I have some idea I want to essay about the effect of education tax credits, but the 53 plus hour work weeks I have been having have other ideas. Meanwhile, though, I want to say something clearly that others have only murmured about. On the anniversary of Katrina, we ought to be further along in rebuilding it. The official line is that navigating bureaucracy takes times and that is so, but most people who navigate it can plan accordingly. The people of the gulf coast have far fewer facilities and infrastructure to meet bureaucratic rules. The thing is, I have spent just enough time interning to know that if projects become priorities, they will be accomplished. If the president had made one visit a month to New Orleans and/or Mississippi for the last year, and gone to places where things were not happening, then things would have happened. I am not absolutely sure about the motives of the republicans in this case, but I guess last winter they calculated that delaying was an ok idea (maybe no one expected the president’s numbers to go so low). I mean, Bill Frist or other republicans with presidential aspirations would have been wise to take high profile trips to the coast, but of course they would have had to tread lightly to avoid being sucked into blame for the original fiasco. I am assuming that high ranking democrats (Kerry, H Clinton) did not go for two reasons. First, the agencies involved (sensing which way the wind is blowing at least until November, if not for two more years) might make a show of not paying attention to the high ranking democrat. The other, more ugly reason, is that the democrats may want to have something concrete (or muddy, perhaps) to point to in November. This may be on reason why the three most prominent democratic ex-officials, W Clinton, Gore and Edwards, also have not recently made trips to New Orleans (that I know of).
Let me repeat it for clarity. If the president had made one visit a month for twelve months to the gulf coast, it would be a different place. It would be cleaned up and the federal money for rebuilding would be there. The president has the time (I believe) and it is one place where his mere presence would accomplish all that could be accomplished. I do not think it is too much in this case to say that the republicans do want New Orleans to look different than it looked before, in racial make up. And I think voters are going to start to think that, undermining the case the republicans make that they are the party of the majority.