AP's Fournier: Hurricane Sure To Make Bush "Easy Target for Some"
Cutting short his vacation and marshaling the power of the federal government could help reverse his sliding job approval rating. But the president's hands-on approach seems a bit too political for some, and makes him an easy target should Katrina's victims start looking for somebody to blame during the long, costly road to recovery...Stonecipher and other political analysts said people are aware that Bush benefited politically from the Sept. 11 attacks, and they may be skeptical of his response to the natural disaster that has rocked the Gulf Coast. "I can hear it already, `He's just doing it because his poll numbers are at bottom,'" Stonecipher said.So, according to Fournier, the President's "hands-on approach" is a little "too political" for some. Presumably, Fournier thinks that President George H. W. Bush was mistreated by the press in the criticism that he received over FEMA's reaction to Hurricane Andrew in 1992, but I don't remember seeing any comments from him to that effect. And yet the President's also already received criticism because he didn't cancel his speech in Coronado yesterday to go to Mississippi or Louisiana. (As if the presence of the President and his entourage anywhere in the region could possibly be anything other than disruptive.) But that isn't all that he's got. No, there are several potential criticisms that Fournier prepares.
- "...the federal response may be hurt by the Iraq war. 'If we didn't have all our National Guard troops in Iraq, we could probably do a lot more...'
- "a bipartisan pollster...said the president — along with local political figures — may eventually be blamed for circumstances that led to the flooding of New Orleans. 'When the people of Louisiana quit being awed by the destruction, they're going to start asking questions. What happened to the water pumps? Why didn't the levees hold? I think there will be a lot of finger-pointing...'" Because obviously, the President of the United States has nothing more important on his plate than the levees on Lake Pontchartrain. If President Bush eventually get criticized for that, can we assume that President Clinton, who was President even longer than President Bush has been, gets some as well? I rather suspect not...
- "Some Democrats circulated an article...suggesting that spending pressures from the war in Iraq, homeland security and Bush's tax cuts drained money from New Orleans flood-control projects."
- "Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey said the president should have had troops and supplies on the ground Monday. 'President Bush's wake-up call came awfully late,' he said."