(What, you thought I was kidding about the red thing?)
Here's the quote that grabbed me. From Freedman:
Yet, in Louisiana and Mississippi, Bush increasingly seems just irrelevant. Especially in New Orleans itself, the big story is of course the way that the class and racial chasms that divide American society have been made visible with a clarity that not even the mainstream press has been able to ignore. Yesterday, on Friday, a black man at the Convention Center was frantically shouting at a camera crew, "Look! He's a Caucasian! A Caucasian!", as he pointed to a white man lying prostrate on the ground. He clearly knew that nothing would improve the chances of help like having some white faces seen among the victims. But class has probably been even more powerful in all this than race—so emphatically, indeed that the word "class," long such a near-absolute taboo, is actually being used, seriously, in the mainstream media, an astounding turn of events in itself.This has been one of the most striking aspects of the whole situation... that due to the economic disparities between those that left and those that didn't, the "c" word is rearing its ugly head. This might be part of the reason why this nasty socialist stuff is so interesting right now... because you can't really talk about class without bringing up ol' Karl.
This might also be why the Rock-Ribbed Free-Market Republicans have been so incredibly out of touch in their attitude and commentary since this whole thing started. Aside from the "Bush Good"/"Bush Bad" stuff (which is practically a sideshow), their attempts to deploy neo-classical rationalist economics and politics to try to explain the situation have been laughable at best, and have lead to their over-focus on the evils of looters (a crime against property) and under-focus on the desperation to survive (a crime against humanity.)
The key question, right now, is not whether FEMA was responsible for the disaster, or Bush, or the Governor. The key question is whether or not the underlying ideals and ideology of the United States of America have been dealt a debilitating blow. Hence the reason why I called it "Bush's Chernobyl"; just as Chernobyl undermined the USSR, people are already starting to wonder if Katrina has undermined the USA.
And, like with Chernobyl, the problem is not the accident. The problem is the reaction.
It's funny, but the best case scenario for the Republicans here may well be to have Bush blamed for it all. The alternatives may be much worse.