[[D I S A S T E R S]] * Instead of winging his way back to Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, George W. Bush ought to be steaming straight into the eye of the hurricane, as it were. With hundreds feared dead along the U.S. Gulf Coast, and Lake Pontchartrain flooding across levees and into the streets of New Orleans, Bush--if he had even an ounce of the compassion he’s always claiming to possess--wouldn’t be heading casually back to the comforts of the White House; he’d be doing his damndest to reach the storm-ravaged Southeast, in order to focus the nation’s attention on what some are calling one of the worst natural disasters in American history.
And the news of Bush’s early return to the U.S. capital raises another disturbing question: If, as White House staffers have been insisting defensively over the last month, Bush was so in touch with what was going on in the country during his mountain-biking vacation in Crawford, why does he now have to return to D.C. to “help monitor federal efforts to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina”? And if, in fact, he was out of touch while on his show ranch in Texas, why the hell has he spent the last few days not in D.C., preparing for this disaster, but instead wasting his time trying to drum up support for his DOA Social Security scheme and giving speeches that struggle to equate his bloody war of choice in Iraq with the world-saving sacrifices of World War II?
Even if Bush’s demonstration of aid to the victims of Hurricane Katrina is all hat and no cattle, you can do your own important part. The Network for Good Web site offers links to relief organizations that are pitching in to rescue hurricane victims and rebuild storm-struck homes. Give generously. For those of us who are not having to deal with flood waters and missing loved ones, this is the least we can do.
READ MORE: “The President’s Sacrifice,” by Tim Grieve (Salon); “Mr. President, Come Home” (AMERICAblog); “New Orleans in Peril” (The New York Times).