In his syndicated Newhouse column, James Lileks writes that we should consider Katrina as a dress rehearsal:
According to the choir of professional carpers, President Clinton spent half his two terms personally drawing up plans for new levees — when he wasn’t sneaking around Afghanistan in camo paint trying to apprehend bin Laden.
By contrast, the Bush Junta sent 100 percent of the National Guard to Iraq, which meant the 12th Airborne Plunger Brigade couldn’t descend to the Superdome with jetpacks and unstop the overflowing toilets. Doesn’t matter that New Orleans had hundreds of school buses unused for evacuation — blame the feds who cut matching funds for bus-driver instruction back in 1927.
This level of incandescent lunacy isn’t new. In the ’90s there were people who believed that Clinton would use Y2K to herd us into FEMA-run gulags to have bar codes tattooed on our necks, but these people confined themselves to rants at 3 a.m. on Art Bell’s radio show. By 2006 their ideological heirs on the left will be the evening lineup of MSNBC guests.
If we learned anything we can take away, it’s this: You’re on your own. At least keep an emergency kit on hand, the sort of thing Tom Ridge proposed, and which made the smart set hardy-har-har because it contained duct tape.
Don’t rely on the government. Four years after Sept. 11, it’s apparent that some local governments are not well-oiled machines when it comes to disasters — more like a box of sand and busted gears. Blame for that can be promiscuously distributed.
Lesson two: The next terrorist attack will not unite us for a warm, hug-filled fortnight. The hard left won’t wait 24 hours before blaming Bush, and the country will enjoy the sight of prominent pundits angrier at the president than at the men who nuked Des Moines.
If an attack should happen during the term of President Hillary Clinton, they’ll still blame Bush — and if she wishes to retain her moderate credentials, she’ll be canny enough to repudiate the lot. They’ll be stunned. They’ll be hurt. After all the free-lance hating they did out of the goodness of their hearts! Where can they turn now?
The guy who took over for Art Bell still takes calls.