 29 percent of Louisiana Republicans place the primary blame for the government’s inadequate response to Hurricane Katrina on President Obama; 28 percent placed the primary blame on President Bush; and 44 percent have indicated that they are unsure which of the presidents was more to blame.
So 73 percent of Louisiana Republicans believe that Obama was more to blame for Katrina than Bush was or as much to blame as Bush was.
Given that Hurricane Katrina occurred more than three years before Obama was even elected to the presidency, these results are a testament either to the inability of those on the Far Right to pass up any opportunity to attribute blame to Obama or to their inability to recall accurately the timeline of a recent catastrophe that stands not only as the greatest natural disaster to strike their state but also the greatest natural disaster in the history of the nation.
At least three out of every ten Louisiana Republicans seem to have completely forgotten that, even as much of the Gulf Coast was washing away in the massive tidal surge and the levees in New Orleans were failing, submerging most of the city and sending masses of the poor who had been unable to evacuate toward the supposed refuge of the Super Dome, which rapidly degenerated into an absolute hell hole, George W. Bush absurdly went on the air to thank Mike Brown, his grossly under-qualified and patently incompetent director of FEMA, for doing a “heckuva job.”
The irony that should be apparent to anyone who has been paying any attention–and especially Louisianans–is that President Obama has attempted to compensate for the inadequate federal effort in response to Katrina, under Bush, by continuing to advocate for and, whenever possible, to allocate additional federal funding for the still unfinished reconstruction of the roads and utilities and the public institutions such as hospitals and schools that were destroyed by the storm.
Moreover, Louisiana Republicans seem to be deliberately ignoring—or completely unaware of—the very different federal response, under Obama, to Hurricane Sandy. Indeed, even in the midst of a very contentious presidential campaign, the Obama administration’s response was so immediate and so purposefully focused that even the Republican governors of Virginia and New Jersey could not thank him enough, publicly and repeatedly, for how he was assisting them in addressing the immediate and long-term consequences of the storm.
Republican strategists, of course, bemoaned the timing of the storm—at times coming very close to suggesting that Obama had somehow calculated its timing—and although they were forced to admit that the administration had responded effectively, they couldn’t resist suggesting that the response was, at least in part, shaped by the recognition of how it would improve his chances of being re-elected. Republican strategists also bemoaned the lengths to which Governors Bob McDonnell and Chris Christie seemed to be going in praising Obama, arguing that they were, in effect if not intentionally, campaigning for Obama in doing so.
As Leber points out, it was very telling, however, that the only direct Republican criticism of the Obama administration’s response to Hurricane Sandy came from Mike Brown, who suggested in a television interview that he felt that the administration had responded “so quickly” to the disaster that some resources might be misdirected or even wasted.
And yet, compared to most Louisiana Republicans, “Brownie” apparently has a “heckuva” memory.