Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Bush takes responsibility - well, kind of

As I have been harping for over a week on this topic, I am obliged to say something in the face of Bush's statements today, found here :
"Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government, and to the extent that the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility," Mr. Bush said in an appearance in the East Room with President Jalal Talabani of Iraq. "I want to know what went right and what went wrong."
So is he taking responsibility for his own actions? Unclear. He's taking responsibility for FEMA's response, or lack thereof, clearly. But it seems a little strange to hear him avoid addressing his own role, the humongous elephant in the room. People are also highlighting this quote from Bush:
In response to a reporter who asked if Americans, in the wake of the hurricane, should be concerned about the government's ability to respond to another disaster or a terrorist attack, Mr. Bush said: "I want to know how to better cooperate with state and local government, to be able to answer that very question that you asked: Are we capable of dealing with a severe attack or another severe storm? And that's a very important question."
A non-answer that you can read a lot into...he never really answers a question directly, so this is not surprising. But he clearly doesn't say they are prepared and you'd think a President would know that his job is to reassure people that despite the disaster, they are working 24/7 to right what's gone wrong, etc., or some other competent response. Bush just doesn't seem have it in him to think on his feet, to step up lately and this is just another example. Maybe he knows there's nothing he can say in response that would satisfy anyone, as their preparedness was laid bare for all the world to see....

His moment of responsibility will likely be continued on Thursday evening...