I wish this was a joke. Clearly, this is nothing but a political campaign to save Bush's butt. Froomkin's column today has the details (and yes, I have become a Froomkin junkie):
All you really need to know about the White House's post-Katrina strategy -- and Bush's carefully choreographed address on national television tonight -- is this little tidbit from the ninth paragraph of Elisabeth Bumiller and Richard W. Stevenson 's story in the New York Times this morning:What the hell are Karl Rove's qualifications to rebuild a significant part of America? For Christ sakes, didn't they learn anything about putting political hacks in charge of life and death matters.
"Republicans said Karl Rove, the White House deputy chief of staff and Mr. Bush's chief political adviser, was in charge of the reconstruction effort."
Rove's leadership role suggests quite strikingly that any and all White House decisions and pronouncements regarding the recovery from the storm are being made with their political consequences as the primary consideration. More specifically: With an eye toward increasing the likelihood of Republican political victories in the future, pursuing long-cherished conservative goals, and bolstering Bush's image.
That is Rove's hallmark.
Political considerations are the ONLY concern of the Bush White House. These people are so callous and ruthless, it is almost mind boggling. Nothing matters to them. Froomkin asks the key question:
Will it work?The answer isn't so clear:
Rove has an astonishing track record of success. But at the same time, Bush finds himself today a deeply unpopular president according to the opinion polls, particularly damaged by his lackluster response to the protracted, televised suffering in New Orleans.Rove does have a track record of success -- but it's from running nasty, negative, political smear campaigns. Karl Rove also has a track record of lying to the media. Knowing Bush and Rove were together during the initial stages of the hurricane and its aftermath sure helps explain why the GOP doesn't want an independent commission.
And Rove himself has not been at his best of late. Unlike many of Bush's advisers, who have plausible deniability for his initial under-reaction because they weren't with him on vacation, Rove was tagging along with the president, blithely touring the West Coast even as the Gulf Coast drowned. Rove is haunted by the possibility of indictment by a federal grand jury investigating the leak of a CIA agent. And according to Time magazine, he was briefly hospitalized last week with painful kidney stones.
So, will it work? Giving a few well choreographed speeches won't change the fact that Bush stayed on vacation while parts of our country were being wiped out. Spinning the media won't change the fact that this country is not safe under the leadership of George Bush. Running a smear campaign won't change the fact that George Bush is a failed President.