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Submitted by Kevin Wuzzardo on Thu, 05/27/2010 - 6:13am.
Long before he upstaged a stunned Taylor Swift, Kanye West left the unflappable Mike Myers with nothing but words on a TelePrompTer as an awkward safety net. It happened nearly five years ago during a telethon to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina aired live on all the major TV networks. West uttered those five infamous words: "George Bush hates black people."
While few believed the President of the United States actually hated an entire race of people, West's words showed a growing national frustration, especially from African-Americans, with the way the Bush administration handled the Katrina disaster, and probably rightfully so. Thousands of people were left stranded far too long in a flooded New Orleans because of the failings of the federal, state and local governments. Yet here we are nearly five years later with another disaster bearing down on the Gulf Coast for seven weeks, and only now are we starting to see and hear an outcry of indignation. Why did it take so long?
First of all, let me say that no one can really defend the botched Katrina response. While the rescue of New Orleans was undoubtedly going to take longer than the victims hoped, all levels of government were woefully prepared for what happened and to respond, just like it is now to the BP oil spill.
Certainly Katrina and the oil spill are much different disasters, but given the reaction to the Bush administration after Katrina, why has the Obama administration largely been given a pass on the spill? Think about it. It really wasn't until political guru and Louisiana native James Carville on Good Morning America yesterday exploded at President Obama for a lack of response. It seems to have made a difference. The President today will hold a press conference in Washington a day ahead of his second trip to the Gulf Coast, where he surely won't make a Bush-esque blunder and say, "BP, you're doing a heckuva job!"
But where has the President been? We've heard from his staff that behind closed doors he has been angry about the spill and recently said, "Plug the damn leak," or something to that effect. But after failed attempts to stop the leak and too little done to keep it from reaching shore, where are the environmentalists lining up to lash out at this president for not being out in front of this disaster? Where are the Democrats lining up to batter "Big Oil" and the Republicans who back it?
What we're seeing is another example of the political double standard. George W. Bush was an easy target. He could do no right it seemed. But if Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton were considered Teflon presidents, to whom nothing bad seemed to stick, what does that make Barack Obama?
Look, I'm not saying any of this is the President's fault. In fact, I think it's stupid when people blame a President for something like this. But President Obama has dropped the ball in being a leader in resolving this situation. I will be interested to see what he says today and especially tomorrow when he travels to the Gulf. It's time for somebody to step up and take charge. Will it be our President?
By: Kevin Wuzzardo