Isn’t America Exciting?

Some interesting notes from American news. Below the fold, because politics isn’t what’s important.

It seems the current meme is that President Bush isn’t doing enough to help resolve the chaos left in Katrina’s wake. Interestingly, one thing that apparently he did do, was ensure the evacuation of New Orleans was a mandatory event, rather than a voluntary one; which presumably would’ve lead to even more horrendous results — and this was, afaict, at the point when it was known Katrina was a category four or five hurricane that would hit New Orleans, and that it’s levees were only built to cope with a category three cyclone. It’s probably unfortunate that Dubya didn’t also insist on actually using the school busses to evacuate people who didn’t have their own transportation (Jabbor Gibson in 2008, perhaps — unless he ends up with a conviction for looting that disqualifies him of course). Given both the New Orleans mayor and Lousiana governor are Democrats, I wonder if folks like Joseph Cannon are being entirely sane with the whole “Katrina: Yes, You CAN Blame Bush” and “But let us make one thing clear: We WILL politicize this issue” spin — a screed second only in its vileness to Jesse Jackson’s claims that the insufficient response is because everyone hates black people, or Fred Phelps claims that the hurricane was God’s way of punishing fags. (Both men claim the title “Reverend”, which I’m certainly not going to grant them, and both crave attention, which they don’t deserve either as far as I’m concerned, so no links)

But back to the lesser vileness, partisan politics. Both the governor and mayor do seem to be fairly conservative Democrats — Mayor Nagin apparently switched parties in order to get elected; so maybe that’ll just get incorporated into the spin in order to get a “true” liberal as the Democrat nominee for the next position that opens up. That strikes me as more likely to encourage voters (in the Deep South at that) to switch from a conservative Democrat to an out and out Republican, but hey, what do I know.

Mirroring that strategy on the right seems to be Rick Santorum, at least according to Jonathan Rauch. He reports that Senator Santrum’s new book, It Takes a Family attempts to redefine conservative thought in terms of the loving family instead of the rugged individualist; and sets himself up in competition with conservatives in the Reagan (or Friedman, or Schwarzenegger) mould. I could probably have bought into the “family” idea, except that Santorum has pretty strict ideas on what is a “valid” family and what isn’t — he’s probably most loved for his man on child, man on dog comments on homosexual relationships, after all. Families are important, but if you’re going to use that as an excuse to tell people how to live their lives, get out of government and become a minister instead; “Rev Santorum” has a ring to it, don’t you think?

The political implications could be interesting; there’s potentially two simultaneous “wedge” issues there driving both the Democrats and the Republicans apart internally, I wonder if it won’t end up driving the non-raving-lunatic left and the non-peeping-tom-division of the right into some form of coalition of the sensible. Hey, it worked in California.

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