That vision thing
Tonight President Bush gave us a glimpse of his vision for New Orleans. Wow. Vision from a Bush male. That's something to give me dry heaves and make me run screaming into traffic in horror.
Without knowing the content of his speech, I can predict what his vision includes. Iraq 2. The reconstruction of New Orleans and the Gulf will look a lot like the reconstruction of Iraq. Bush will throw truck-loads of money at the problem, but willl make no effort to pay for it all. There will be no-bid contracts to well connected companies, at least one of which begins with the letters H-A-L-I-B-U-R-T... There will be a wholesale exemption from federal regulation. There will be widespread experimentation with wingnut economic and social theories. There will be a shameless land-grab by the white and privileged and an attempt to prevent the poor and dark from returning. There will be no financial oversight. Tens of billions of dollars will vanish. The Democrats won't make a peep.
All of this has been predicted by my blogging and punditocratic superiors. Yet there is one element of the destruction/reconstruction that has been ignored. At this point, many tens of thousands of the citizens of New Orleans have been moved out of the state as refugees. A significant number of these will not return. Some will be kept out by land-grabs by the privileged classes. Many will voluntarily choose to stay in their temporary new homes. The electoral effect of this will be to have moved thousands of Democratic voters out of a state where elections are usually very tightly contested. Most of these voters have been moved to very Republican states, where a few thousand Democrats are not enough to swing the elections.
Mother Nature just gave the Republicans a safe margin in one or two congressional seats and probably cost Mary Landriue her re-election chances. Mother Nature just made Louisiana a safe state for the Republicans in the next presidential election. Local power brokers don't need a race reason or a class reason or an economic motive to keep the refugees from returning, they have perfectly good partisan reasons to do so. The rest is just gravy.