LA: Bush In New Orleans

How could you not get caught up in the warm glow of George Bush’s congratulations? The president of the United States took time out from his busy vacation to come to New Orleans and commend us on our recovery Wednesday at Jackson Barracks.

Though he did expend a few sentences noting how much of our money our government had spent on post-Katrina Gulf Coast recovery, he donned a cloak of humility in saying, “This is not supposed to be self-congratulatory. I am congratulating you.”

Several New Orleanians who exemplify our recovery were specifically mentioned as exemplars. In that way it seemed that Bush is not only in touch with the billions of dollars in government funds that have been expended on recovery, but also with the little people who have benefited from their tax dollars at work.

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But so much was left unsaid.

Sen. Mary Landrieu issued a statement after Bush’s speech that attempted to point out the holes in Bush’s statements.

“The President should also be reminded that in the Emergency Supplemental bill signed into law in June, his administration pressured the House of Representatives to strip $15 million from the restoration of Jackson Barracks — the backdrop for today’s visit,” Landrieu wrote in a statement.

“Also cut due to the White House veto threat was $157.5 million for six New Orleans area hospitals, $50 million for crime prevention, $75 million to help accelerate closure of MRGO and $5 million for a Cameron Parish waste water system,” Landrieu wrote.

You get a warm, fuzzy feeling listening to Bush lecture us on a subject to which we are more intimately acquainted than he. It’s tempting to believe him.

Landrieu’s statement, however, offers us little but the cold, hard embrace of fact. Hers is a less attractive offering. But it’s the one we are forced to live with now that Bush has abandoned us again.


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