Saturday, September 17, 2005

Bush announces he takes responsibility for the foul-ups in New Orleans and that becomes news. I just can't see how. The statement, "I am responsible," which is not at all what he said anyway, does not constitute a policy shift or a new approach. It is his acknowledging what our pundits have been saying non-stop for the last several weeks. It is a statement of the obvious. Only in a political arena where the truth is constantly distorted and spun can it become news.

Bush's statement, which if you read it closely was actually conditional -- if there were mistakes, then I am responsible for them -- is a political maneuver that should have been relegated to the inside A sections of the paper. It's his attempt to get ahead of the news cycle -- acknowledge mistakes, move on. As new information comes up showing just what a colossal fuck-up New Orleans was, he can keep saying, well, I already acknowledged I'm responsible, what's the news here? Paradoxically, the statement, I am to blame, gives him immunity from blame.

He will deliver a speech tomorrow (Thursday) night and the pundits will dutifully analyze it. They will call it "moving" or "appropriate' or another example of him rising to the occasion. Even if they disparage it as too little too late, they are still doing Bush's bidding -- importing significance to a speech that we can be sure will be full of vacuous statements and meaningless promises of commitment. There is no there there, and anyone with half a brain has known that from the day Bush entered office. It is only our well-educated media elite which has ever thought otherwise.

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