Obama Under Attack For Not Visiting Louisiana In Wake Of Flooding

President Obama is being criticized for remaining on vacation while Louisiana deals with historic flooding.

Obama Golfing Marthas Vineyard

President Obama is facing criticism for staying on vacation on Martha’s Vineyard while Louisiana is dealing with some of its worth flooding in recorded history:

President Barack Obama has faced no shortage of criticism for continuing his vacation and golfing on Martha’s Vineyard while some 1,600 miles away, people in Louisiana cope with the worst natural disaster in the United States since Hurricane Sandy.

Mike Huckabee laced into Obama as “disgraceful” on Friday for failing to travel to Louisiana in the wake of the state’s devastating recent flooding, contrasting him unfavorably to Bill Clinton in similar situations as commander in chief.

“It’s a dereliction of duty,” Huckabee said on Fox Business’ “Mornings with Maria.” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson visited areas affected by the flooding on Thursday, while Obama has remained on vacation on Martha’s Vineyard for the past two weeks.

The former Republican governor and presidential candidate made clear that his criticism “isn’t about politics,” complimenting fellow Arkansan Bill Clinton, who he said “was the best at showing up for things like this.”

“And he showed a level of compassion,” Huckabee said of the 42nd president. “He represents the heart of America.”

Both Donald Trump and Mike Pence traveled to Louisiana on Friday to visit those affected by the natural disaster.

“The president says he doesn’t want to come, he is trying to get out of a golf game,” Trump told volunteers at a church in Greenwell Springs, Louisiana, according to ABC News.

But Huckabee expressed doubt that Hillary Clinton would follow suit in going to Louisiana, “because now that Donald Trump has gone, it’ll look like a ‘me, too’ rather than a real initiative.”

(…)

Baton Rouge’s The Advocate newspaper unloaded on Obama with an editorial published Thursday night, drawing a historical comparison to George W. Bush’s response to Hurricane Katrina.

“Sometimes, presidential visits can get in the way of emergency response, doing more harm than good,” the editorial said. “But we don’t see that as a factor now that flood waters are subsiding, even if at an agonizing pace. It’s past time for the president to pay a personal visit, showing his solidarity with suffering Americans.”

The Advocate called the “optics of Obama golfing while Louisiana residents languished in flood waters was striking” and evocative of “the precedent of the passive federal response to the state’s agony in 2005, a chapter of history no one should ever repeat.”

While giving credit to the White House for promptly declaring the flooded part of the state a disaster area in order to receive federal aid, Louisiana’s largest daily newspaper called on Obama to “pack his bags now.”

John Bel Edwards, the Governor of Louisiana, disagrees and says that a visit by the President at this time would be more of a hindrance than helpful:

Gov. John Bel Edwards spent much of a Thursday press conference (Aug. 18) sticking up for fellow Democrat Barack Obama and generally complimenting the federal government on its response to the Louisiana Flood of 2016.

“I am not complaining about our federal partnership in any way” Edwards said, responding to comments about the president not coming to Louisiana. “The president is welcome to visit whenever he wants to visit.”

Edwards said a presidential visit could cause additional problems for flood recovery efforts. Obama’s motorcade requires many roadways to be shutdown — and many local streets are still closed because of the flooding. Also, a presidential visit puts a strain on law enforcement. First responders shouldn’t be pulled away to deal with Obama, when they are needed for search and rescue missions still, Edwards said.

Obama, who is on vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, has not come to Louisiana since the Flood started six days ago. He also declined to come to Baton Rouge after Alton Sterling, an African American man, and three law enforcement officers were killed in the Capital city in July, something that local residents were grumbling about just a few weeks ago.

The president had visited Dallas less than a week before the Baton Rouge officers were killed, when five Dallas officers were shot. But Vice President Joe Biden was sent to the Baton Rouge officer memorial instead.

Yet the governor said Obama — despite staying on the East Coast — has been extremely helpful over the past week. He issued federal disaster declarations in a matter of hours, which will provide more federal funding in the long run. He also personally called the governor to talk about the situation.

