White House Jokes

I just feel compelled to point out a couple of items from this Guardian article on the Bush team’s effort to undo the damage, because they’re funny.

On Saturday Mr Bush ordered 7,000 more troops to the Gulf coast. As important as the content of the speech was its sombre tone. It was clear the White House realised that making a joke about his young hell-raising days in New Orleans in the course of a flying visit to the flooded city on Friday, was a mistake that reinforced allegations he had failed to take the disaster seriously enough.

Gee, you think?

The second element of the White House plan is to insist, in an echo of the September 11 attacks, that the scale of the disaster, the combination of a hurricane and the collapse of the levee system around New Orleans, could not have been foreseen. Mr Bush was castigated for saying on Wednesday: “I don’t think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees”. It was pointed out that there had been a string of investigations and reports in recent years which had predicted the disaster almost exactly. Nevertheless, administration officials stuck to the line yesterday. In a string of television interviews, Michael Chertoff, the head of the homeland security department, called the situation an “ultra-catastrophe”, as if the hurricane and flood were unrelated events.

That’s really kind of hilarious, in a sick way. (It won’t be hilarious if it works, which seems inconceivable now, but then so did Bush’s running for president at all, so whatever.) It’s disgusting as well as hilarious, because it displays such contempt for our collective intelligence, but it’s also funny. Just keep insisting, guys. Sure, sure, there are stacks of papers and studies showing that many many people did predict exactly that ‘combination’ (it’s not a combination, it’s cause and effect, you fools!), there are books on the subject, there are furious scholars telling CNN that they told various High Officials all about it, there are articles in major magazines from one or five years ago, all predicting exactly what happened. But you just keep insisting that no one could possibly have imagined such a thing. Make fools of yourselves. Go ahead, knock yourselves out.

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