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Sins of Commission

September 21, 2005

The American people are rightly outraged by President Bush's refusal to call for an independent commission to investigate the disastrous government response to hurricane Katrina. A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll showed that 81% of Americans would like to see an independent panel versus only 18% backing a Congressional inquiry. Democrats will pay no price for opposing both the defanged joint committee pushed by House and Senate Republicans and the sham White House investigation led by Bush homeland security advisor Frances Townsend.
That much said, Democrats can rest assured that Karl Rove and the Republican message machine are already laying a post-Katrina minefield for the upcoming 2006 elections. After the 2002 mid-term elections, we all should know exactly what to expect from the Bush administration. The predictable White House formula:

  1. As with 9/11, President Bush will flip-flop and cave to public pressure on an independent Katrina commission.
  2. The White House and Congressional Republicans will later take credit for its findings, which will be delivered after the November vote. The GOP will promise to speedily implement the panel's recommendations.
  3. In the meantime, Bush will push a massive and popular federal spending bill for the Gulf States, but include poison pills like curbs on prevailing wage rules, school vouchers, looser environmental rules and more.
  4. A repeat of the 2002 Department of Homeland Security debate will ensue. Then, many Democrats opposed the creation of a DHS they originally supported, due to Republican efforts to undermine civil service rules on hiring and firing. In 2006, Democrats will rightly oppose the unpopular conservative policies buried in the Katrina relief package.
  5. In response, Republicans will run ads saying, "Why do Democrats hate the victims of Katrina?"

For more of the coming post-Katrina GOP formula for putting politics over people, see "Trojan Horse: The Bush Plan for Katrina."


Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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