“I have been in contact with the White House just about every day, with Valerie Jarrett and others,” Edwards said, mentioning one of Obama’s top staff members.

At the afternoon press conference, Edwards also talked up the fact that two high-profile members of the Obama administration, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s administrator Craig Fugate, have been on the ground in Louisiana this week touring areas devastated by the flood.

U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, complimented Johnson’s visit to Louisiana as well. “It sends the message that the federal government has our back,” Richmond said at the press conference.

Johnson was in Louisiana all day Thursday and standing by Edwards’ side ready to answer questions at the press conference. He said he was going to update Obama on the situation “very soon” after the media appearance.

“Well of course the president can’t be everywhere” Johnson told the media. “I can tell you the president has been closely monitoring the situation.”

According to Johnson, 950 FEMA workers are already on the ground in Louisiana. The U.S. Coast Guard arrived just hours after the severe rainstorm hit.

“He is very much on top of it,” Johnson said of Obama. “I know he has a very busy schedule this fall and in the coming days.”

“When you are the chief executive of the U.S. government, you can’t be everywhere, including places you would like to be,” he said.

Governor Edwards’ comments about how a Presidential visit would likely be disruptive to immediate rescue and recovery efforts was repeated this morning by the state’s Republican Lt. Governor, Billy Nungesser, who has his own experiences in dealing with natural disaster after serving as a Parish President during the BP Oil Spill back in 2010.

This is an area where Presidents seem to always face criticism any time a natural disaster or some other tragedy that hits on a national level occurs. Unfortunately, it has apparently come to be expected that each time one of these events occurs a Presidential visit is required even though such visits often require the diversion of law enforcement and other resources that could otherwise be used to assist in search and rescue and recovery operations. Indeed, it’s hard to see exactly what it is is that a President, any President, can do during one of these visits that actually accomplishes anything useful. As it stands, the President responded essentially immediately on Sunday when he issued the Federal Disaster Area declaration for the impacted areas of the state on Sunday almost immediately after Governor Edwards requested that he do so. Since then the heads of FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security have been on the ground, as have the assets the Federal Government can bring to help respond to a disaster of this type. It strikes me that this is far more important than whether the President visits for a few hours to look at some damage and hug a few people.

Many on the right, of course, are arguing that there is some sort of contrast between the way Obama is being treated for staying on vacation and the way President Bush was treated eleven years ago in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina striking the Gulf Coast. Even if one were to concede that Bush received more criticism for staying on vacation back then than Obama is receiving now, it really strikes me as rather irrelevant. Just as there’s very little that President Obama can do by visiting Baton Rouge now other than potentially divert needed resources from disaster relief, there was little that President Bush could have done personally back then. The problem that the Bush Administration faced eleven years ago, though, wasn’t just whether or not the President visited the area but also the fact that there was a widespread belief that FEMA’s initial response to Katrina was incompetent and not properly planned for, especially to the extent that it failed to move assets into the potential disaster zone prior to the storm hitting the area, thus delaying the arrival of much-needed aid by several days at least. In any case, though, whether or not Bush was criticized fairly or unfairly eleven years ago strikes me as irrelevant to whether it’s fair to criticize Obama today.

While I understand the bad optics of a President playing golf while one of Louisiana’s largest cities deals with an historic flood, it strikes me that the criticism is unwarranted. If the White House had failed to respond to requests for aid, or if FEMA and DHS were not properly responding to the unfolding disaster, then criticism would be warranted and since Obama is the President he should be fairly criticized if his Administration was not properly responding. That’s not the criticism, though. Instead, Obama is being criticized for not being on the ground to…….. well that’s just the point. Nobody who talks about things like this seems to be able to articulate exactly what it is that a President can accomplish with a personal visit, and given that it seems to me that this is really just mindless partisanship at its worst.

Update: Shortly after I posted this, it was announced that the President would be visiting the impacted area on Tuesday:

President Barack Obama is planning to visit Baton Rouge Tuesday (Aug. 23) to get a first-hand look at the catastrophic flooding across a large part of Louisiana.

