September 12, 2005


Are You Shitting Me?!?

According to Newsweek*, the president's staff was scared to call him to let him know he would have to shorten his vacation by two whole days because New Orleans was virtually wiped off the map:
It's a standing joke among the president's top aides: who gets to deliver the bad news? Warm and hearty in public, Bush can be cold and snappish in private, and aides sometimes cringe before the displeasure of the president of the United States, or, as he is known in West Wing jargon, POTUS. The bad news on this early morning, Tuesday, Aug. 30, some 24 hours after Hurricane Katrina had ripped through New Orleans, was that the president would have to cut short his five-week vacation by a couple of days and return to Washington. The president's chief of staff, Andrew Card; his deputy chief of staff, Joe Hagin; his counselor, Dan Bartlett, and his spokesman, Scott McClellan, held a conference call to discuss the question of the president's early return and the delicate task of telling him. Hagin, it was decided, as senior aide on the ground, would do the deed.

The president did not growl this time. He had already decided to return to Washington and hold a meeting of his top advisers on the following day, Wednesday. This would give them a day to get back from their vacations and their staffs to work up some ideas about what to do in the aftermath of the storm.
Even scarier: The thought that Bush had to be told that this disaster was so huge that he actually had to do something about it (and please don't tell me that George decided on his own to return to Washington), plus the fact that Bush and his staff were going to wait until Wednesday to "work up some ideas" when, at the very least, the entire administration should have been in full-blown emergency mode 24-48 hours earlier. What a bunch of incompetent, dangerous losers. I say we fire them all.

*Be sure to read the entire Newsweek article, entitled How Bush Blew It, which attempts to answer the question that should be on every single American's mind:
How this could be—how the president of the United States could have even less "situational awareness," as they say in the military, than the average American about the worst natural disaster in a century—is one of the more perplexing and troubling chapters in a story that, despite moments of heroism and acts of great generosity, ranks as a national disgrace.

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