RUSH: What I want to do is summarize some of the things that I think really define this and then spend the rest of the program today going into some detail about these and add some things to it, of course, because the news continues to break and the news continues to happen. I, like you, spent a lot of time over the weekend watching all this, frustrated and angry and nonplused at the same time. Let’s just start with the summary here. These are my thoughts, and as I say, we will expand these and detail these as the program unfolds. What we have seen in New Orleans — and we have not seen it in Mississippi, and we have not seen it in Alabama — what we have seen in New Orleans is first and foremost the utter failure of generation after generation after generation of the entitlement mentality. The lesson to be learned from this is just profound, folks. It is huge. We have learned that large bureaucracies that grow ever larger by the year cannot handle circumstances like this. We have also learned that the failure of such entitlement programs and thinking only leads to more proposals for more entitlements and more entitlement-type government, and we have also learned that the utter failure of large bureaucracies only begets hearings by those bureaucracies, which will serve really one purpose, and that is to give themselves excuses and reasons to further enlarge themselves, which will only compound our problem. We are also looking here at utter incompetence, total incompetence from the mayor of New Orleans and the governor of Louisiana. We know this now. We know there was an utter failure to execute an evacuation plan that was long in place.
We know that none of these people, the poor people of New Orleans who had no way out of there on their own, we know that no effort was made to move them before the storm happened. No effort whatsoever was made at the local and state level. You’ve all seen the pictures of the buses, the school buses and the municipal buses that are flooded and ruined. I know they were told to go to the Superdome, but even then they had to walk to the Superdome. And they had to bring their own food and water to the Superdome. Why? Because even the local experts thought it was going to be just a period of hours that they will spend shielded and protected from wind and rain and they’d come out and go home. We also know that when any level of bureaucracy fails, the first order of business is to point blame at some other bureaucracy to try to take the heat off the of the people who are directly responsible for the failure to enact already written, documented, and even tested evacuation plans. We have other ample evidence that there’s one organization, that when given the responsibility, can go in there and make things happen, and that is the United States military. General Honore in one day got 20,000 people evacuated from the convention center with a ground and air evacuation, 20,000 people in one day. Somehow this is the fault of somebody rather than this being an absolute tremendous story with a lot of praise and credit flowing to those responsible for it. I want to take you back also to the early days after 9/11. It was the Democrats that proposed a new federal Department of Homeland Security, and I’ve got the sound bite. I want to go on record as saying this is not the way to handle this. Make this an even larger government, create an even bigger bureaucracy? Then they faulted FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, into the Department of Homeland Security. Republicans went along with the Democrat idea because that’s the natural tendency of bureaucracies. When they fail they go and say, “We need to get even bigger. We need to be even bigger,” and we have the evidence right in front of our faces that it’s the bigness, the largeness of these bureaucracies that causes paralysis. Nobody knows who’s in charge.
There’s not one person that could give the order to go take care of something when it has to be taken care of or when it needs to happen, and when that one person doesn’t come forward because there isn’t such a person, guess who then gets the blame depending on his political party and affiliation? If it’s a Republican president, he’s going to get the blame. Why do you think there’s no blame of the local incompetence from the mayor and the governor? Because they are Democrats. They have run that state. You know, Frist called for investigations. Bill Frist was the first to call for a congressional look-see into this, and guess who’s not happy about that? Democrats. Democrats are not happy about this because any legitimate investigation is going to have to focus on what happened in Louisiana, which has been run by Democrats for all of these years, and it’s been run, particularly New Orleans, not only with an entitlement mentality, it’s corrupt. Over the weekend I was with some friends who grew up in New Orleans, and a guy was telling me, “You know, the funniest bumper sticker I’ve ever seen, David Duke was running against Edwin Edwards for governor, and the bumper stickers around town read: ‘Vote for the Crook. It’s important.'” Meaning Edwin Edwards.
