Saturday, September 03, 2005

The shameless spin begins

Today, Saturday, day 6 of this ongoing catastrophe, Michael Chertoff held a press conference in Washington with a group of "reporters" even more docile than one expects inside the beltway. Evidently all the real-life reporters, a good many of whom have rediscovered how to ask hard questions, are still on the scene of the disaster.

Chertoff inaugurated what I am assuming are the talking points to be issued to all Republicans immediately, and those talking points are that FEMA had a plan for a hurricane, but was taken by surprise when a second disaster struck after the hurricane--high water.

Now you see Bush, mis-spokenness prone as he is, bungled essentially the same talking points yesterday by being too specific when he claimed, falsely of course, that no one had anticipated the levees breaking. Since a few seconds of Google searching provided instances to the contrary going back many years, Bush has had to stay away from that topic since then and be carefully shielded from rogue reporters who might follow up on the subject.

But Chertoff stuck doggedly to the new party line, at least as long as I could stand to watch him, and maintained that New Orleans had been hit by two separate events, and goodness gracious who could have anticipated that? One being the sudden appearance of a strong hurricane out of nowhere, and the other being high waters, and such unforeseen bad luck that was.

Chertoff pretended that the chances of the two events, hurricane and flood, happening in temporal proximity were so far off the charts that FEMA was not at fault for not having prepared for both at once.

So, the talking points, summarized: And this hurricane boiled up out of the Gulf so quickly. We didn't even have time to activate our plan, which was for the hurricane, not the rising water, because who could have foreseen that they would occur together?

And here is the auxiliary talking point, emphasizing the hurricane's sudden arrival out of nowhere: Besides, even if we had been prepared for both...this hurricane boiled up out of the Gulf so quickly. It just didn't give us enough advance notice that we could activate our plan--and we did have a plan, I swear we did --just not a plan for the separate rising water event.

Did Bush hire him because of this thing about bald heads?

Addendum: CNN's website has the following, which completely demolishes Chertoff's claim that the hurricane's unexpectedly quick arrival at unexpected strength left FEMA with not enough time to activate their imaginary plan. "As far back as Friday, August 26, the National Hurricane Center was predicting the storm could be a Category 4 hurricane at landfall, with New Orleans directly in its path."

The storm struck New Orleans 4 days later as a category 4 hurricane at landfall.

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