The clueless mayor of New Orleans, who initially hesitated over federal requests to evacuate the entire city, was reduced to expletive-filled rants as hundreds of empty public buses sat idle. The teary governor of Louisiana whined mostly about the federal government. Meanwhile Sen. Mary Landrieu railed at the president: “I might likely have to punch him — literally.” [Hansen, Washington Times 05sp10]
From Senator Kennedy who responded that the blame game was not a game to Colmes who couldn’t or wouldn’t make a difference between baseless accusation and allegation, a.k.a. finger pointing, and direct observation of events, there is a dishonest obfuscation being used to ameliorate and excuse culpability.
One of the first clues that something was off base was when the local and state leaders started blaming all of their problems on a favorite target while they were still in the start of the crisis. Cussing and swearing at the hand you want to feed you is not usually considered a good tactic for success. It is also a diversion from the immediate and most pressing need for your attention.
A second clue was in the choice of targets. This was the straw man creation: The President, of course, and his minions. The assault on the FEMA director became especially vicious.
A third clue was the hysteria, lack of referent, and generalizations. Massive failures! Tens of thousands of dead! Fire the FEMA director!
Fourth was in the raising of the canards. Race baiters came out of the woodwork. Funding policies developed over decades became a first response failure.
Finger pointing and the blame game are knee jerk efforts to relieve one’s immediate pain or to avoid culpability and responsibility. The goal is to find another victim – someone who can be sacrificed to make your pain ease.
Observing that the Red Cross and the Salvation Army were not permitted to assist those in the Superdome early in the disaster, that the state and local emergency response plans were not followed, that the federal authorities were held up by delays in state permissions – these are events that happened. They are not finger pointing because they describe events and are not casting judgments such as assigning fault and labeling error.
Pelosi considered the President oblivious because he didn’t accept her idea that the federal government had made many obvious errors and mistakes. The problem is that Pelosi could not detail these errors and mistakes, either. Yes you can find things that did not go as intended but it becoming quite clear that these were anomolies. A Pelosi point of view is insulting to the federal government in that it fails to recognize a near record rapid response despite horrendous barriers. It fails to recognize the courage, committment, and success of the federal effort accomplished by beauracrats, soldiers, national guard, and the many others working together to relieve the suffering of the victims of Katrina.
What Pelosi, Reid, Kennedy and the other finger pointers are doing is perhaps even more destructive to the United States than the hurricane was.