Now, I don’t know if people are going to be willing to go this far and say, “Yeah, we’ve got a corrupt state and had a corrupt state for a long time, we have an entitlement mentality down there. How you can blame anything that happened there–” by the way, let me just stress here, as I said all last week, this is repugnant to me to be talking in these terms, but we get up here and look at what’s happening and feel the need to defend the people and the institutions that I happen to think make this country great. When they’re under assault, I’m going to come defend them. I feel a compunction and a need to do that today because it’s continuing, even though the effort, I think, has largely failed. The first poll that’s been out on this, the ABC/Washington Post poll shows that Bush is not taking the brunt of the blame on the part of the American people, because they can see. We can see the effort has been made — and I’ll tell you, one of the reasons why this fails, and I know so many of you over the weekend were scared. “Oh, my God, they’re finally going to get Bush now!” and I was never of that attitude because I don’t think this is any different than Bill Burkett and the forged documents. I don’t think it’s any different than Cindy Sheehan. As Wesley Pruden wrote today in the Washington Times, “Cindy Sheehan could come out standing nude in nothing but her Birkenstocks and say that she was going to sneak into…” I know it’s an unpleasant sight, but imagine it, if you will. She could come out, stand nude except for her Birkenstocks and claim that she was going to go into Bush’s house to find evidence down there in Texas or whatever. She couldn’t get one camera down there today. Her time has come and passed. So you have just a progression of opportunities for the enemies of George Bush to try to nail him to the wall, and this one is not going to succeed either and it hasn’t succeeded up until now. I’ll tell you why.
It is becoming clear, and has been for two or three days here, of the utter failure of local government and state government to handle the circumstance. Everybody is out there saying, “We need a Giuliani! We need a Giuliani!” What was Rudy Giuliani? He was a mayor. Has anybody seen Ray Nagin? Was Ray Nagin at the Superdome? Was Kathleen Blanco at the Superdome? Were these people there? We saw Rudy everywhere. Yeah, we need a Rudy, fine, but Rudy was not part of federal government, folks; Rudy was not part of any FEMA organization; Rudy was not part of any federal bureaucracy. He was mayor of New York, and when you saw pictures of Rudy on TV he was flanked by the New York police chief and he was flanked by New York fire chief, and he was flanked by New York City officials, and the governor, of course, Pataki was there as well. But you haven’t seen that in this circumstance. We also know that President Bush on Sunday begged the governor to get everybody out there, declare an emergency. She said, “No, I need 24 hours to decide.” We now have the mayor, Ray Nagin — and we have the audio of this. It happened on CNN today. The mayor is now trying to pass the buck to the governor, claiming that the governor was the one that was holding up the decision-making process. We also know that the governors are in charge of the National Guard. Everybody wants to know, “Why didn’t Bush send the Guard?” The governors have to do this, and that’s why Bush wanted her to declare an emergency so that he could get a foot in the door. You notice there are no law enforcement problems in Mississippi? There aren’t any law enforcement problems over in Alabama. You haven’t seen the looting; you haven’t seen the utter chaos, but you have seen the destruction. There are reasons for this, and we will get into them this afternoon. The New Orleans police disintegrated, and now the mayor wants hotel vacations for them in Las Vegas. Yeah, he wants Las Vegas to donate hotels — the mayor, yeah, Ray Nagin — wants Las Vegas hotels donating hotel rooms for his beleaguered police force because they have had so much stress.
Right before the program started today we had a joint press conference with Maine Senator Susan Collins. She’s the chairman of the homeland security committee in the Senate, and the ranking Democrat with Senator Lieberman — and she’s demanding an investigation, too. She wants to chair a nonpartisan committee to get to the bottom of this and find out what happened. We will be watching this very interestedly, folks. We just witnessed, again, how a large series of bureaucracies utterly failed as they always will by virtue of their unwieldy size alone. Yet, if we’re not careful, the Collins hearings are going to serve as an excuse to expand the federal government even further. “The government’s not big enough,” is what it we’re going to hear. “It’s not big enough. This episode proves it’s not big enough.” No, it’s too big, it’s too unwieldy. It’s so big that nobody can possibly know what anybody else in any other agency is doing. Ask yourself this question after witnessing this for the past five or six days. Would you want your health care administered by this bureaucracy, as Mrs. Clinton sought to do in the early nineties? See, to me we already know what went wrong — and to me, it’s strikingly simple. The governments of Louisiana and the city of New Orleans failed to execute even a minor portion of their own evacuation plans. It’s that simple. Now, what complicates this is a desire to spare these local Democrats of any blame and at the same time, use this as an excuse to expand an all-powerful federal government because that’s what interests on the left really believe in. We also found out what works the best, and that is the United States military. Were it not for the US military and that general, that John Wayne general they’re calling him, this would still be today as bad as it was last week, and they’re already pumping water out of New Orleans. We heard about how horrible it was going to be, and it is. But the gasoline supply nationwide is coming back to normal. The refineries are going online a lot sooner than anybody thought they would. Gasoline prices are coming down, the oil price per barrel is coming down to pre-Katrina levels now and it’s been just a week. Last week all was lost. It was over. It was panic city. We’re doomed. Thankfully the people who have rolled up their sleeves and gotten down there and done the hard work didn’t listen to the doom and gloom and have, therefore, made the doom and gloom once again totally wrong and erroneous.
