Tuesday, September 06, 2005

From Faith to Fury: Senator Mary Landrieu

Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu is not a wing-nut Democrat. She was a part of the gang of 14 who compromised with Republicans in order to salvage the filibuster. After the hurricane hit New Orleans she put on a brave face and thanked federal politicians on both sides of the aisle, including Bill Frist for their efforts. This despite some genuine cracks in the federal aid facade. Still, she encouraged emotional reporters demanding answers to avoid the blame game.

Then, she traveled with Bush to one of the levee breaches, and this is what she saw (from KTAL-TV News, via AmericaBlog:

“But perhaps the greatest disappointment stands at the breached 17th Street levee. Touring this critical site yesterday with the President, I saw what I believed to be a real and significant effort to get a handle on a major cause of this catastrophe. Flying over this critical spot again this morning, less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a Presidential photo opportunity; and the desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment. The good and decent people of southeast Louisiana and the Gulf Coast – black and white, rich and poor, young and old – deserve far better from their national government.

Then, she began to hear the administration shrugging the molasses-assed pace of federal relief efforts onto state and local officials--a small number of people working in a metropolis-sized swamp that is 9 to 20 feet deep.

She is done covering the administration's behind now. On a helicopter tour with George Stephanapoulos on a taping of This Week, she offered her current perspective (See the entire clip at the video blog Crooks and Liars, text from Daily Kos:

Today, Senator Landrieu, a Democrat whose father, Moon Landrieu, was once the mayor of New Orleans, dropped her earlier reserve about criticizing federal failings.

Mr. Bush had said that the enormousness of the crisis had "strained state and local capabilities."

Local authorities took this as a deeply unjustified criticism, and a distraught Ms. Landrieu said that if she heard any more criticism from federal officials, particularly about the evacuation of New Orleans, she might lose control.

"If one person criticizes them or says one more thing - including the president of the United States - he will hear from me," she said on the ABC program "This Week." "One more word about it after this show airs and I might likely have to punch him. Literally."

She also referred angrily to comments Mr. Bush had made Friday at the New Orleans airport about the fun he had had there in his younger days.

"Our infrastructure is devastated, lives have been shattered," Ms. Landrieu said during a helicopter tour of the area with an ABC interviewer. "Would the president please stop taking photo-ops?"

She later goes on to point out that Bush raided the FEMA budget items designated to bring the levees up to par in the last few years.

There are some things Bush should have learned by now about real Southerners (as opposed to Houston-based East Coasters who pose as brush gathering ranchers). During an argument, we will usually provide you with a polite concession, if for no other reason than to help solve a bigger problem later or just to be kind. If we find out that you are insincere or dishonest, we will quietly dismiss you, either directly or with veiled sarcasm. If we find that you are also a cowardly opportunist, we will turn on you like a junkyard Pit Bull.

Many Southerners, after hearing self-serving lies such as the ones above or, "we had no idea the levees would break" or "we thought New Orleans had been spared" or "no one asked us for help" are in one of the stages mentioned above. It remains to be seen how many will arrive at the Pit Bull stage, but I suspect Mary Landrieu won't be the only one.


Post a Comment

<< Home