Buck stops with Bush

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Excuse me for being a bit scattered today, but my entire world has been turned upside down.

What I took for unwavering truth has been proven false, destroying my entire belief system. I'm desperately trying to make sense of world gone mad n a world that no longer fits the simple pattern I'd figured out. It's like finding out there is no gravity or waking up to discover that the sun didn't rise today.

Yes, you know what's got me so flummoxed. President George "Dubya" Bush stood in front of the nation and took responsibility for the human misery caused by Katrina n at least the misery created because FEMA didn't respond to the devastation until three days after people started dying. The president even "allowed" his FEMA director to resign after first sending him back to Washington D.C. and letting the real can-do guys take over n the Coast Guard.

After all the messes Bush's policies have caused in this country n not heeding advice that al Quada was ready for a major attack on the United States fully eight months before 9/11/01, not listening to those who said there was no nuclear program in Iraq and that Iraq had no ties to al Quada, that running up huge deficits while cutting taxes for multi-billion-dollar corporations would hurt the economy for years to come, that his prescription drug program would hurt seniors, etc., etc. etc. n it was a real shock to not only see him take action to remove one of his appointees who royally messed up, but to then take personal responsibility as the head of government.

Geez! I still can't quite grasp it. I didn't even think he knew what a buck was, much less would be willing to stop one.

Excuse me, it's just very hard to get my head around this.

Does this mean we now have a real leader in the White House? Yeah, some of you've always thought Vice President Dick Cheney was in charge, but I've never really thought that was the case. He's more of a skulker than a leader. In another era, he's the guy you might run into in a dark alley. For those of you not familiar with the analogy, only one person comes out of the dark alley.

Back to Katrina. It's really criminal what happened to those people in New Orleans and the surrounding communities. The fault, however, has to be spread around because the problems started with the city, the state and finally to the federal government. An bipartisan, independent commission does need to fully investigate this matter n not to cast blame, although some of that is needed, too, but to get to the bottom of this mess so that when we have another natural or manmade disaster we can at least respond to the crisis effectively.

I've seen on my television's TV guide that many of the news shows are investigating possible disaster scenarios n mega-earthquake in California, nuclear detonation inside a city, etc. n which does little to help the general population at this time, but which probably makes for scary-fun television viewing. There are, of course, a host of disaster possibilities. As one disaster preparation planner from New Orleans said on one show I was watching, "It's great to have a plan, but it don't do much good if nobody follows it."

I wish our political leaders, not just Bush, would learn from this. For some jobs in the federal, state, and local government, you have to pick a professional, not some buddy who helped get you elected. The former FEMA head had no experience handling disasters and, by golly, it showed. I gather that blame is now being spread among other federal officials, but we'll wait and see what happens with that.

As it stands, the buck should stop at Bush's desk (or his ranch in Texas) because he's the one who chose the people who are supposed to be protecting people. When they show they're incompetent to do their jobs, that means the guy who picked them didn't do his.

Conservatives tried to recover their composure after FEMA finally responded to Katrina, blaming local officials and saying the federal government did the right thing. They even said we should just leave it alone so disaster relief would speed up. But even they couldn't justify this second disaster to befall New Orleans n three days without assistance.

Excuse the rambling, but, golly, President Bush took responsibility for something. I'm sure that had nothing to do with lowest poll numbers since Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford and Dick Nixon.