“The President today directed his team to coordinate with Louisiana officials to determine an appropriate time for him to visit, and together they have determined that the President will visit Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Tuesday, August 23rd,” the White House said in a statement Friday. “Additional details will be announced in the coming days.  The President is mindful of the impact that his travel has on first responders and wants to ensure that his presence does not interfere with ongoing recovery efforts.”

Obama’s visit comes as thousands of Louisianians dig out after heavy rains and surging rivers inundated great swaths of 20 parishes in the central part of the state. The president declared a federal disaster for what many officials are describing as an unprecedented flood.

The storms that have ravaged the area are expected to have passed well before Tuesday, so this seems like a good compromise assuming such a visit is even necessary.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Natural Disasters, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. barbintheboonies says:

    What could he possibly do there without getting in the way and causing more problems. These people need help from the community and to take what resources they have and follow a president around would be ridiculous. It seems he is damned if he does and damned if he doesn`t Be patient all you Obama haters he will be out soon enough. Mike Huckabee knows this too he just has to open his rotten pie hole to jab at Obama as much as possible before he leaves as do the rest of his friends.

  2. grumpy realist says:

    I do wonder why President Obama didn’t come out with a short speech, however. That would have been “presidental”, not required a trip down to LA, and would have shut up the Rod Drehers of the world.

    (Rod’s sounding like a cranky SJW over at TAC because President Obama hasn’t been “Presidential” enough. Of course, if President Obama had said something, I’m sure he would have been accused of “politicizing the situation”, if not by Rod, then by many of his readers. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t. )

  3. Jen says:

    People just like to complain. I understand the optics argument, but really, the idea that the President can do anything but be a distraction in a situation like this is irritating.

  4. JKB says:

    Seems the Presidential visit has been the norm since Hoover enhanced his reputation and created the expectation of federal intervention directing flood relief efforts as Sec. of Commerce in the Great Flood of 1927. It is considered to have been of great help to his election to the Presidency the next year.

    Incidentally, the treatment of African-Americans in the refugee camps led to broken promises by Hoover for better treatment which sparked the movement of African-Americans away from the Republican party starting in the 1932 election.

    So we can see, appropriate or not, Presidential response to disasters can shift politics. This may be why there was the drive to damage Bush over Katrina, even though the major failure of the federal government in Katrina was the career bureaucrats and their reluctance to cancel their Labor Day vacations of 2005. By Wednesday morning, 2 days after the disaster struck, DC phones were going unanswered and few decision makers were still in town. Bush visited visited either Thursday or Friday, even before the National Guard had penetrated the hardest hit areas of western Mississippi, but little changed until Tuesday when bureaucrats returned from holiday. Bright and early Tuesday morning all the DC crowd were rushing to “do something” and started interfering with the work those on scene had accomplished while the DC crowd were vacationing.

    What strikes me as odd as no recent President seems to set up a public display of briefings and knowledge of the unfolding disaster. Surely even on vacay, they are getting briefings but they should be constantly talking to the press about it to show awareness and concern. Then, the “I’ll wait to visit until my entourage not interfere with response and recover efforts” would work. But silence is terrible leadership. But that seems to be a bipartisan way of dealing with these things.

  5. C. Clavin says:

    “It is a major ordeal, they free up the interstate for him,” Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Thursday. “We have to take hundreds of local first responders, police officers, sheriffs, deputies and state troopers to provide security for that type of visit.”

    “I would just as soon have those people engaged in the response rather than trying to secure the president,” Bel Edwards continued. “So I’d ask him to wait, if he would, another couple weeks.”

    But I’m sure Mike “pray away the gay” Huckabee and JKB know better than Governor Edwards.

  6. JKB says:

    @C. Clavin:

    In the meantime, what does the President’s minions do? Insult the people of Louisiana.

    President Obama has refused so far to survey the Louisiana flood disaster, but he did let state and local officials know that he’s watching to make sure they don’t engage in racial discrimination.

    In a 16-page guidance issued Tuesday, the Obama administration, led by the Justice Department, warned Louisiana recipients of federal disaster assistance against engaging in “unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin (including limited English proficiency).”

    Note to Washington, DC, it’s not 1927 anymore. Even Democrats in the South are better these days.

