Monday, September 05, 2005

It's Official: Slow News Month Over

While some critics have proclaimed the demise of Exit145 due to lack of interest and time on our part, the reality is that August was, as usual, a tremendously slow news month. And unless you've been living under a rock for the last week, things have picked up. I'd like to draw your attention to two items concerning the biggest stories of the last week.

First off, the disaster that is New Orleans. I have to admit that I wanted to reserve judgment with regard to the federal government's handling of the post-hurricane situation in the Big Easy. I have determined, with influence coming from many quarters (including the man who puts the '145' in 'Exit145', Eric), that it is irresponsible to continue to look the other way. Further, I must admit that the visceral (and obviously expected) reaction to Bush's action (or lack thereof) from the far left inspired in me a knee-jerk reaction to defend a President who has appeared to this point to be a superior crisis manager. While criticizing the 'left' for playing the partisan card during a national tragedy, I was subconciously doing same. While reading Andrew Sullivan's op-ed from yesterday's London Times I officially realized my mistake. As usual, Sully cuts straight to the core of the controversy (albeit in a fairly emotional tone) while lending both historical perspective and potential future developments to the mix. The entire thing is worth a read, and I found this bit pretty interesting.
What harm can come to Bush? Not much: except a worrying weakening of his ability to carry the public for the war in Iraq. A competent Democrat could clean up with a message to restore government for the people rather than for special interests. But these days, a competent Democrat is an oxymoron. Hillary has been silent. She figures she need do nothing but let the anger vent on Bush.

But in Republican circles, one real change may have occurred. In a matter of days, Rudy Giuliani’s chances of becoming the next president improved drastically. What people want now is someone who can make the federal government work again. They want an executive who can fight a war and keep them safe. Nobody represents that kind of need better than Giuliani. His social liberalism — which makes him anathema to the religious fundamentalists who control the Republican party — would be overwhelmed by his appeal to law-and-order Republicans. Those Republicans know when an almighty error has been made. And last week, their president failed them. It will take enormous political work for him to win them back now.
Second, the nomination of John G. Roberts to Chief Justice was an interesting and seemingly shrewd move. As someone pointed out to me this morning, this puts Sandra Day O'Connor in an interesting position. Roberts was initially slated to replace O'Connor as associate justice once he was given Senate approval. Now that he'll be replacing Rehnquist, O'Connor will remain on the bench until a replacement for her is found. With the confirmation of Roberts expected to take some time, O'Connor could remain on the bench for months to come. Will she take a back seat or will she take advantage of her now 'rock-star' status that was given upon her announcement of retirement? Time will tell.

The gauntlet has been thrown down, Eric.

--Frank

3 Comments:

Blogger poster said...

Here are some excerpts from a conversation with an avid exit145 reader. We'll identify him as 'The Blogfather'.

Blogfather: This is a manmade disaster that local greed and cavalier attitudes in Louisiana are far more responsible for. I would consider it irresponsible to rebuild NOLA in its recent form as persisting in a path that cannot be sustained in the face of the geological and environmental facts of life. The press has done us all a big disservice by trying to cast this as a Bush failure. It is a mere fortuity that this happened when it did. Let's see whose fault it is when the next mammoth storm hits LBI and carries away everything.

Exit145: what matters is not that (Bush) didnt prevent it...serious people don't believe he was responsible for that. he did not, however, act with the urgency that the situation dictated and his appointees (this brown guy in charge of FEMA for one) are a disaster. it's the same with rumsfeld....(Bush) sticks by proven incompetents at his own (and the country's) peril.

BF: I am suspending judgment pending an investigation. Clearly the response was inadequate, but I want to get a full report. I have no idea why anyone would leave 2 large sites unattended for days on end when the press can manage to get there. I can better understand how it is impossible to reach every resident of a flooded city in 2 days or even 2 weeks. Unfortunately, we have come to expect that the govt can respond to anything, regardless of extent or scope. It is an arrogance that invites disaster and disappointment. I totally reject the notion that Bush reacted slowly because there were only blacks and poor folks in danger. He has only a down side to acting that way and he knows it full well. I assume no serious person thinks Bush should be the day to day manager of FEMA. Is anyone saying Brown's alleged shortcomings were apparent before this disaster? Should Bush make the change in FEMA days after the events took place when the problems are still hard to determine, although the effects may be plain? It may be that this disaster was too great to have been managed effectively the way some folks think it should have been. I also get the impression that a lot of ineffective locals have gotten in the way and the NOLA police ain't the NYPD. I am also sure that the feds have been terrified of Homeland Security breaches elsewhere due to the diversion of resources to NOLA. Sometimes shit happens and it's not anyone's fault or at least not the fault of the man on the bridge at the time. In that regard, I am not sure what I think of some opinion by an armchair pecksniff in London with only partial access to the facts on the ground.

Exit145: The armchair pecksniff lives in DC.

BF: Same difference. No real life exists there.

Exit145: Perhaps we should continue this interview at another time. I have a dinner reservation in, um, Dupont.

5:32 PM  
Blogger poster said...

UPDATE:
As mentioned, the converation above was excerpted from a larger scroll. In the first 'Blogfather' comment, he says "this is a manmade disaster" referring to the aftermath/response to the storm, not the storm itself. Indeed, we all know that George Bush, an alien with far-right wing fundamentalist beliefs, was responsible for the hurricane itself.
Management.

5:35 PM  
Blogger poster said...

"Is anyone saying Brown's alleged shortcomings were apparent before this disaster?"

The Blogfather really should take 10 minutes to read about Mike Brown and answer his own question.
-- Eric

6:43 PM  

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