After The Flood
The bitter Dr. Krauthammer:
Barack Obama wants to speak at the Brandenburg Gate. He figures it would be a nice backdrop. The supporting cast — a cheering audience and a few fainting frauleins — would be a picturesque way to bolster his foreign policy credentials.
What Obama does not seem to understand is that the Brandenburg Gate is something you earn. President Ronald Reagan earned the right to speak there because his relentless pressure had brought the Soviet empire to its knees and he was demanding its final "tear down this wall" liquidation. When President John F. Kennedy visited the Brandenburg Gate on the day of his "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech, he was representing a country that was prepared to go to the brink of nuclear war to defend West Berlin.
Who is Obama representing? And what exactly has he done in his lifetime to merit appropriating the Brandenburg Gate as a campaign prop?
Actually, as it turns out, sometimes you don’t have to do anything to appropriate the backdrop of accomplishment
The Bush Administration was famously “late” getting around to even acknowledging the city’s destruction. Bush Junior himself avoided the scene for three weeks, preferring to spend his time eating birthday cake with John McCain, in Arizona, telling lies about Iraq and pretending to strum a guitar with some Nashville pop singer, in San Diego, continuing his vacation, at his house in Texas, flying over the flooded city in an airplane, going home to the White House, blaming local officials for the anarchy, from the Rose Garden, and finally flying to the Gulf Coast — but not New Orleans, where it was so dangerous that volunteer rescue crews were dodging bullets fired by crazed flood survivors and looters — for a photo op and to praise the “heckuva job” done by FEMA chief Michael Brown and comfort the hundreds of thousands of people unable to return to their wrecked homes by predicting Trent Lott would build an even bigger beach house in Mississippi.
Then he returned to Washington, where he and his top advisers continued to lie about their response and meddle with all efforts to send help.
Finally, 18 days after Katrina struck, Bush Junior was flown to New Orleans to read a televised statement from Jackson Square, which is of course on high ground and sustained minimal damage but still had to have generators to power the klieg lights (flown in from Washington) as the rest of the city went without electricity. Huge curtains of black military camouflage were hung behind St. Louis Cathedral (lit up like the Disney Castle, on purpose) to hide the wreckage behind it. Bush appeared in just a shirt, and it was buttoned wrong.
Then he went home.
If Dr. Krauthammer would like, we can also have a national discussion about this sequence:
When the battle is over and everyone has moved on, George Bush is the one who shows up to pry the gold teeth out of the mouths of the dead.
He has made it into an art form.