Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Katrina as a political game

The political fallout from hurricane Katrina becomes more discouraging by the day. This blog usually comments on issues relevant to Iowans young enough to read a computer screen. We did put together a few posts on Katrina before and immediately after the storm hit. Of course, most everyone in Iowa, mainstream and political types particularly, talked about hurricane Katrina in a nonpolitical fashion focusing on the human tragedy.

That is, until Katrina looked like it might provide tons of partisan ammo for the Democrats. At that point, one day after the storm, you have blogs like Daily Kos (via Little Green Footballs link) putting out instructions on how Democrats can make political use out of the hurricane.

... I keep seeing discussion about the "strategy" Dems and progressives should be adopting in re the Katrina/FEMA/BushCo disaster. The problem is, you won't get the right answer because you're not asking the right question.

The question is, What are the strategies we should be using? ...

... On the one hand, some people are griping because Dr. Dean and leading Dems in government are not holding press conferences, demanding impeachment, or pushing for investigations. Others claim that doing those things would actually take the heat off the BushCo crowd by "politicizing" the tragedy. Finally, still others respond that it's not right to let this administration off the hook, yet again. And through it all, we continue to be concerned and agitated about the people who need help actually getting it.

The answer is found in all of these comments, and it is simple: a multi-pronged, multi-level strategy. … (Link to see the rest of this Daily Kos "strategy")

Here at home, True Blue blog is workin’ the partisan angle with odd posts using Republican politicians’ quotes to which Gordon Fischer then provides nutty editorial comment.

... And yes, I do actually claim, most certainly, that George Bush has a machine that can predict the weather, days and days ahead of time. It is called the "National Weather Service." (Link)
Nice to know our Dem partisans can follow the playbook. Yes?

Finally, today's DMR editorial, Job 1: Exercise oversight, makes a strange attempt to tie the failures around hurricane Katrina to Iraq. To go about making their case for more executive branch oversight, the editorial liberally references the public comments of Congressman Jim Leach -- a Republican.

No legislation this Congress could pass is as important as reclaiming the legislative branch's proper role in overseeing the conduct of the executive branch. It has been abysmally derelict in exercising this responsibility — especially regarding conduct of the war in Iraq.

And now, the devastation of Hurricane Katrina has handed it a major new oversight job: examining the slow, chaotic initial response and keeping watch over the billions to be spent on rebuilding.The lack of congressional oversight on the conduct of the Iraq war inspires no confidence the legislative branch is up to the task. …

... U.S. Rep. Jim Leach of Iowa made that point earlier this year when he called for creation of a select committee to look into no-bid contracts and other procurement practices. ...

... In a newsletter to his constituents, Leach noted that his proposal for a look at no-bid contracts is similar to then-Sen. Harry Truman's investigation of war procurement under President Franklin Roosevelt — a Democrat investigating a Democratic administration. "Just as it was then, oversight should not be considered partisan," Leach said. (Link)

We may not always agree with Congressman Leach, but we admire his tenacious habit of standing up for his beliefs.

A clue to Dem partisans attempting to practice politics using hurricane Katrina: we much prefer pols that are going to criticize their own party for perceived failures than the ones that simply look for someone else to blame. (Do the names Nagin and Blanco come to mind?)

For the record, Right Wing Nut House posts a hurricane Katrina timeline in all its policy wonkish detail.


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