It’s not often the right-wing newspaper turns on Bush, but it’s slowly turning against him.
Let’s take a look at this portrait of presidential leadership, as painted by the Associated Press: “Sitting in [the USS Iwo Jima] mess hall, the president watched large screens beaming to him via videoconference the images of three federal officials ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬? Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, the National Hurricane Center’s deputy director Ed Rappaport, and a Federal Emergency Management Agency official ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬? who gave him updates on the storm. He was told that [Hurricane] Rita was expected to hit the upper-to-middle part of the Texas coast by the weekend.”
I didn’t understand why at first, but I found this description, this finger-on-the-pulse, command-decision set-up, most depressing. Maybe it was because I had just heard the exact same info on my car radio. Sure, the symbolism of the commander in chief on the job is important, but this was showboating.
The blowhards of Katrina have whipped up a political windstorm around the president, but I really don’t want to see him bend ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬? and keep bending. After all, this was President Bush’s fifth trip to the hurricane zone. Maybe he’ll trade in his frequent-flyer miles for higher poll numbers.
Do I sound disgruntled? I am also perplexed, left to focus on the inscrutability of such symbolism because the narrative thread of this presidency has become so hard to follow.
Honestly, I think many find this president’s actions hard to follow. And certainly those same people feel that he’s not being as responsive as he could be.
Of course, he’s only recently taken responsibility for a national tragedy. In short, where was the accountability then? Of course more were affected by Hurricane Katrina, but his apology (while welcome) almost seems like an afterthought.
I’ll be curious to see what the next few months bring for Bush.