George Bush, Security Risk
In a short statement on Tuesday, George W. Bush completely undermined the entire premise for his second term as President. With plummeting polls in the wake of his administration's bungling of the New Orleans disaster, Bush sought the appearance of accountability. He said tersely, "to the extent the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility."
But in so doing, President Bush demolished his national security credentials. The same man who campaigned for reelection in 2004 as the guarantor of Americans' safety at home and abroad admitted his impotence:
"Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government...Are we capable of dealing with a severe attack? That's a very important question and it's in the national interest that we find out what went on so we can better respond."
In 2004, President Bush and his fellow travelers sold the American people a bill of goods. He and his minions not only claimed that they did not need "a permission slip" to protect the American people, they viciously disparaged John Kerry's ability to do so.
They literally said Kerry could not be trusted. Zell Miller, the vein-bursting Bush sycophant who spewed his venom at the Republican National Convention, said of Kerry last September in the Wall Street Journal, "I will never trust John Kerry with my family's safety." And Vice President Dick Cheney dedicated a major address to a full frontal assault on Kerry's national security credentials:
"These past three years, as our country experienced war and national emergency, I have watched our Commander-in-Chief make the decisions and set the strategy. I have seen a man who is calm and deliberate - comfortable with responsibility - consistent in his objectives, and resolute in his actions...The Senator from Massachusetts has given us ample doubts about his judgment and the attitude he brings to bear on vital issues of national security."
Cheney's charges against Kerry were, of course, distortions at best, an obscenity at worst. But where is Cheney now, as our Commander-in-Chief failed utterly in New Orleans' hour of need? Does Zell Miller's trust in George Bush regarding the safety of his own family in Georgia extend to the thousands of families in New Orleans and the Gulf states?
With Katrina, yet another myth of the Bush presidency was shattered the myth of Bush as Protector of the Republic. His incompetence, his powerlessness, his detachment and worst, his diversion of blame, were all revealed in the light of day. This time, though, George W. Bush at least had the courage to say so himself.