Keeping the Record Straight on the Katrina Story

Keeping the record straight on the Katrina story: that is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo".

Ground zero for the hate Bush movement is The New York Times Company, but its behavior in the wake of the Hurricane Katrina is so over the top, one wonders if CEO Janet Robinson has lost control over her operation.

There's no question the Bush administration was slow in getting relief to the hurricane zone. That's a legitimate criticism, but the personal attacks on President Bush by The New York Times Company, which includes The Boston Globe are beyond the pale.

Some examples:

- Far-left Globe columnist James Carroll: "The bystander-in-chief, of course, is George W. Bush, whose whining self-obsession perfectly embodies what America has done to itself."

- Far-left Times columnist Bob Herbert: "What we witnessed...was the dangerous incompetence and staggering indifference to human suffering of the president and his administration."

- Far-left Times columnist Paul Krugman: "The federal government's lethal ineptitude wasn't just a consequence of Mr. Bush's personal inadequacy; it was a consequence of ideological hostility to the very idea of using government to serve the public good."

So what these Bush haters are saying is that the president doesn't care if people suffer and die, and has geared the U.S. government toward putting Americans in jeopardy.

That's beyond ridiculous. The truth is this. Governor Blanco of Louisiana did not have a disaster plan in place, did not have enough state police and National Guard to secure a city the size of New Orleans, and did not push for federal help soon enough. President Bush was 24 hours too slow in reacting to the disaster. Why? I don't know. And the head of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, seemed clueless for days.


CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Mr. Secretary, how is it possible that you could not have known on late Thursday, for instance, that there were thousands of people in the convention center, who didn't have food, who didn't have water, who didn't have security, when that was being reported on national television?

MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY: Well, Chris, you know, that's one of the issues we have to look at. I mean, we were in constant touch with what was going on in the field, getting information from state and local officials.


So Chertoff is going to blame Louisiana. Louisiana is going to blame the Feds. So the bottom line, both were in chaos. And chaos is unacceptable in these dangerous times.

By the way, Michael Chertoff has consistently avoided confronting the border issue, which is another disaster just waiting to happen.

At this point, the office of Homeland Security does not inspire confidence, to say the least. You don't need personal attacks to make that point.

In another area that didn't take long before the race-hustlers hit the ground. They would have you believe reaction was slow because most of those stranded were black. Ultra-liberal columnist Jimmy Breslin said, "If whites were in trouble in New Orleans, I trust that this government would have been there early."

That is despicable nonsense. Newsday should be embarrassed for printing that kind of garbage. And NBC was embarrassed when rapper Kanye West (search) said this.


KANYE WEST, RAPPER: The way America is set up to help the poor, the black people, the less well-off as slow as possible, they've given them permission to go down and shoot us. George Bush doesn't care about black people.


NBC censored those remarks on the West Coast. And the remarks are simply nutty. I mean, come on, West is saying authorities want to shoot blacks? It doesn't get more irresponsible than that.

But what do you expect from an ideologically-driven newspaper industry and the world of rap, where anything goes? What do you expect?

"Talking Points" wants to reinforce two things. First, the huge, bureaucratic government will never be able to protect you. If you rely on government for anything, anything, you're going to be disappointed, no matter who the president is.

For example, engineers knew for decades the levee system in Louisiana could not withstand a Category 5 hurricane, but nobody wanted to pony up the $20 billion to shore it up. That kind of decision happens all day, every day.

Second point, New Orleans is not about race. It's about class. If you're poor, you're powerless, not only in America, but everywhere on earth. If you don't have enough money to protect yourself from danger, danger's going to find you. And all the political gibberish in the world is not going to change that.

The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina should be taught in every American school. If you don't get educated, if you don't develop a skill, and force yurself to work hard, you're most likely be poor. And sooner or later, you'll be standing on a symbolic rooftop waiting for help.

Chances are that help will not be quick in coming.

And that's "The Memo."

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

Our great ally France has offered the following in the wake of Katrina: 600 tents, 1,000 cots, some kitchen kits, 60 generators and 12 experts to advise the American Red Cross. --I hope they speak English.

Now I believe the 4-H Club of Bangor, Maine, has topped that offer.

The boycott of France remains intact. Get your bumper stickers on To not do so would be ridiculous. Why do they even bother? -- Keep your cots.