  7. DrDaveT says:

    How about if the President notes what it would actually cost the taxpayers to fly him and his mandatory entourage to Louisiana to interfere observe, and then instead writes a check for that amount to be added to a specific relief account?

  8. Andrew says:

    Squirrel!!

  9. JKB says:

    Of course, the question is, do Obama’s words matter?

  10. al-Ameda says:

    Maybe House Republicans should investigate this?

  11. JR says:

    Meh…whatever. This is just petty partisanship.

  12. john430 says:

    Leftists quickly choose to forget the Bush-bashing that they employed during Bush’s dealings with Katrina. But then again, leftists are phony hypocrites.

  13. Paul L. says:

    @JKB:

    about a president who only saw the people from the window of an airplane.

    Que Media Matters talking points. Out of Context. Old News.

  14. Paul L. says:
  15. Gustopher says:

    This is why I don’t take Republicans seriously any more.

    The Governor doesn’t want to deal with the hassle now, the people need the first responders to be available, and the Republican Fever Swamp thinks it’s a scandal.

    Are there people on the ground, doing their jobs helping people? Yup. Are they screwing up left and right? Nope. Then the president is applying the appropriate level of oversight.

    I hope Huckabee’s house burns down or something. I’m tired of these idiots.

  16. Loviatar says:

    Who else has noticed that since Doug has put out his at least once-a-day obligatory squirrel bait all the right wing nutjobs have come out the woodwork to comment.

    So far we’ve had JKB, john430, Paul L. all comment multiple times, if Jenos, bill and Guarneri don’t comment by 8:00pm EST someone please check on them. I’d fear for their health if they didn’t comment on something this squirrel baity.

  17. Gustopher says:

    If you’re competent, and you’ve set up competent people to do their jobs well, when an emergency happens you can step out of the way and let them handle it.

    Republicans don’t seem to get the competent thing.

  18. Guarneri says:

    Ah, yes. The blatant hypocrisy and dishonesty when it’s not Obama or Clinton criticizing Bush. Of course, their hasn’t been a shred of honesty from the left here for years. A wasteland of Dem politician butt licking.

  19. DrDaveT says:

    @john430:

    Leftists quickly choose to forget the Bush-bashing that they employed during Bush’s dealings with Katrina.

    On the contrary — some of us remember exactly what we were (and were not) bashing Bush for, and that it had nothing to do with refusing to inflict his august presence on the scene. It had a lot more to do with being totally freaking clueless about what he was seeing and what FEMA was doing. “Great job, Brownie!”. Right.

  20. Senyordave says:

    @Gustopher: Republicans don’t seem to get the competent thing.

    When you’ve run against the government since the days of Reagan its hard to attempt to have a competent government.

    I wish just once a sane Republican would say “Stop. This is nonsense.” But most sane Republicans have been voted out of office.

  21. Barry says:

    Doug, would you please post this link? It links to place to donate aid to Louisiana:

    https://www.balloon-juice.com/2016/08/17/louisiana-flooding-and-donation-information-repost-and-update/

  22. al-Alameda says:

    @Paul L.:

    Like this?
    Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina

    If you prefer that we convene a bipartisan committee to investigate exactly why the president has not yet visited Louisiana during this flooding, then by all means, go for it. Also, perhaps we’ll find his original birth certificate too, right?

  23. Senyordave says:

    @john430: Leftists quickly choose to forget the Bush-bashing that they employed during Bush’s dealings with Katrina. But then again, leftists are phony hypocrites.

    No, this is why they bashed Bush – it was giving a job like FEMA director to a completely unqualified person as shown below. He was a buddy of the former FEMA director, for God sakes. And people died because of this putz!

    The embattled FEMA director does not mention in his official online biography that he was commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association for nine years. Association officials tell NBC News that Brown resigned under pressure from that job, before joining FEMA.
    “People wondered how he got to FEMA as we all did, and certainly what he did with the Arabian Horse Association was nothing what he does with FEMA,” Arabian Horse Association Regional Director Chuck Mangan.
    Brown was brought into FEMA by his college roommate, Joe Allbaugh, President Bush’s first campaign manager and FEMA director. At the time, Brown’s only prior experience in emergency services was in a suburb of Oklahoma City in the mid-1970s. He became FEMA director when Allbaugh left in 2003.

