Fwd: The Mayor Who Failed His City
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Tue Sep 6 07:48:22 MDT 2005
The Mayor Who Failed His City
By Ben Johnson
FrontPageMagazine.com | September 6, 2005
ITS OFFICIAL: THE AMERICAN LEFT NOW BELIEVES GEORGE W. BUSH IS
GOD. Bellowing leftists such as Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Cindy
Sheehan have blamed Hurricane Katrina something insurance
companies classify as an act of God on President Bushs killing
policies (and, in RFK Jr.s case, those of Mississippis
Republican governor, Haley Barbour). Former Clinton aide Sidney
Blumenthal also penned an article in The Guardian chalking up the
flood to the Bush administrations having cut one item in the Army
Corps of Engineers annual budget. (Desperate to build a
presidential legacy, even ex post facto, ex-President Bill Clinton
has intimated his administration did more to keep New Orleans safe
than Bush's.) Meanwhile, DNC Chair Howard Dean weighed in by
demeaning Bushs trip to the disaster area, calling it just
another callous political move crafted by Karl Rove.
In addition to claiming Bush somehow fed the phantom of global
warming to rain death upon his own citizens, the Left has alleged
racism in his handling of this disaster. Jesse Jackson quipped
post-Hurricane New Orleans looks like the hull of a slave ship.
Director Michael Moore played the race card in an open letter to
Bush on his website. They found an echo in the Reverend Al
Sharpton, who told MSNBCs abysmal Keith Olbermann, I feel that,
if it was in another area, with another economic strata and racial
makeup, that President Bush would have run out of Crawford a lot
quicker and FEMA would have found its way in a lot sooner. Rep.
Elijah Cummings, D-MD, a member in good standing of the
Congressional Black Caucus, played both the race and the God card,
We cannot allow it to be said that the difference between those
who lived and those who died in this great storm and flood of 2005
was nothing more than poverty, age or skin color
To the president
of the United States, I simply say that God cannot be pleased with
And they say all the religious nutjobs are on the Right.
The Democrats avenging angel has come in the form of Senate
Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, who has proposed a 9/11-style
commission to probe the feds response to Hurricane Katrina.
(After all, the original 9/11 Commission proved so exemplary.)
Despite these transparent attempts to claw political advantage
from the suffering of the downtrodden after the National Guard
forgeries, Plamegate, and conspiratorial ravings about the
Federalist Society won them no traction a Washington Post poll
revealed 55 percent of Americans do not blame President Bush for
the debacle in the Big Easy.
Perhaps that is because the American people intuit it is not the
federal response that should be monitored but that of New Orleans
Mayor Ray Nagin, a Democrat and, coincidentally, a black man.
In accordance with the City of New Orleans Comprehensive
Emergency Management Plan a blueprint drawn up to deal with
emergencies like this one all Authority to issue evacuations of
elements of the population is vested in the Mayor. The document
specifically states, The person responsible for recognition of
hurricane related preparation needs and for the issuance of an
evacuation order is the Mayor of the City of New Orleans. This
outline does not mention any specific federal governments role in
disaster relief, instead carving out roles for state and municipal
governments. In fact, as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld noted
this holiday weekend, posse commitatus statutes bar federal
officers from working as law enforcement officials.
Charged with so heavy a responsibility, Mayor Nagin punted, then
passed the buck. The National Hurricane Center called Nagin
Saturday night asking him to evacuate New Orleans, and President
Bush also begged him to get his people to safety. As mayor, the
final decision was Nagin's. He was expected to issue such an order
48 hours before the storm made landfall; however, the storm
touched down and the levees gave way less than 48 hours after his
Moreover, he is to see that Special arrangements will be made to
evacuate persons unable to transport themselves or who require
specific life saving assistance. Yet some 205 buses, and perhaps
a greater number of large transit vehicles, were left stranded in
a flooded parking lot. University of New Orleans professor Shirley
Laksa had calculated some 125,000 residents do not have private
transportation. As a result of Nagins inaction, Katrinas victims
are twice as likely to be poor than the average American. These
are the people who had no recourse but to wait for the local
government to rescue them; these are the people municipal
malfeasance and nonfeasance abandoned to an ill-equipped
Despite these critical lapses in judgment, Sen. Mary Landrieu,
D-LA, pressured her commander-in-chief to withhold all criticism
of the local response (President Bush had not made any, justified
though it might be), threatening that, if he didnt, I might
likely have to punch him. Literally. Although Washington was
abuzz when Rep. Dan Burton called Bill Clinton a scumbag, no
censure has been forthcoming for Landrieu.
