Tuesday, September 13, 2005

"Blame Game," NO! "Responsibility Game," SI! 

As commander-in-chief, I'm responsible. But I'm not to blame. Let me explain the difference: people who are to blame lose their jobs. People who are responsible do not.

-- Comedian David Frye, at the height of the Watergate scandal,
doing his impression of President Richard M. Nixon

As he spoke, his sphincter was clenched so tightly he could have shit a diamond:
President Bush said Tuesday that "I take responsibility" for failures in dealing with Hurricane Katrina and said the disaster raised broader questions about the government's ability to respond to natural disasters as well as terror attacks.

"Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government," Bush said at joint White House news conference with the president of Iraq.

"To the extent the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility," Bush said.

The president was asked whether people should be worried about the government's ability to handle another terrorist attack given failures in responding to Katrina.

"Are we capable of dealing with a severe attack? That's a very important question and it's in the national interest that we find out what went on so we can better respond," Bush replied.

He said he wanted to know both what went wrong and what went right.

As for blunders in the federal response, "I'm not going to defend the process going in," Bush said. "I am going to defend the people saving lives."
If, some day in the future, Mr. Bush should be asked to name a mistake he made during his second term, he won't be stumped for an answer (as he was during the most notoriously awkward moment of the 2004 presidential debates). He can simply say: Mistake? Yeah. Never shoulda took responsibility for that dang flood mess down in New Orleans.

(For a good time, visit our cherished colleague Shaula Evans, who caught the CNN webmasters having some fun with URL's.)

UPDATE (courtesy of Zemblan patriot B.K.): In the mood for a sick joke? September was "National Disaster Preparedness Month."

UPDATE II: What kind of poll numbers would it take to make the Bush administration abandon its announced policy of mendacity and blame-shifiting? Try this on for size: "70% believe there should be an independent investigation into the problems with the government's response; only 29% disagree."

And just by the way -- the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, at the request of Rep. John Conyers, has already reviewed the steps Gov. Blanco took to secure federal assistance. You may read about their findings here.
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