The cantankerous Moose has a burr under his saddle.
First, on a positive note - God Bless Texas and the United States Coast Guard! If there can be any "winners" that emerge from a tragedy, the Lone Star State and the Coast Guard fit the bill. The Moose's home state has shown what a good neighbor is all about. The people and political leadership of Houston, in particular, have been exemplary in their generosity and efficiency.
For those of us who do not live by the water, we too often take the Coast Guard for granted. Their heroism in saving thousands along the Gulf Coast has been breathtaking. The Coast Guard is to Katrina what the New York firefighters were to 9/11. We are humbled by their bravery in saving lives during this crisis. And we are comforted that one of their leaders is now in charge of the Katrina recovery. Vice Admiral Thad Allen has been one of the rare voices during this crisis that is at once credible, comforting, knowledgeable and in command.
Now the losers. That's easy - virtually the entire leadership class - local officials, state officials, the Bush Administration, Congress (putting pork before prevention), Republicans, Democrats - the whole lot let us down. The Moose is certainly not equally assigning blame - at the end of the day this was a regional disaster and it required national leadership - that is, if we had it - a mountain-bike vacation is a terrible thing to waste. It is truly stunning to contemplate that this President won re-election by touting his "decisive leadership."
If this is "decisive" give the Moose a " French flip-flopper" any day of the week. Alas, W.'s only remaining reliable media defender is the distinguished Mr. Britt Hume of Fox News. He is the first recipient of the Moose's Baruch Korff Award.
To those who believe that the Moose was harsh in characterizing the President as a "man-child", consider this from Evan Thomas in Newsweek,
"How this could be-how the president of the United States could have even less "situational awareness," as they say in the military, than the average American about the worst natural disaster in a century-is one of the more perplexing and troubling chapters in a story that, despite moments of heroism and acts of great generosity, ranks as a national disgrace.
"President George W. Bush has always trusted his gut. He prides himself in ignoring the distracting chatter, the caterwauling of the media elites, the Washington political buzz machine. He has boasted that he doesn't read the papers. His doggedness is often admirable. It is easy for presidents to overreact to the noise around them."
"But it is not clear what President Bush does read or watch, aside from the occasional biography and an hour or two of ESPN here and there. Bush can be petulant about dissent; he equates disagreement with disloyalty."
Clearly, an apology is in order concerning the Moose's application of the "man-child" label on the President. Indeed, it is an insult to the millions of school children who are obligated by their teachers to keep abreast of current events, watch the nightly news and read the front pages of newspapers.
But then again, under the "No Child Left Behind" Act, school children are held accountable with certaimeasurablele standards. To bring along the President, should Congress pass the "No Man-child Left Behind" Act?
On the other hand, Some Democrats believe that their day of salvation has arrived - they think that the scales have fallen from the eyes of the American people and they will flock to put the party back in party. Clearly they are disgusted with the abysmal performance of the Bushies. But, truth be told they are increasingly fed up with all of the folks they have entrusted with leadership - Democratic favorables have not exactly skyrocketed lately.
This is an independent moment - not that there is going to be a third party that is going to emerge. Rather, this is a time that begs for assertive, innovative, unifying and non-ideological leadership.
Neither the right nor the left should take solace in the disgust of the American people. The leadership class of this country appears abysmal at the moment. They truly need to get their act together.
The Moose is restive... --