Bush Defends Hurricane Record
So: remember Hurricane Katrina? Well, George W. Bush does, and, as you might expect, he's got some regrets! But before you start thinking to yourself that our soon-to-be ex-President has stimulated the economy by buying himself a clue, hold up: as it turns out, Bush's regrets are those of the terminally self-absorbed:
"I think being called a racist because of Katrina was a low point," Bush said in an interview with CNN's Larry King.
In the days immediately following the disaster, Bush came under fire for what many characterized as a slow federal response to aiding victims, especially in the heavily African-American, Lower Ninth Ward neighborhood of New Orleans. During a live hurricane relief fundraiser on network television, entertainer Kanye West said "George Bush doesn't care about black people."
So there you have it. Kanye West totally made the president sad, and how dare he! Surely there's some other dude who's supposed to take responsibility for things like "slow Federal responses to aiding victims," but you never hear that guy getting called out on Kanye's mixtapes.
Bush continues his defense, thusly:
"In fact, the truth of the matter is the response was pretty darn quick," Bush said, "if you think about the fact that the Coast Guard and a lot of brave kids were pulling 30,000 people off of roofs as soon as the storm passed, as soon as they found people on those roofs."
Well, in the annals of Bush's "quick responses," Katrina didn't manage to rate the level of alacrity that the President accorded, say, Terri Schiavo. And, hey, no one's exactly running around saying that the Coast Guard doesn't care about black people, but it's worth pointing out that President Bush did preside over a government where you could get in trouble for helping the Coast Guard.
Ultimately, for Bush, it all comes down to math:
By the way, we have had, that I know of, sitting right here, eight hurricanes, major hurricanes, and seven and a half were dealt with the way everybody expected them to be dealt with.
The Mississippi part of Katrina was dealt with well, even though it was a really horrible hurricane."
"My brother was governor of Florida, and seven major hurricanes hit there. And the response was always pretty good. It's the response out of New Orleans and Louisiana which was not as good as we would have liked."
See! When you get right down to it, it was only that nagging half a hurricane -- the part where the city squarely hit by Katrina ended up getting destroyed - that stands out as a blemish on the Bush Hurricane Legacy. Plenty of other places weren't leveled by Katrina. North Dakota, for example, came out just fine, and no one ever gives Bush credit for that! Instead, everyone keeps harping on this sort of stuff.