  24. al-Alameda says:

    @Guarneri:

    Ah, yes. The blatant hypocrisy and dishonesty when it’s not Obama or Clinton criticizing Bush. Of course, their hasn’t been a shred of honesty from the left here for years. A wasteland of Dem politician butt licking.

    I agree. Obama appointed a guy to head up FEMA’s disaster response whose only apparent skill is raising Arabian horses, as a result, many have died in this round of flooding because of Obama. Oh wait … never mind.

    The Right here is definitely not results oriented, they’re talking point oriented.

  25. grumpy realist says:

    @Guarneri: Take a look at who Bush appointed to head FEMA and who Obama appointed to head FEMA and then get back to me on the topic of competence.

    Anyone who had REALLY run a successful company would actually understand that.

  26. Bob@Youngstown says:

    I have actual experience with a Presidential visit during a emergency like this. I was “on the ground” in New Orleans working as a medical team after Katrina. Our work, and the work of local law enforcement and guard troops was completely disrupted by the Bush visit.

    The impact of that PR trip (for optics sake) lasted for 2-3 days wherein we were redirected and redeployed away from search and recovery to security for POTUS. So 2 to 3 days of disruption for a visit that lasted only a few hours. And keep in mind that this was during a period that NO was effectively under marshal law.

    Obama is doing the right thing at the right time here. And the LA Governor is wise to ask Obama (as he did) to tour the area 10-14 days hence.

    Trump’s insistence that Obama should tour right now only displays yet another example of ignorance of what a POTUS ought be doing and when it should be done.

  27. Loviatar says:

    I see Guarneri has checked in. Has anyone heard from Jenos or bill, I’m really becoming worried. Somebody reach out to each of their moms and tell them to check their basements. Also, ask them if they’ve come up for Cheetos at least once today, they tend to get light headed if they only drink Mountain Dew without eating.

  28. Sleeping Dog says:

    After visiting Baton Rouge, perhaps Obama can stop in Kansas and commiserate with those good citizens about the success of the Brownbeck jobs creation program. http://www.kansascity.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/yael-t-abouhalkah/article96635857.html

  29. Barry says:

    @JKB: “Note to Washington, DC, it’s not 1927 anymore. Even Democrats in the South are better these days.”

    Ah, Shelby County

  30. Slugger says:

    About one week after the big O became Prez he was heavily criticized for putting mustard on a hamburger and moving a bust of Churchill. This led me to suspect that some of his critics were not really interested in good governance but just trying to score partisan points. There are many legitimate reasons to criticize Obama for instance the worthless war in Syria, but these real problems get drowned in the flood of ridiculous chaff that gets thrown up. At this point, this criticism ranks with complaints about Michelle thinking that children should eat their vegetables. Too much b.s. obscures real matters.
    Oh, and if I were running the GOP I would tell Huckabee to shut up. The party must dimiss the acolytes of perpetual anger about everything if it wants a real place on the stage.

  31. Paul L. says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Anyone who had REALLY run a successful company would actually understand that.

    Like DNC hack Katherine Archuleta for the director of OPM

  32. Paul L. says:

    @Bob@Youngstown:

    working as a medical team after Katrina… we were redirected and redeployed So away from search and recovery to security for POTUS.

    Damn Bush so STUPID he uses using medical teams for security.

  33. Grumpy Realist says:

    @Paul L.: what’s OPM? Other People’s Media?

  34. steve says:

    Was part of a medical team that responded after Hurricane Andrew. We all thought there should be a Constitutional Amendment forbidding out of state politicians visiting disaster sites.

    Steve

  35. SeaBea says:

    @grumpy realist:

    I’m chillin’ in that glorious shade, thrown at the resident business expert. Most excellent.