RUSH: Let’s go to Gloria in Coral Gables, Florida. I’m glad you called, Gloria, and I’m taking your call early, earlier than I would normally because you’re asking a question here that is going to launch me into one of the areas I intended to discuss anyway. Welcome to the program.
CALLER: Yes. Thank you, Rush. I mean, you know, I’m afraid about the response because what would happen if we had an attack, say in the — on the northeast area of the United States. I mean, if the response was so slow for one city, I mean what if we had a big attack, and now we’re vulnerable, because our enemies see this.
RUSH: Wait, wait, wait. Gloria, hold it. Hold it! Hold it now. You’re assuming that something went wrong in New Orleans.
CALLER: Well, something did go wrong with the local government as you have said.
RUSH: I want you to tell me, though. Yeah, expand on that. Tell me about what you know about what went wrong in New Orleans — and there’s no right or wrong here. I’m just conducting a little test.
CALLER: The levees broke and they knew they would break.
RUSH: No, that’s not what went wrong. Hold it. I mean, the levees broke, yes, but everybody knew that was going to happen.
RUSH: So you can’t say that went wrong. Everything that we were told would happen in such a storm happened. What went wrong?
CALLER: It doesn’t matter that we knew. It went wrong. It doesn’t matter that we already knew.
RUSH: Yes, it does. That is the point, Gloria, it does. In this case, I understand the desire that people have to compare this to a terrorist attack, and I understand the thinking that goes into that, but there’s a huge, huge difference. We can plan for all kinds of terrorist attacks, but we can still only guess what they might be, where they might take place. This storm was well advertised as a monster, killer storm for three days. I was watching it, and it became a cat five, and for a while it was headed right at New Orleans even. It only veered to the east late in its path. We were told that the levees would fail at a cat four, cat five, and that the levees had only been built up to category three. I’ll discuss later why they weren’t built to handle anything more than a cat three. I don’t want to go there right now. The point is, we also had an evac plan. You can go anywhere on the Internet and you can read the evacuation plan. You can go to one of them, page 13, paragraph five. This is what the New Orleans plan says: you are on your own getting out of here. “The vast majority of our residents will rely on personal vehicles. For those who do not have personal vehicles, municipal and city transportation will be provided to remove you or them to higher ground and shelters throughout the state.” We cut next to the picture of the school buses and municipal buses by the hundreds that are flooded and ruined that were not used. The thing that didn’t work was the implementation of the plan. We had a plan.
Or they had a plan, and it was a plan that had plenty of time to be implemented. But it wasn’t implemented. The plan was not implemented at all. Having people walk to the Superdome, walk there and told to carry their own food and their own water, no provisions in the Superdome. I want somebody to tell me how this is a failure of the federal government? And I want somebody to tell me how this is a failure of FEMA. And I’m not defending these institutions by saying this. But when you think, “Okay, New Orleans was a failure,” and, “Oh, my gosh! How are we going to handle something else that happens next time that’s on this scale?” I don’t accept that kind of thinking. I am not willing to believe or accept that every community that has been working on such plans is inept and is as incompetent as the state and city governments in Louisiana and New Orleans were. We know that New York isn’t. We have evidence. New York does a much better job. They didn’t know that was coming. They had no clue that was happening. Folks, if we want to be honest about this then we can be honest about it as we’re being. If we don’t want to be honest, if we want to sugarcoat this and try to avoid hurting people’s feelings, we can do that, too. I just don’t think it’s productive to do that. But when you think you know what went wrong in New Orleans, the levees broke. Everything that happened had been predicted as possible, and a plan to deal with it was in place that was not implemented, not even close. Not even close to being implemented. It makes you wonder if the current government officials even read the plan and knew it existed.
