RUSH: Let’s go to Donna in South Windsor, in Connecticut. Hi, Donna, welcome to the program.
CALLER: Good afternoon, Mr. Limbaugh. Um, you know, I just wanted to, um, share a couple of thoughts and then, um, ask you for your take on them, where you think my thinking might be going off the rails or where it might be right. I’m foolish and na?ve enough — well, I’m not foolish and na?ve enough — to believe in any of those, but certainly in an ideal world you could hope that you could just not be a liberal or a Democrat or a Republican or Democrat or a liberal or a, um, conservative and just do what’s right, and I have to say that truly on a number of occasions I feel like you’ve vacillated back and forth between the two depending on the circumstances, depending on what would be the easiest or most politically correct thing to say, so forgive me for that if it’s too pointed. But essentially what I see with, um, President Bush when I look at what he has done or not done in, um, New Orleans, and really a lot of times in a lot of places — and I wouldn’t just use this for this case specifically, but as a general method of operating from what I see —
CALLER: — is that, um, he’s moved to action either in front of the cameras or more and more likely behind the cameras when what he’s doing or not doing is affecting what he has categorically called his “base,” and, um, your screener asked me to define that, and I’m — I’m certainly confident that you can, um, better do that than I can, and the second thing is that, um, being that there’s nothing going on down in these areas that —
CALLER: — will significantly impact his base, um —
CALLER: — he’s not really moved to ask that much, and secondly, the fact that when you consider that Texas has the lowest per capita spending by its government, and I believe that, um, —
CALLER: — Governor Bush was instrumental in that when he was the governor of the state of Texas, that we’re also seeing his general philosophy about how it is that the government does or does not intercede with assistance or lack of assistance, and also the whole issue of whether or not this person is responsible or that person is responsible. All those arguments can really turn on a dime, and that’s the part that I have an issue with when I, you know, listen to some of your commentaries on these things. So, you know, I’d like to just hang up and ask you what your perspectives are in relation to those comments. Thanks very much for taking my call.
RUSH: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa-ho-ho-ho!
CALLER: Oh, okay. I’m not getting away that easily?
RUSH: No, no, no. I want to thank you, Mrs. Schumer, for the call. But the —
CALLER: Mr. Limbaugh, no, no, no.
RUSH: Well, I just have a simple question: What is the question?
CALLER: I’m simply making a comment that I think that — let me be more succinct. My comment is that President Bush, what he did or did not do is significantly influenced by what exists in these areas, in relation to the effect on his base. This is when you see President Bush act. I also know that I can never depend on what President Bush says, but I must watch what President Bush does — not necessarily in front of the cameras but just as much behind the cameras.
RUSH: All right.
CALLER: So I simply want your comment about which I was asking for your reflections because certainly you have a lot more, ummmm insight into some of these things than do I, and that was what I wanted to share with you, and also the fact that this would be (garbled) President Bush’s and also Governor Bush’s, ummm assessment —
CALLER: — of what the proper role of government is, and again, reflecting on the fact that Texas had one of the lowest per capita spending, ummm, uhhh, levels of all of the 50 states — and the name is Donna.
RUSH: Oh, I’m sorry. I thought you were Mrs. Schumer for a moment.
CALLER: No, that’s not correct.
RUSH: Donna, can you hang on? I need to ask you a couple more questions, and we gotta go to a break. Can you hang on?
RUSH: Okay, great, thank you. Thank you, very, very much.
RUSH: All right, Donna, back to you in South Windsor, Connecticut. I’m glad you called. I would love to have answered your question in the last break but we ran out of time. You didn’t quite give me time to answer, and I’m not sure that I still understand the question, and I want to understand the question. Is it safe to say that you said that you wish people would stop being Republicans and Democrats and conservatives and liberals and just deal with this honestly and factually?
CALLER: That is —
RUSH: Now, hang on — and that I don’t do that enough and you know that I can, and you wish I would, and your basic premise here is that Bush did not respond as quickly as he might have and would have if it had been somewhere other than New Orleans because New Orleans is not his political base, and I guess therefore he didn’t really have as much concern about those people as he would have, say, if the hurricane had hit somewhere where his base was?