  36. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @steve: perfectly put
    @Paul L.: you missed the point, ALL rescue and recovery efforts were suspended while POTUS was in area. Steve understands exactly

  37. Modulo Myself says:

    I know people who do disaster relief as a living. And they all are very happy to describe as useless or worse the instant heroic type, filled with sentiment, demanding immediate recognition, who goes on and on about the how everyone is coming together and points fingers and attacks those who are not in their exact mental state.

    This is why after Hurricane Sandy everyone came together and helped, but four years later, nobody gives a damn about how many homes are left to be rebuilt. It’s human nature. Bad stuff happens and then the quotidian slips in again.

    And people who are genuinely upset that Obama has not arrived are simply demented. There’s no other word for it.

  38. WarrenPeese says:

    Had Obama not politicized Katrina, this wouldn’t have been an issue, but he did.

  39. JohnMcC says:

    When will the outrage over Pres Obama’s callous ignoring of the California wildfires explode? And there’s bound to be some red tide somewhere that calls for a Presidential visit. And our friend Mr/Ms Guano might get a painful splinter…

  40. DrDaveT says:

    @WarrenPeese:

    Had Obama not politicized Katrina, this wouldn’t have been an issue, but he did.

    Wow. I thought I had seen some stupid comments on this site before, but you have completely redefined the standard. Kudos.

  41. JKB says:

    @Bob@Youngstown:

    Well, the fact of the matter is Bush tried to be logical and stay out of the disaster area during rescue operations, but the MSM and Democrats simply took advantage of that to lie about what was happening. Of course, they had to cover for the feckless Democrat mayor of New Orleans that abandoned people lest they ride a school bus and the ineffectual Democrat governor who failed to marshal state resources. Unlike in Mississippi where the storm did actual damage as opposed to dikes with a century of political corruption built into them failed.

    If a President wishes to avoid disrupting the rescue efforts, they should at least talk about the disaster constantly to demonstrate they are up on what is happening. Talk so much, so often that there is no room for political attack from the media or the opposition.

  42. Barry says:

    @JKB: “Well, the fact of the matter is Bush tried to be logical and stay out of the disaster area during rescue operations, but the MSM and Democrats simply took advantage of that to lie about what was happening.”

    ‘Heckuva job, Brownie’

  43. grumpy realist says:

    @Modulo Myself: Based on the discussion over at TAC, I think it’s a cultural thing. New Englanders much prefer competence to wringing of hands and emotion. Anyone who told them that “I will pray to God for you!” would be treated with thanks and the thought “it would be far more useful were you to pick up a hammer and start working to help us rebuild, instead.”

    People in certain parts of the South plan to “fix everything themselves”, so they want “I feel your pain” politicians and wringing-of-the-hands and “I will pray for you”

    I’m a New Englander, so I think the latter is a dead waste of time.

  44. Facebones says:

    @WarrenPeese:

    Had Obama not politicized Katrina, this wouldn’t have been an issue, but he did.

    Was that before or after he invaded Afghanistan?

  45. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @JKB:

    Well, the fact of the matter is Bush tried to be logical and stay out of the disaster area during rescue operations….

    Tell you what, I’ll let you have your armchair analysis from afar, I was there, doing the work for weeks, so I know what a disruptive influence the presidential visit was. If you had experienced it you would probably agree.

  46. Jenos Idanian says:

    Here’s what the people of Louisiana can remember about this disaster:

    1) Trump and Pence showed up.

    2) Hillary partied and fund-raised with the super-rich, then offered her sympathies via Twitter and Facebook.

    3) Obama kept golfing and partying and fund-raising, but took the time out to tell them he’d be watching to make sure they didn’t get all racist in their rescue and clean-up efforts.

    And even though it’s been already posted once, here it is explicitly: here’s Obama ripping Bush for not going to New Orleans after Katrina.

    I’m expecting a fund-raising concert for these flood victims, and a white country star to say that “Obama doesn’t care about white people.” ‘Cuz, you know, karma and payback.

