03 September 2005
Newsweek needs a civics lesson
Newsweek has published "WEB-EXCLUSIVE COMMENTARY" by Eleanor Clift titled "A Colossal Failure of Leadership" in which she proceeds to make a mangled mish mash of history and responsiblity coming to the decision that the problems in New Orleans are all President Bush's fault (sound familiar?) . It's a colossal failure in reporting and fact checking, but an amazing success in partisan politics. Bravo.

Let's start:

"But this was a moment for national leadership, and nobody rose to take charge
the way Giuliani did in New York."

You're right. Mayor Nagin, the Rudy Guilliani equivalent in New Orleans didn't step up to the plate the way Giuliani did. Notice how you blame President Bush ("national leadership") but give credit to Giuliani, a local mayor. Why don't you blame Nagin? Oh, right. He's a democrat.

"Things were so bad “you almost wonder if Donald Rumsfeld is in charge,” said
Marshall Wittmann, an analyst with the Democratic Leadership Council. "

Ah, yes, include pointless politcal rhetoric soundbite from the Democrats. Always critical when discussing an important issue.

"One third of the National Guard from the affected states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama are in Afghanistan and Iraq, and they’re the ones trained to perform the police functions that restore civil order. Instead of declaring a national emergency and deploying the military from all those nearby Texas bases, Bush deployed his father and President Clinton for a photo op at the White House as a prelude to a fund-raising tour. "

Whoops. Someone didn't do there research before flying off the handle.
1) President Bush *did* declare the states of Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana disaster zones...before Katrina hit. This enabled FEMA to act faster and begin to get funding. In fact, President Bush was pushing Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco to evacuate the city of New Orleans well before Nagin issued his evacuation order (48 hours after the New Orleans emergency plan said he should have)
2) The President does not control the National Guard troops unless he mobilizes them (here Ms. Clift, watch the slideshow). When he does that, they can no longer do the job that you wanted them to do (you're ambiguous "police functions") due to restrictions in the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878. The only way that the National Guard can enforce civil law is if they remain under the command of their Governor (you know, Governor Blanco, the Democrat you described as "fighting to hold back tears. ") therefore it's Governor Blanco's fault that the troops weren't deployed.

You really ought to do your research a bit better before you launch your political hit pieces Ms. Clift, although I sincerely doubt you will.
A Republican in San Francisco (Yes, he's under deep cover) relays his tales of interest... ...ok, "interest" is a strong and subjective word but you get the point.
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