03/29/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Obama to New Orleans: Recover Without Us

In the welter of State of the Union news, this tidbit got to me: the administration is letting the Office of Gulf Coast Recovery quietly die. It should make Glenn Beck glad; that's one "czar" off the government payroll. And it's arguable that the job, whether in the hands of Texas banker Don Powell or New Orleanian Janet Woodka, was about as effective as a Democratic filibuster.

But, like most presidential gestures involving post-flood New Orleans, if the creation or continuation of this office had mainly symbolic importance, at least it had that. In the absence of substantive support for, to take one example, increased and accelerated funding for programs to restore the coastal wetlands that not only provide 40% of the nation's domestic seafood but that also happen to buffer New Orleans from more severe hurricanes, the existence of this office was at least a signal that something effective might be done at the presidential level, at some time, in some way, maybe. The decision to let the office lapse is, like so many of the signals from President Obama, designed to say to New Orleans, in effect, "too bad you had your disaster before I got here. You're on your own."