  47. stonetools says:

    Obama did respond: by rebuilding FEMA into a highly capable organization that responded quickly and effectively to the several national disasters that occurred on Obama’s watch. Indeed, FEMA has been so good that you hear nothing but praise from the disaster victims and the first responders about FEMA’s work, despite the fact that the press are on the lookout for FEMA “horror stories”.
    That, folks, is what being a good President is about; not showing up on the scene for a photo op. Looks like the resident right wing trolls either don’t understand that, or don’t want to understand that. Of course, it must gall them that GWB and “Brownie ” were so hopelessly incompetent when put on the test.

  48. Jenos Idanian says:

    @stonetools: You’ve apparently missed it twice, so here’s a third helping, just for you: Senator Obama disagrees with you.

  49. Barry Hussein Soetoro says:

    @barbintheboonies: @DrDaveT: Yeah, you take the cake for stupid comments. Can’t admit the truth, huh? Must make you weep reading the fact that Barry Soetoro did in fact politicize Katrina and now he is out on the golf course, on his upteenth vacation.

  50. Barry Hussein Soetoro says:

    @Bob@Youngstown: Sure you did, Bob. Sure you did. I was on the ground too. Totally disagree with you. End of story.

  51. stonetools says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I’ve now seen it. The very first thing Obama mentioned was an effective FEMA. Visiting the scene was 2.
    Obama nailed the effective FEMA. No one seems to doubt that. He’ll follow with a visit at the appropriate time.

    Hey, thanks for the links.

  52. rachel says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Here’s what the people of Louisiana can remember about this disaster:1) Trump and Pence showed up.

    And handed out Play-Doh.

  53. Jenos Idanian says:

    @rachel: While Obama flipped them the birdie before hitting the back nine.

    And in case you missed it, Joe Biden talked about how dangerous it would be for Trump to have access to the nuclear football… and then pointed to the guy who was carrying it for him.

    He also managed to insult Japan on the topic of nuclear weapons.

  54. rachel says:

    @Jenos Idanian: @rachel:

    While Obama flipped them the birdie before hitting the back nine.

    I, too, remember how W’s worst action before and during Katrina wasn’t that he did zip to prepare for a disaster that had been forecast for years. It wasn’t that he appointed incompetent, unqualified cronies to deal with the disaster when it came and then gave them less than minimal backup. It wasn’t even that he didn’t take any action to ameliorate the problems resulting from the first two until after even the meanest intellect could see what a massive CF his administration’s response was. Nope. W’s sin was only that he went on vacation.

  55. Jenos Idanian says:

    @rachel: Keep on blaming Bush and FEMA over Katrina. It’s your best tactic to get people to forget how the people charged with being the first responders — Democratic mayor (and current prison inmate) Ray Nagin and Democratic governor Kathleen Blanco — totally failed in every way possible.

    FEMA was NEVER supposed to be the “first responders,” that was up to local and state authorities. And both failed miserably — Nagin had parking lots full of school buses that could have been used to evacuate people, but let them sit there and get flooded, and Blanco dithered and dawdled before FINALLY ceding authority to the feds to get involved in efforts.

    The only hope the Democrats had for getting people to not string up Nagin and Blanco was to focus all the heat on Bush and FEMA, and they went at that gangbusters. And it worked.

  56. rachel says:

    @Jenos Idanian:
    You might have noticed that I didn’t blame W for anything that was outside his purview, but then you wouldn’t be who you are. IOW, shorter Jenos: Squirrel!

  57. Jenos Idanian says:

    @rachel: Thanks for acknowledging that when you trust incompetent Democrats to do their job, you can count on them screwing up and expecting a Republican to come in and clean up their mess. But in that case, that didn’t happen, so you can pretend the incompetent and corrupt Democrats didn’t exist.

    Similarly in this case, the big rescues were carried out by private citizens acting without the “benefit” of the government to run everything.

    I’m sure that the Justice Department will come in after the waters recede, however, to make certain that the rescues were carried out in a manner that was balanced in regards to race, sex, creed, sexual orientation, national origin, and any other factors. And for future efforts, each rescue boat will be issued a checklist of how many people of each group they must help to avoid the appearance of discrimination.

  58. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Barry Hussein Soetoro:

    Sure you did, Bob. Sure you did. I was on the ground too.