RUSH: Now that some of the hysterical media clutter is settling down, we’re beginning to get the real story about who’s responsible for what down there. We know Susan Collins and Joe Lieberman announced that their committee is going to have this big investigation. President Bush says he’s going to lead an investigation. Bill Frist says he’s going to have an investigation. That’s all well and good, but I’ll bet you these congressional investigations leave somebody out. I bet they don’t investigate themselves. You ever notice how members of Congress end up being portrayed as innocent bystanders in all this? Somehow the president and the federal bureaucracy always take the blame, the state government and city government, they’re going to get a pass on this, it looks like, maybe not. But somehow the White House, the president’s going to get the blame. It’s easy to focus on one man here, I suppose. The Homeland Security agency, by the way, that, whole idea was Joe Lieberman’s — and I want to remind you I opposed this when it happened, and I’m not saying it because I’m ragging on the agency. I’m just telling you so that you know I’m being consistent about what I think about large, unwieldy bureaucracies. They get so big, and nobody answers to anything. I mean, how do you point a finger of blame at a bureaucracy? It’s like trying to blame “the Pentagon.” Let’s blame a building for this. That’s the way to get ourselves out. It’s like for 9/11 and Able Danger, “Let’s blame a building on this! That’s how we’ll save ourselves, blame the building, the people in it.” We’re going to blame FEMA, now. We’re going to blame homeland security, and we’re going to blame — if you want to be honest about the blame, if that’s the game we want to play here, and since people do, I’m going to join in. I’m just going to be honest about this.
Congress is going to do all this investigating but they’re not going to look at themselves. No spending could occur unless they vote on it, no priorities can be determined without Congress making them. All anybody else can do is suggest. And that’s about it. The president can suggest. Yeah, he has some power, legislative liaisons to get what he wants, but Congress is the ultimate authority, and they will not be looked at. And I notice all these libs now love the military. They love General Honore, comes down there, John Wayne, kicking ass and taking names and getting it all straightened out here in one day, 20,000 people at the convention center. Is this the same military that was torturing people at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay? Is this the same military that is not fit to be deployed around the world because it’s just a bunch of murdering thugs? Isn’t it interesting here to watch the shifting allegiances as episodes like this unfold? Now, our last caller had this question about, “Well, if we can’t even protect ourselves in a circumstance like a hurricane, what are we going to do with a terrorist attack?” Hey, folks, you know, it’s time for some reality here. If we have a big terrorist attack on one of our cities, there will be many casualties. There are going to be lots of casualties. I hate to say this, but it’s true, and this is why we’re trying to kill as many terrorists as possible overseas before they attack us here. Some people don’t want to acknowledge that, some people don’t want to get that, but that’s why we’re at war. So I find it very interesting that at the same time we’re supposed to be getting of our Iraq, that Iraq is a wasteful exercise, it took too many National Guard. What an absolutely asinine thing to think, that it took too many National Guard troops away from the disaster area. “We ought to get out of Iraq.” Now the some people who want us out of Iraq are worried about a terrorist attack. Well, what are we in Iraq for, or what are we around the world for?
I’m going to tell you, if you leave the running of the country up to these armchair quarterbacks who come out with these emotional reactions in the midst of a crisis, we’re going to pay an even bigger price than we’re already paying, and I’m not saying that what happened down there is inspiring confidence. I’m not saying that this made me feel positive. Nobody is, but at the same time I think it’s getting put back together and the problem is being dealt with a lot quicker than anybody thought it would given the tone of the coverage and the appearance of the pictures coming out of New Orleans last week. I think it’s also important to point out that this hurricane hit a lot more than New Orleans. This hurricane devastated Biloxi, Mississippi, and Gulfport, Mississippi, and some places in Alabama got hit pretty badly, too. Why are we not talking about the same kinds of things happening in those locations that we’re talking about in New Orleans? It’s not simply about levee breaks. Let me go back here to the top of the program, and I want to expand on something I said because my first observation here when I went through a laundry list of things, I was trying to keep it simple, because this is not complicated as people trying to make it. One of the things that’s on rampant display and ought to be noticed by everybody is the utter failure of entitlement thinking. The utter failure of the entitlement state, the utter failure of a way life that tells citizens, “Don’t worry about anything; vote for me; your government will take care of you.”
