Katrina FolliesAs the human tragedy goes on, but starts getting better, for millions of affected people from the gulf coast, our political class is hell-bent on creating another, more long lasting tragedy for the rest of us. Aside from those whose hatred for Bush forces them to turn every political conversation into an opportunity to make claims against his character or competence, there are those opportunists who are already using this situation to lobby for the movement of national policy in the direction of their choice. Others are in the midst of covering their asses, or the asses of their fellow travellers, but it amounts to the same refrain. Instead of "Bush lied, people died" it is "Bush fiddled while New Orleans burned."
In the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof and others are attempting to ignite the flames of race and class warfare, but they are having one problem - Bush has a better record on class and race than most of his predecessors. He gets no credit from his detractors for this, but it is a loser when it comes to converting the working people, who know that the economy is booming, and Bush's minority appointees are neither tokens nor were they elevated to less important positions - Joycelyn Elders, meet Condoleeza Rice. Tom Friedman and Maureen Dowd blame Bush for neglecting New Orleans, and the poor and black especially. Yet his has been an administration that has spent lavishly, even foolishly. Federal discretionary spending is up over a third on Bush's watch, and it was Clinton who downsized government, and halving the military as well.
But truth matters not to pundits and pols who are used to being able to count on the people being a credulous bunch of ninnies. Their problem rests on the fact that their support has been reduced to a small, but dedicated coterie of such credulous ninnies, and the rest of Americans are less and less wiling to believe anything that the political and the chattering classes have to say. No, the real danger lies not to the left. It is the right that we should fear now.
Not the real right, of course. I am talking about the Republicans who will use the present crisis as they have used the last crisis, to erode our liberty and spend our money. I fully expect the Congress, under Republican leadership, to propose and pass sweeping legislation, ostensibly to ameliorate the crisis, but in actuality to continue the old one - the crisis of a political class that has seized more power than the Constitution ever uintended, and now can not be stopped. And now, with Rehnquist dead, we have no Supreme Court Justice, save Clarence Thomas, with the desire to continue Rehnquist's crusade to return our federal government to constitutional limits of federalism. And Rehunquist's replacement? We just have to trust the same guy that hired Michael Brown to be head of FEMA.
Now come all of the calls we are already hearing to grant broad and sweeping new powers to the executive branch, and even the military, to overrun local and state government next time a turf-guarding incompetent like Governor Blanco stands in their way. Now we see over Fifty Billion Dollars in gimme cash being hosed out as fast as possible by a federal bureaucracy hell bent on scoring a record increase in their budget. We see a government evicting people without due process, taking their weapons without benefit of law or reason, and can next expect an attempt to have these seizures enshrined into federal law. And, once the city is empty, who will rebuild? The Corps of Engineers, or Haliburton, can build a new planned federal community, perhaps, where government will make the choices that the people are too foolish to make.
All of us who fear a bigger government have reason to believe that hurricane Katrina will prove to be a greater threat to liberty than 9/11 ever was.