I can't bring myself to view Bush's "taking responsibility" for some of the post-Katrina failures as anything but a PR maneuver. Sure, given his personal pathology, this was a hard move to make, but I still can't allow him very much credit for it. Lambert called Bush's first attempt to take responsibility on Tuesday "the incredible triple weasel" based on the number of qualifications Bush applied. Last night he managed to make a less ambiguous statement, "When the federal government fails to meet such an obligation, I as president am responsible for the problem, and for the solution." But this followed the statement that "It was not a normal hurricane, and the normal disaster relief system was not equal to it," so he's still qualifying. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop and I hope no one thought that Bush "taking responsibility" meant that his team would give up on finding someone else to blame.
This (discovered by Kos) sounds to me like a shoe:
JACKSON, Miss. - The federal government is trying to find evidence of any past efforts by environmental groups to block work on New Orleans' levees, according to a published report.
The Clarion-Ledger said Friday it obtained an internal Justice Department e-mail sent out this week to U.S. attorneys that asks: "Has your district defended any cases on behalf of the (U.S.) Army Corps of Engineers against claims brought by environmental groups seeking to block or otherwise impede the Corps work on the levees protecting New Orleans? If so, please describe the case and the outcome of the litigation."
Shown a copy of the email, David Bookbinder, senior attorney for Sierra Club, said: "Why are they (Bush administration officials) trying to smear us like this?"
The Sierra Club and other environmental groups had nothing to do with the flooding that resulted from Hurricane Katrina that killed hundreds, he said.
"It's unfortunate that the Bush administration is trying to shift the blame to environmental groups," he said. "It doesn't surprise me at all."
Though the Justice Department says this is nothing more than research in response to a routine request for information from Congress, it has all of the hallmarks of a Rove job: using a national tragedy as an opportunity to bash political opponents and advance the agenda. This doesn't mean that Rove himself or the White House is directly behind this operation. It doesn't have to be; the entire Republican Party is now well-schooled in the methods of Rove and capable of thinking of dirty tricks like this all on their own. If it's not Rove, my votes go to DeLay or Inhofe first.
We live in a cynical world. My cynicism consists of thinking they are cynical to try something this low. These days, is there really such a thing as being "too cynical?"