Turns out that Barack Obama, the sainted Democratic presidential hopeful, can be every bit the hack as the next run-of-the-mouth politician.
Not long after announcing the creation of a committee to explore his possible presidential run, the Illinois senator high-tailed it to New Orleans to throw some of the mud left behind by Hurricane Katrina on President George W. Bush.
With due solemnity, Obama joined the chorus of political opportunists blaming Bush’s incompetence and indifference for New Orleans’ sorry state. Talking to a special hearing of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Obama said that in the weeks after the hurricane,”an ashamed nation looked at what had been allowed to happen here and said, ‘Never again. Never will we turn our backs on these people. Never will we forget what happened here.'” (One would hope that in the future he would never again resort to the clichĂ?Â© “never again.”) Money, he said, is “still not reaching ordinary folks” quickly enough. “Until it does, all the numbers, the meetings and the planning that’s being done is inadequate.”
Obama questioned whether the Bush administration was doing enough, which I took to mean enough not just to repair the New Orleans, but to rebuild it into that shinning city on the hill, which we all know is something that Bush could do if he would just set its mind to it instead of hating blacks and the poor so much. Obama said he had heard of plans to raze some low-income housing projects, but hadn’t “seen concrete plans to meet the long-term housing needs of all the displaced people in New Orleans.”
There you have it: You’ve got to do something “about long-term needs,” which in liberal parlance is in the same league as “desperate needs,” all of which must be met by an activist government. Seems to me that if you’re going to do something about the “long-term” housing needs of the displaced people, you’ll have to build new homes in Houston and elsewhere, because some ex-residents of the Big Easy know that living below sea-level behind levees isn’t so smart, and theyd just as soon not come back.
Naturally, Obama did not spell out his own plan for meeting those long-term housing needs. Nor did he lay out his own detailed plan for rebuilding New Orleans. Nor did he say what he would have done that Bush supposedly didn’t do. Unless he thinks that people in New Orleans should just get out, like he believes that just “getting out” is a good plan when it applies to U.S. forces in Iraq.
Obama never got around to saying to what level we should repair New Orleans: To a decent level of livability, to its pre-hurricane corpulence or to a higher level of opulence. Thats not a question for those who believe that our only job is to send C-130s flying over the city, scattering bags of money to the wind. This is so, because Democrats, who imagine that a large government bureaucracy can fix anything, never get much beyond the flow-chart stage themselves when it comes carrying out their dreamy non-plans.
Judging by the news accounts, no one at the hearing had much criticism for state and local authorities, who are just — if not more — responsible for New Orleans’ problems as Bush. One of those most responsible, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, even had the brass to blame those old standbys — race and class — for the “lack of will.”
Also ignored is the fact that the federal government already has agreed to pay $334 million for infrastructure repairs, but that Louisiana has forwarded only $145 million to the city, and that the state and the city are blaming each other for the delays. Nor was much mention made, at least in news accounts, of the fact that one reason for caution is to prevent corrupt pols and their pals from raking off millions that should be going into the hands of Obama’s “ordinary folks,” unless, of course, the crooks happen to be one of the Democrats’ own, who stashed his share of the take in his home freezer.
Many of us in Chicago aren’t surprised that Obama has stepped down into the muck from the high ground to which he has been elevated by his devoted media. Not when we heard that Obama paid obeisance to Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, the head of one of the nation’s most corrupt governments. Not only has Obama endorsed Daley’s re-election this spring, but a political consultant with close ties to Daley — David Axelrod — and Daley’s brother William have their hands in Obamas coming campaign.
Obama’s fall into hackery has begun already, not that anyone in the national media wants to notice.