GWB: Bigger than Zeus, just not as popular
In view of the Bush bashing following the hurricane, I’ve come to the conclusion that the bashers must hold the belief that the President is Zeus, only bigger. After all, Zeus was
associated as being a weather god, as his main attribute is the thunderbolt, he controlled thunder, lightning and rain
but didn’t have to deal with the media.
Ben Stein’s Get Off His Back relates to this attitude:
Is there any problem in the world that is not Mr. Bush’s fault, or have we reverted to a belief in a sort of witchcraft where we credit a mortal man with the ability to create terrifying storms and every other kind of ill wind?
Allow me to add a few comments as I look at a few of Ben’s paragrpahs:
4.) There is no overwhelming evidence that global warming exists as a man-made phenomenon. There is no clear-cut evidence that global warming even exists. There is no clear evidence that if it does exist it makes hurricanes more powerful or makes them aim at cities with large numbers of poor people. If global warming is a real phenomenon, which it may well be, it started long before George Bush was inaugurated, and would not have been affected at all by the Kyoto treaty, considering that Kyoto does not cover the world’s worst polluters — China, India, and Brazil. In a word, George Bush had zero to do with causing this hurricane. To speculate otherwise is belief in sorcery.
One thing that I find amazing is how great a belief in a man’s (the president’s) omnipotence and omniscience appears to run among his critics. Not even the weather service knew for sure where the storm was heading after it hit Florida (link via The Conspiracy to Keep You Poor and Stupid). Even then, as PoliPundit points out, by Saturday, August 27 President Bush had declared a state of emergency in Louisiana. There was plenty of time for the local authorities to have put some of the most at-risk people (the handicapped, for instance) in those buses. Back to Ben,
5.) George Bush had nothing to do with the hurricane contingency plans for New Orleans. Those are drawn up by New Orleans and Louisiana. In any event, the plans were perfectly good: mandatory evacuation. It is in no way at all George Bush’s fault that about 20 percent of New Orleans neglected to follow the plan. It is not his fault that many persons in New Orleans were too confused to realize how dangerous the hurricane would be. They were certainly warned. It’s not George Bush’s fault that there were sick people and old people and people without cars in New Orleans. His job description does not include making sure every adult in America has a car, is in good health, has good sense, and is mobile.
I disagree with Ben on this point. “Mandatory evacuation” was an abstract concept in the minds of New Orleans authorities. As Sigmund Carl and Alfred points out,
Clearly, many had no form or means of transportation out of the city. Without local, county and state help to help with the evacuation- ordered at least 24 hours in advance and suggested days earlier, there was no way we could have seen a viable exodus or poor residents. Any viable evacuation would have entailed cooperation at the city, state and local levels- cooperation that was not in evidence.
What special abilities does the media have for deciding how much blame goes to the federal government as opposed to the city government of New Orleans for the aftereffects of Katrina?
A Chrenkoff reader points out,
What’s been lost in all the blather over New Orleans is that it was really Mississippi that took the big hit.
. . .
Amidst all the hyperventilating that’s going on, it’s actually a good time for a civics lesson, particularly watching the competence of the people in Mississippi and the gross incompetence of almost all concerned in Louisiana. Who was responsible for what?
Ben’s list goes on,
6.) George Bush did not cause gangsters to shoot at rescue helicopters taking people from rooftops, did not make gang bangers rape young girls in the Superdome, did not make looters steal hundreds of weapons, in short make New Orleans into a living hell
They’re still shooting. I heard in the news this morning that rescue workers were throwing food from a helicopter to people shooting at them. I appreciate the workers’ intentions, but please, in such circumstances, if someone doesn’t want the help, don’t give it. Ben asks
Why is it that the snipers who shot at emergency rescuers trying to save people in hospitals and shelters are never mentioned except in passing, and Mr. Bush, who is turning over heaven and earth to rescue the victims of the storm, is endlessly vilified?
Maybe it has to do with the MSM not wanting to look at how A Hurricane Exposes the Man-Made Disaster of the Welfare State:
What Hurricane Katrina exposed was the psychological consequences of the welfare state. What we consider “normal” behavior in an emergency is behavior that is normal for people who have values and take the responsibility to pursue and protect them. People with values respond to a disaster by fighting against it and doing whatever it takes to overcome the difficulties they face. They don’t sit around and complain that the government hasn’t taken care of them. And they don’t use the chaos of a disaster as an opportunity to prey on their fellow men.
But what about criminals and welfare parasites? Do they worry about saving their houses and property? They don’t, because they don’t own anything. Do they worry about what is going to happen to their businesses or how they are going to make a living? They never worried about those things before. Do they worry about crime and looting? But living off of stolen wealth is a way of life for them.
People living in piles of their own trash, while petulantly complaining that other people aren’t doing enough to take care of them and then shooting at those who come to rescue them—this is not just a description of the chaos at the Superdome. It is a perfect summary of the 40-year history of the welfare state and its public housing projects.
The welfare state—and the brutish, uncivilized mentality it sustains and encourages—is the man-made disaster that explains the moral ugliness that has swamped New Orleans. And that is the story that no one is reporting.
Zeus had it easy.
After Sept. 11, many people who should have known better argued that it was somehow a vindication of government.
. . .
. . Sept. 11 was an appalling comprehensive failure of just about every relevant federal agency. The only government that worked that day was local and state: The great defining image, redeeming American honor at a moment of national humiliation, is those brave New York firemen pounding up the stairs of the World Trade Center.
Equipment includes ultrasound, digital radiology, satellite Internet, and a full pharmacy, enabling doctors to do most types of surgery in the field, including open-chest and abdominal operations.
It travels in a convoy that includes two 53-foot trailers, which as of Sunday afternoon was parked on a gravel lot 70 miles north of New Orleans because Louisiana officials for several days would not let them deploy to the flooded city, Rich said.
Zeus, by Jove!
Update, Tuesday, September 6: Mark Steyn: Welfare culture is bad not just because, as in Europe, it’s bankrupting the state, but because it enfeebles the citizenry, it erodes self-reliance and resourcefulness. (My thanks to Maria, who sent the link)