Wednesday, September 07, 2005
Emerging Talking Points
Trial Run of Excuses
Well, they're starting to appear here and there when various apologist politicians start talking about the "blame game". The focus seems to be to put the blame on the locals, then Kathleen Blanco, and to remind us that disaster relief of any scale is a grassroots program, not a federal priority. I used to help create such talking points on various issues. The communications office that produces these for the GOP is housed in the bowels of the Capitol. Here's what I've gleaned so far.
1) Disaster relief is a bottom up proposition: In other words, all the failures lie outside the federal realm. The locals didn't request help soon enough or failed to do so altogether. Never mind that Congress created the Homeland Security Department in the aftermath of 9/11 to respond to an event of this scale, and never mind that we've spent billions in funding this department, it's not the feds problem.
2) It's the fault of the first responders and volunteers: This is the excuse FEMA is trying out this week. We see it in the post below, were hundreds of fire fighters simply misunderstood that FEMA needed them for PR work, not saving people. Never mind that FEMA turned help away in disaster zones across the Gulf, from churches to foreign aid.
3) On Tuesday, the media was reporting that NOLA Dodged the bullet: First off, after 9/11 and the creation of the HSD, your telling me that our intelligence on public safety is coming from the USA Today?! Even if you're fine with that revelation, one must wonder what papers Chertoff and Brown were reading. Again, this bald faced lie is so transparent and easily check (via Wonkette) that I can't believe the Pentagon repeated it yesterday.
4) It's the fault of the State and Local authorities: Yeah, there is some truth to this claim, but this is a classic bait and switch. Local and State failures do not excuse the dismal federal response nor do they enable it. Louisiana's Governor declared a state of emergency on Saturday and had to call Bush on his vacation to get him to do the same to enable a federal response...a response that was too long in coming.
5) The Media didn't get the word out: What channel were these folks watching. Even Instapundit, who is usually immune for such doctrinaire excuses seems to support this line. Every channel I was watching, network and cable was saying that this storm was a killer and to leave the area. I mean even the generally useless local stations were on this story. Sorry, not this time.
Of course all the little Lobbyist-Bots here in DC, between their martinis and talk about weekends at the beach, are repeating these verbatim, as if praising the emperor's new clothes.
I still don't buy it.