That’s the essential message of entitlement thinking, and entitlement thinking ends up keeping people poor because it takes away from people their incentive. It says, “Okay, my government will take care of me. My government is going to take care of my needs and my emergencies and so forth, because I’m voting for the people that are going to do that,” and as we know from world history, or this country’s history, there is no successful example. Call it the welfare state. Call it socialism, whatever you want. There’s no example of it ever working. Now, you take these poor people down in New Orleans. That state has been run by the Democrat Party for as long as I’ve been alive. That’s a given. It’s not arguable. We also know that that state and that city have been run by people who have held the beliefs of the Democratic Party close to their hearts for all of these years. So for generation after generation after generation, people who are what I call victims of the entitlement state have been given a false promise. They have been told all of these years that their government is going to make life fair for them, their government is going to prevent them from suffering any kind of discrimination or inequality, that their government is going to see to it that they’re protected, that they’ve got unemployment insurance, and they’ve got health care, whatever it is. They have been taught, they have been continued, they have been practically raised to rely on a centralized government for their needs. Now, just as a matter of human nature, when you rely on somebody else for your needs — we all have needs, we also have wants — when you rely on somebody else for your needs, you are placing yourself in a risky circumstance. But if that’s all you know, if that’s what your parents did, if that’s what your grandparents did, and if that’s what you’ve been raised to do, then that’s all you know. So what have we learned here?
Whether you want to blame it on the federal government, I don’t care, blame it on the federal government, blame it on FEMA, blame it on any government, state, local, federal, blame it on any bureaucracy you want for the purposes of this argument, what we have learned is that your government, wherever it is, cannot protect you, save you, from these kinds of things. It just can’t. Not as well as you can yourself. I hear the catcalls. “Rush, I can’t believe what you’re talking about. You’re talking about people with no means of transportation. You’re talking about people that are so poor they had no way out.” I understand that. I’m asking, “Why are they poor?” I’m asking, “Why are they hopelessly poor? Why are they simply accepted?” I mean, I’ve got a story somewhere in the stack today, it’s a Boston Globe story, some guy is actually happy that this will now focus America’s attention on our genuine problem of the poor. We all ought to be ashamed and embarrassed that such poverty exists in the country of such prosperity. But we also know that even with a country of such prosperity, we cannot, via welfare transfers or wealth transfers, make everybody middle class. Simply not possible. We don’t have the money. And speaking of money, I know that people are donating to charities, and that’s a wonderful and great thing, but you know where we could find about 25 or $30 billion today?
If we go back to the highway bill and members of Congress would act as big-hearted as they’re asking everybody else to act and say, “I’m going to cancel the pork project for my district and I’m going to send that money down to New Orleans for the relief effort.” If every congressman would simply forgo the pork that is in that highway bill and send it for relief efforts, then that’s something that would be decent and productive that the federal government could do. That would be the wise, proper allocation of resources, given the existing circumstances. But to me it’s just a crying shame to me to see human beings as they were pictured and as they were existing all of last week, and it was clear that many of them had no idea what to do. They have no idea what to do because they’ve been told somebody else is going to take care of it. They’ve been told that somebody else will fix it. Somebody else will make it right. You can’t really blame them if they’ve never known anything else, if that’s how they have been raised, if that’s how they have been programmed, if that’s what they’ve been told is fair and just and right, you can sit there and you can blame all day long the people that had the means to get out of there. You can blame all day long the people that had the wherewithal and the ability to get out, but who are they? The one thing we know they aren’t, is members of the entitlement state. They were not part of the entitlement mentality. They were not waiting around for Ray Nagin to take care of them. They weren’t waiting around for Kathleen Blanco. They weren’t waiting around for George Bush or anybody to take care of them.
They got the notice to get out of there and they got out. Do you know that the New Orleans evacuation plan even has a procedure to reach people that don’t even have enough money to have televisions and radios? It even has a chapter on how to get out to people who don’t know that there are bad things coming because they don’t have television sets and they don’t have radios. It even allows for that, and that was not implemented either. So, you know, the entitlement mentality and what it does to people, been a theme of mine on this program for the 17-plus years that we’ve been doing this, and here it is on just crystal clear, 100% utter display. If you want to start examining failures here, we can just count up our side of them, too, and you can ask, “Well, Rush, how does that solve the problem?” Well, it doesn’t solve this problem. It ought to be an eye-opener to people that when it comes time to plan for something like this in the future, why condemn the people who could get out, why get mad at them? Why get mad of them because they had the means to get out? Because they didn’t take anybody with them? If that’s all you can say, fine, I’ll grant you that. It makes them not as good a citizen as we wish they were, but still they were able to get out and some weren’t, and the people in charge of getting those out who couldn’t get out didn’t help them. They just didn’t, even though there was a plan to do so.