The Left has not idled down its criticisms of Bush, blaming him
for global warming and poor planning. The facts tell another tale.
The infrastructure the Left criticizes Bush of withholding,
planned by the Army Corps of Engineers, would have only defended
the city from a level three storm; Katrinas level five winds
would have overwhelmed the project, even if it had been completed.
Former Louisiana Democratic Senator John Breaux said the funds
leftists blame Bush for cutting have been diverted by presidents
since the 1970s. With the Left sniping at him over high deficits
incurred by fighting a war in two nations, President Bush has had
to trim non-essential spending, and no one considered it a vital
priority to fund a system designed to guard against what Sen.
Breaux called a once every hundred years storm. The experts
several steps removed from the president and on both sides of
the aisle simply bet a storm of this magnitude would not occur.
The Army Corps of Engineers commander Lt. Gen. Carl Strock spelled
out these sentiments: We had an assurance that 99.5 percent this
would be OK. We, unfortunately, have had that .5 percent activity
here. Strock also denied needed monies were diverted to Iraq.
However, this storm didnt catch everyone by surprise. Scientists
have known since the 1980s that the citys levees would fail in a
storm of Katrinas magnitude.
The federal governments response has been laudable. FEMA Director
Mike Brown began moving federal resources into New Orleans two
days before the storm hit. Currently, some 8,500 active duty
troops are serving in New Orleans. The chaotic situation created
by Mayor Nagins herding people into the Superdome, without
adequate provisions for the long haul, with the resultant murder,
rape, and looting a byproduct of poor, or non-existent, planning.
Governor Blanco also deserves blame for not calling in the
National Guard to get the situation in hand earlier. Now, 38,000
National Guardsmen are aiding the wider disaster area, including
undertaking the police functions within New Orleans that Mayor
Nagin could not or would not furnish.
With all these efforts going on, Jesse Jackson threw himself
before the cameras yet again last week, claiming, The president
has not put together a federal program or a coordinated effort to
address this massive crisis.
Just prior to Jacksons statement, Mayor Ray Nagin coped with the
high pressure of the situation he created by launching into a
profanity-laden radio interview with WWL-AM. He ranted that
federal relief workers needed to get off your asses. (This at a
time when helicopters bearing federal relief were being shot at by
New Orleanians Nagin could not control.)
These are the same murderous looters the Democratic Partys blog
referred to as the victims. The only New Orleans residents not
intimidated by the rampaging gangs of hoodlums have relied upon
the only freedom that keeps law-abiding men safe: the right to
privately own firearms.
The New Orleans debacle has demonstrated a few discomforting
truths: there is apparently no national suffering so moving that
the Left will not exploit it for crass political advantage. The
nation should have learned this when Bill Clinton blamed the
Oklahoma City Bombing on Rush Limbaugh and Republican
anti-government rhetoric. More importantly, significant holes
remain in our national infrastructure, which an enterprising
terrorist cell could exploit. We can no longer turn a blind eye to
the national security implications of mayoral elections in this
nations vital cities. Their governance, so long dominated by
corrupt and ineffectual leftists, has led to disaster on a massive
scale. In the case of New Orleans, a plan had even been drawn up
to fend off the worst
the mayor simply demurred from filling in
its blanks. The tragedy filling our television screens for the
last week is its result. Next time, the mourning could be caused
by an act of war. At least one Bush critic, Rep. Bobby Jindahl,
R-LA, is right: After 9/11, this never should have happened.
Click Here to make a generous donation to the relief efforts of
the American Red Cross.
Ben Johnson is Managing Editor of FrontPage Magazine and author of
the book 57 Varieties of Radical Causes: Teresa Heinz Kerry's
"The Founding Fathers knew that even the best designed government
wouldn't work if the people were not righteous, moral and G-d
fearing - if they didn't love liberty and cherish it."
"If a nation or individual values anything more than freedom, it
will lose it's freedom; and the irony is that if it is comfort or
money it values more, it will lose that too."
--W. Somerset Maugham
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