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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

The Bush “Investigation”

As a follow-up to his administration’s not-so-subtle efforts to blame state and local officials in Louisiana for the incompetent response to Hurricane Katrina and the flooding of New Orleans, the President announced today that he would lead an investigation into “what went wrong and why” on the federal end. This astonishing news raises several interesting questions:1) Does this mean Bush is now going to admit his administration did screw things up, contributing to an avoidable loss of life and untold damage to New Orleans and its people? 2) If so, doesn’t it sorta kinda violate the idea of objective investigations for the chief executive of the erring enterprise to head up the probe?3) Is Bush open to the idea that maybe his friend “Brownie,” whom he praised after the worst screw-ups as having done a “heck of a job,” actually did not do a “heck of a job” after all? 4) And how’s about the leadership of the Department of Homeland Security, the organization that employed and directed ol’ Brownie?5) While Bush hunts high and low for incompetents in his administration, will he leave the most likely suspects in charge of the relief and recovery effort in the Gulf Coast? Is ol’ Brownie, dismissed not long ago from his crushing responsibilities as a show horse enforcement official, the indispensable man in the operation? And insofar as Bush himself raised concerns about the implications of the botched recovery for homeland security, does he really want to keep DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff in overall direction of the massive project? This whole thing is incredibly bizarre. The president who has never, ever, in more than four years, admitted a single mistake, and never fired anyone for anything other than the sin of admitting mistakes, is going to investigate his own administration for mistakes that he has yet to admit other than at the highest level of abstraction. Maybe that’s the whole idea: he’ll find someone who admitted a mistake, and blame the mistakes he won’t admit on them. Talking heads will roll.

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