    Where were you deployed? I was at the Walmart (looted) with the NOPD at 1901 Tchoupitoulas St, sleeping in abandoned and commandeered cars in the parking lot.

  59. Bob@Youngstown says:
  60. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Bob@Youngstown: Oh, go fornicate yourself. Repeatedly.

    @rachel: The small-l libertarian in me agrees with the majority here: in many — if not most — cases, we’re all better off if the government does nothing to “help” us, and the nation is truly safest when Obama’s out on the golf course and not in the Oval Office. Personally, I’d be thrilled if he spent the rest of his presidency on the links, where he can’t do any more harm.

    No, let me modify that. If he spent the rest of his presidency on the links, and did nothing but take care of his Trans Am.

  61. David M says:

    The trolls comments make a lot more sense if you remember that they place no value on a competently run government agency like FEMA. Or they flat out won’t acknowledge such a thing could ever exist.

    So when sane people point out that the FEMA response to the flooding has been effective, they choose to not join that conversation, and try to change to conversation to squirrels and dragons. It’s equal parts disturbing and pathetic.

  62. David M says:

    This seems like a good time to remind anyone who actually interested in the issues, that the GOP has and will trash FEMA, and the Democrats are the competent adults.

    http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2012/10/fema-case-study-difference-between-democrats-and-republicans

  63. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    @Bob@Youngstown: Oh, go fornicate yourself. Repeatedly.

    Ah, Appears that I’ve touched a nerve.
    Resorting to personal obscenities seems to be a final refuge for the ______ (fill in the blank).

  64. john430 says:

    @DrDaveT: What was Obama seeing? The next sand trap on the golf course? You phony.

  65. john430 says:

    @Senyordave: Yes, I agree “Brownie” was beyond his capacity. But, OTOH-so was Hillary as Sec. of State. And…it goes without saying that the Presidency is waaaay beyond her competence.

  66. Eric Florack says:

    Look I will entertain arguments in both directions about whether or not it is useful for a sitting president to visit storm-damaged areas.

    It seems to me though that the real argument here is a double standard being applied. The same press and the same left ( but I repeat myself) which walked all over bushes response with cleats on, and complained about a lack of federal response to the area as well as Bush’s non-appearance down there, until several days later has ultimately held its silence at the total lack of federal response and the total lack of response from Obama until now.

    The real argument here is the double standard being applied. And I suspect that The Usual Suspects know that very well

  67. Eric Florack says:

    And by the way, did anyone notice?

    http://linkis.com/thehill.com/blogs/bl/c1tmN

  68. Mikey says:

    @Eric Florack: And the same people who defended Bush’s delay in visiting are condemning Obama for doing likewise. The double standard goes both ways.

    Also, your assertion of a “total lack of federal response” is demonstrably false. Both the FEMA director (who, unlike “Brownie,” was an actual disaster response specialist prior to FEMA) and the Secretary of Homeland Security have been in Louisiana, and President Obama quickly issued a disaster declaration to enable federal resources and assistance to the state.

  69. Matt says:

    @Eric Florack: In what world do you live in that there has been a “total lack of federal response”? I’m genuinely curious who is feeding your delusions because if you really believe that statement then you’ve lost complete touch with reality.

  70. Eric Florack says:

    Some people that I know and have been contacting daily who live in the area. Personal experiences usually the most relevant in cases like these.
    And what do you suppose the people down there are thinking when they see instead of a response being directed by the president of the United States that self same president squeezing in another round of golf?

    Look, there’s no doubt in my mind that some of the attacks on Obama on the matter are purely political. But I wonder how many of those defending Obama on the matter these days are going to admit that a goodly number of the attacks on Bush as regards Katrina are and were purely political?

    At least Bush wasn’t on yet another vacation that he swore he wouldn’t take playing another round of golf

    And if you want another indication of the double standard being applied between these two situations, take a very close look the lack of wall-to-wall 24-hour a day 7 days a week coverage of the current situation versus the coverage of Katrina that we endured. No matter how you slice it there’s a huge Delta in the coverage between the two situations. And I wonder why that would be?

    No, strike that, I don’t wonder at all

  71. Eric Florack says: