Thursday, September 08, 2005

Some People

Unbeknownst to me until just a couple days ago, my pal Lanz -- who some of you may recognize from his occasional contrarian comments here on this site -- has been keeping a blog of his own for the past few months. And just what does Mr. Fair and Balanced have to say about the current display of federal ineptitude in the Katrina disaster? Well, first of all, he reprints an article blaming the mess after the hurricane on -- wait for it -- the Welfare State. Not incompetent administration members who delayed responding and dithered about protocol while people died; not a clueless, overmatched president who did just as he's always done, which is, of course, the very least possible; not any one of dozens of other federal officials who dropped the ball and mismanaged the response; no, it's all the fault of the evil, liberal Welfare State. Horrors!

What surprises me the most about this post of his is not that he readily accepts such a fatuous premise -- in the years that I've known him, I've come to expect that he will simply repeat whatever right-wing boilerplate is the current Republican talking point of the day; though he claims to be a "libertarian" and not a part of the VRWC, he regularly echoes whatever the latest conventional wisdom is from the Hannity-Limbaugh-Coulter School of Spin -- it's that the article itself is so blatantly racist. It equates the people caught on camera looting New Orleans with "those people in the projects" and talks about the "criminal population" there and how the two "often overlap" (in other words, it's all the fault of those lazy, immoral dark folks, they just can't control themselves the way white people do). One thing I do know about Lanz is that, for all his right-wing wrong-headedness, he is most definitely not a racist. It's one of the things that I've always respected about him. Why, then, would he reprint such a hateful screed, just to help disseminate the current Republican view that the fault for the disaster lies not at the feet of the current adminstration, but with the evil lib'rulz who created the Welfare State? That position is one thing, and we're seeing it echoed in a lot of places lately. For instance, I heard someone on the radio this morning blaming Bill Clinton for not having fixed the levees when he was in office. This is standard stuff for the wingers; when in doubt, blame Clinton. But to post an article that screams with racist undertones as this one does is, or should be, beneath even a dedicated Bush apologist like Lanz.

(It should also come as no surprise that the two news sources cited in the article are both right-wing propaganda outfits: The Moonie-owned Washington Times and Rupert Murdoch's Fox News. In the typical winger's world, these outfits are apparently the antidote to that gosh-darned lib'ral media.)

Had that been the extent of the offense of Lanz's post, I probably wouldn't have bothered writing this response to it. But after the reprinted article, in comments of his own, he claims that "some people" (with a link to this blog) "amazingly try to blame a hurricane on the President." Well, to steal a phrase, sadly, no. "Some people" might do that (though I haven't read or heard of any who have), but I certainly didn't. Now I realize that expecting right-wingers to read anything carefully (especially anything written by a traitor to America like me and all other liberals, progressives and Democrats) requires a leap of logic that would span the Grand Canyon, but really! I must protest. Never did I say that Bush "caused the hurricane," nor would I ever make a statement as ridiculous as that. What I railed about in my posts over the past week or so is essentially the same thing I've been railing about for the past five years: that Bush is overmatched in his job, that he is incompetent and incapable of leading. I ranted about the slow and mismanaged response to the disaster that apparently everyone but the president knew was coming, but never did I say or imply that the hurricane itself was his fault.

Such is the mindset of the wingers, though. They seem to live and thrive in constant denial and cognitive dissonance, happily misinterpreting and misrepresenting the truth (when they're not ignoring it altogether). The fact that millions of people out there agree with my assessment of Bush's failure to respond in a timely manner matters not a whit to Lanz and his pals busy blaming the victims for their plight. The fact that people died because of Bush's inaction, and because of his lame, unprepared and overmatched appointees (hello, Michaels Chertoff and Brown) does not matter, or even enter the equation. It's all the fault of the Welfare State, of local officials, of Bill Clinton, of liberalism in general.

Lanz goes on to say that "some people" (again with a link to this site) "want to turn this tragedy into another Make George Look Bad smear campaign." *sigh* I hardly need to make the point that George made himself look bad enough without any help from me. But in the world of the current Republican blame-avoiders, nothing is ever, ever, George's fault. Not the poor response to Katrina, not the bungled war in Iraq, not the lies about WMDs that started the war, not the continuing inability to capture or even locate Osama bin Laden, not the soaring deficit or the millions of people living in poverty in the richest country in the world (many more since he took office), not the stolen election that illegally put him in power in the first place, nothing. The buck stops anywhere but George's desk. There is never a time to point fingers, say the Repubs, unless those fingers are being pointed at someone other than their glorious leader (they prefer to blame Democrats for everything, especially Bill Clinton).

"Some people" might be happy at this new opportunity to cast blame on a clueless, incompetent president (as Lanz accuses me of being) for his poor leadership in this instance, but I'm not; any more than I've been "happy" to complain about all the other jobs he's bungled in his time in office. The problem I have is that I love America, and I want to see it restored to its former place as a respected leader of the world community and place of refuge and hope for all its citizens, rich and poor alike. That won't happen under Bush's watch, and I'm anything but happy about that. But ignoring that reality and shutting up about it -- something Lanz and his Republican buddies would welcome, I'm sure -- is contrary to my very nature. I have to speak up when I see criminal behavior on the part of our chief "elected" official, just as I would if I saw someone trying to rob a grocery store or kidnap a child. Bush dithered; people died as a result. You're damn right I'm going to make noise about that, but I'm sure as hell not happy about it.

In his conclusion, Lanz consoles himself with the belief that "the Left is drifting further and further away from the mainstream of America," and that we are "fading as a force in American politics." Right, buddy. And I blamed Bush for creating a hurricane.
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