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  • ldbert1 ldbert1 Sep 7, 2005 9:38 AM Flag

    todays WSJ

    It was inevitable, we suppose. Less than a week after hurricane Katrina, the first poll came out to measure its political impact. The results, which ABC News released Sunday, will be highly disappointing to the Angry Left: 55% of those polled do not blame President Bush for the storm's devastation, and although 67% think the federal government wasn't "adequately prepared," 75% say the same thing about state and local government. John Podhoretz's interpretation is right on the money (capitalization his):
    Once again we see the gigantic divide in this country--not between Right and Left, but between people who live and breathe politics and those for whom politics are only an incidental part. You need to look at the world through political glasses to assume that THE key aspect of a natural disaster is the response or lack thereof of the authorities--whether they be local, state or federal. The president doesn't MAKE hurricanes, therefore he will not be blamed FOR hurricanes. Nor do the governor and the mayor.
    Indeed, the experience of 9/11 shows how resistant political trends are to the influence of big events. The attack on America changed a lot, but not the electoral map: Only three states were carried by a different party's presidential candidate in 2004 than in 2000, the smallest such shift since 1924.

    This is not to say 9/11 had no effect at the ballot box. At least one politician probably owes his election to the attack on America: New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg. A beloved but term-limited Rudy Giuliani campaigned heavily for Bloomberg, who beat Mark Green, a deeply unserious man in a suddenly serious time.

    Similarly, if Katrina has an electoral effect, it is likely to be local rather than national, especially since President Bush won't be running for re-election. (The Democratic Party and the left seem to have so fully absorbed the Clintonian doctrine of the "permanent campaign" that they've lost sight of the importance of actual elections.)

    If Katrina's aftermath was, or is seen to have been, a government failure, state and local officials in the affected states--especially Louisiana--are likely to pay a price. And Katrina may change Louisiana politics for another reason: demographics. The storm forced a mass exodus from New Orleans and vicinity, and many residents surely will resettle out of state. The political effect will depend on whence the emigrants turn out to have come.

    In the 2004 election, President Bush carried Louisiana by 281,870 votes, according to data from David Leip's election atlas. A breakdown by parish shows that the two candidates ran almost exactly even in the New Orleans area: John Kerry had a 109,763-vote margin within the city (Orleans Parish), while Bush beat Kerry by a combined 109,546 votes in the suburban parishes of Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. Bernard and St. Tammany.

    Obviously if more New Orleans residents than suburbanites move out of state, Louisiana will become more Republican. Less obviously, the state will become more Republican even if flight from the suburbs equals that from New Orleans, since the evenly divided New Orleans region will account for a smaller part of the population than the heavily GOP-leaning rest of the state.

    New Orleans's Mayor Ray Nagin is up for re-election in February 2006, Gov. Kathleen Blanco and Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu in November 2007, and Sen. Mary Landrieu in November 2008. All four are Democrats. When they point the finger at the federal government for whatever went wrong in the Katrina response, remember that they are fighting for their political lives.

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    • You apparently aren't aware that there was a quake in the early 1800's on the fault in the Mississippi Valley that changed the course of the river.

      As far as 4 in a row - there was not remotely the level or extent of damage that transpired in Mississippi, Louisiana or New Orleans. I know, I was living there. People evacuated, but the vast majority were able to go back home - to homes. Many people, in turn, rode it out. And they got away with it, because there were no Cat 4 's or 5's. Miami was not closed down. Which would have been the equivalent. You're comparing disasters of an entirely different scale. The totality of the cost, damage and dislocation were not remotely in the same ball-park.

      Which is my point. FEMA and the states are set up for the run of the mill disasters. They are not set up for the big ones.

    • pure coincidence...Mitch makes me vant to PUKE!!!

    • For those who reveled in the "news" that criminals were turned loose to help participate in the looting of New Orleans, sorry to bring you back to the real world. That turned out to be wishful -- i.e., erroneous -- reporting. Look it up.

    • Hmmm The Mitchster AND BCC appear the same day?

      Mitch - Be more specific or get lost.

      BCC - Glad to see you back. Did you get your hand slapped very bad?

    • you all make me want to PUKE!

      P.S. -- I vant to be alone.

    • Can't you lamebrains talk about the company instead of your political garbage. Take it somewhere else.

    • Redlac:>And the greater irony is that one of those faults is in the Mississippi River valley. Last time it hit - almost 200 years ago - it changed the course of the Mississippi.<

      That was about 100 years ago and the Mississippi, just south-east of New Madrid, still runs south-to-north.

      Redlac:>So then who will they blame? Rather than the poor, indigent, sick and criminal who either through ignorance, fear, disability, or criminality, didn't get out of town, we'll be able to blame the middle class, the wealthy, and all the good white folks that should've moved away years ago ./....
      Simple fact, the feds, states and cities aren't ready for this - and that's what New Orleans demonstrated. And all the good white people in those great "other" cities are no more prepared than all of those poor black folks in New Orleans.<

      When Florida was hit with all the hurricanes, like four in a row, was Jeb Bush sitting on his fat ass in Tallahassee or was he out and about with the people? Didn't he declare forced evacuations for major population areas? Wasn't there an immediate response from the local and state governments?
      Didn't FEMA do what was asked of them? I don't remember Florida being inundated
      with idiots not knowing what to do and where to go, do you?
      We had the same President Bush at the time!!!!

    • My response had nothing to do with gun control - that was a tangent off the main point. Which was tieing the welfare state to the criminal events in New Orleans. Where gun control came from, as far as I can tell, was due to my comment on US crime. Your comment has no basis. Personally, I'd prefer to see the bogus welfare clause kicked out by the courts, along with Income taxes. That would take 40% of the federal budget off the table, give it back to the states, and get the feds out of education, health, and welfare. Your only gripe with me is abortion. Abortion, however, isn't in the constitution. Which is why there were no laws against it for the first 130 years of so. You got a little mulish with me on abortion because you claimed at one point that the states were moving against abortion prior to Roe v Wade, when in fact the opposite was happening. And, if it does get kicked out, you then had to confront the harder reality that it will have impact only on those who lack the financial resources to travel to another state, to Canada, or to Europe. Somehow I think that reality shocked you a little. You and yours, after all, have been so focussed on Roe v Wade, that you forgot the history.

    • Well said, Idbert.

      I just got in and haven't read any of the replies yet, but for once on this MB I think the recs are legit.

      Hopefully, the politicizing of the blame will backfire on the dems -- I'm thinking that RFK Jr's blog will get a lot of air time next election cycle.

    • Boxcar:

      Forget about quoting the Constitution to Calder, to him the constitution is a work in progress, meant to be modified at will by any judge.

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