One of the biggest components of the Big Lie that comprises the standard story on the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina was that George Bush did not respond quickly enough and that the suffering of thousands of stranded New Orleans residents was his doing.
In fact, the biggest culprit in a cast of thousands of culprits was Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco, who through the worst of political partisanship delayed authorizing federal troops from entering Louisiana to help control looting, deliver necessary supplies, and evacuate its residents.
It is true that New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin also had a hand in the debacle that unfolded after Katrina had passed. Hours later, after some news outlets were broadcasting that the city had been spared, the levees that surround it suddenly breached.
News reports said that prior to Katrina making landfall, on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2005President Bush spoke with Governor Blanco to encourage her to order a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans. However, neither Nagin nor Blanco did much to implement the city's emergency response plan, even though Blanco issued a statement boasting that all necessary preparations had been taken.
Katrina officially hit Louisiana on August 29, 2005 but federal air crews weren't allowed to begin evacuating New Orleans until Sept. 3. Once they started, the city was empty of refugees in a day.
After nearly a week in which rumors of conditions inside the Super Dome grew wilder and less accurate every hour, Bush even flew Air Force One to Louisiana on Sept. 2, 2005, where he met with Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco at the New Orleans airport. There both Bush and Mayor Nagin urged Blanco to federalize the National Guard.
Blanco insisted on a private conversation with Bush on that issue. Bush talked to Nagin immediately following that private meeting and told Nagin "Mr. Mayor, I offered two options to the governor. I was ready to move. The governor said she needed 24 hours to make a decision."
Governor Blanco subsequently rejected the proposal. President Bush continued to press the offer so Governor Blanco rejected it in writing on September 6.
CNN and Fox News also reported that the Louisiana Homeland Security Department which operated under the orders of Governor Blanco refused to allow the American Red Cross to enter New Orleans.
Now let's jump to this past weekend when Hurricane Gustav was bearing down on New Orleans. Blanco is long gone, having been replaced by Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican whose parents hail from India. (That's code for "brown-skinned" which really takes the race issue of out this discussion, doesn't it?)
Gov. Jindal was all over the city, directing evacuation efforts, ensuring that the emergency preparedness plan was being followed, and taking care of business. Hurricane Gustav didn't reach the Category 5 strength that Katrina did, but Katrina and Gustav were both Category 3 hurricanes when they slammed into Louisiana.
That is about the only comparison between now and 2005. This year, the levees held. This year, the city was evacuated well in advance of the storm. This year the destruction across the Gulf Coast again was widespread, that's what happens when a hurricane hits, but this year there was no "experienced" Democratic governor putting politics ahead of the welfare of the state she was supposed to be serving.
Jindal has done more than just show his mettle in an emergency, however. He has shown how a capable person with the right mindset and a willingness to live up to his oath of office can get the job done, whether it is a routine day or a true, life and death emergency.
By showing how he, as a first-term governor, was able to respond to a national emergency, Jindal has paved the way for Alaska's Gov. Sarah Palin, who according to the Main Stream Media and the usual suspects on the left, doesn't have enough "experience" to be Vice President.
Jindal has shown that it isn't experience in government that matters, it is experience in life and a true devotion to the oath of office. In those areas, Bobby Jindal and Sarah Palin have more than enough of what it takes to do the job, whether it is Governor of a state or Vice President of the United States.
Oh, Nagin is still Mayor of New Orleans but I didn't see much from him this time either. A day or so before the storm hit, he was warning that it was "The Mother of All Storms." Then today he was on the news telling people "Stay out of New Orleans."
OK, Mayor, we're with you on that.
Monday, September 01, 2008