CALLER: Well, you’re suggesting in some of your comments that race is an issue, or other people are suggesting that race is an issue and I would suggest that it perhaps isn’t so much an issue of race because I don’t think that that’s terribly relevant to President Bush. Because the black vote, for example, is a relatively small number and it’s not a vote that he gets anyway. It’s kind of irrelevant to President Bush in my opinion.
RUSH: Okay, so what is relevant?
CALLER: I don’t think that race is a big issue in this New Orleans thing, and I don’t think that that’s it. I think it was neglected, but not because of race, just because they’re not important. Whether they’re black, white, or purple, they’re not important. They’re not part of his base, and we know how loyal President Bush is to his base.
CALLER: We don’t see that in front of the camera. We don’t see that on the first page of the newspaper as often as we do, uhhh, after we’ve done a lot of digging.
RUSH: You know, I have to tell you, I would dispute both assertions. One, that Bush is loyal to his base, and two, that Bush doesn’t have as much concern for the people of New Orleans because they’re not his base.
CALLER: Based on what would you dispute that?
RUSH: Based on the George W. Bush that I know as a human being.
CALLER: Well, based on what?
RUSH: You wouldn’t think that the people that died in the World Trade Center were his base, either. I mean, that’s liberal New York, and we dug our heels in and worked fast there. There’s a lot of Bush’s base in Mississippi, but he wasn’t in Mississippi any sooner than he was in New Orleans.
CALLER: So we both know that President Bush has a very good, um, analyst, and he knows, um, that it’s very important to present a certain picture, a certain image, say certain words because the average consuming public is going to get their ten-second snippets on the news and it will look good.
RUSH: The thing that puzzles me about what you’re saying, I guess now it’s Karl Rove’s fault and he’s the analyst and he tells Bush where to go or not to go because the base there or the base is not there? The pictures that we have seen, Donna, are much bigger than ten seconds and the pictures here do not portray George Bush in a positive light at all. If he’s had somebody analyzing this and advising him, they have blown it big time. I don’t think your idea about the motivation or lack of it in this case, has anything to do with politics.
CALLER: You know, I agree with you. I think they have blown it big time and I think right now what we’re seeing is an attempt to mend fences. Now, we have all the things that —
RUSH: Whoa, whoa. Let’s stay on one thing. I mean —
CALLER: Well, it’s quite complicated, right, Rush, and sometimes…?
RUSH: He’s not trying to… The mending of the fences, see, this is… You just said you wished everybody would stop looking in political terms, and yet you persist in assuming that Bush is doing everything out of a political motivation.
CALLER: Right, I do believe that he’s strongly motivated for political gain. Obviously. Would you not say that that’s a kind of a categorically fact relatively to both —
RUSH: Well, if you tell me where he has gained politically from this then I’ll grant your point, but he hasn’t gained a shred. He hasn’t gained anything politically from this.
CALLER: No, he hasn’t gained politically and I don’t think that he anticipated things to turn out the way they have turned out, and now the political consequences.
RUSH: You’re thinking this through way to intricately, Donna.
CALLER: I don’t think so.
RUSH: Yes, you are. You know, this is interesting. You say that you don’t want any political calculations in this or political opinions or politically based assumptions, and yet all of yours are.
CALLER: I said what I —
RUSH: Everything that you say Bush is doing is oriented and motivated by politics, and I’m telling you that you can’t take politics out of the equation of anything a president does but to say it’s the #1 motivation, you’re ignoring the scale of this disaster, the scope of this disaster, the timeline of this disaster. You just can’t take what you’re looking at now and assign all kinds of political motivations to things where the president is concerned. If you want to do that, then we’ve got to start doing it with the mayor and we’ve got to start doing it with the governor, and we have to start doing it with everybody involved. Do you want to do that?
CALLER: Well, see, I think this is a little disingenuous because in the midst of all this there are lots of ways that you can cast the light on, um, different, um, things like you can be distracting with using the Supreme Court nomination; you can be distracting by saying that this is an issue of race when in fact I don’t think it is. I think it’s just a matter of these people not mattering one way or the other. Um, you can be distracting —
RUSH: Donna, wait a second. How in the world… Look at how many people have been rescued. Look at all the money that’s been donated. Look at all of the aid that has been forthcoming. How in the world can you say that you think these people don’t matter to anybody? I’ll tell you who they didn’t matter to is the mayor and the governor. They’re the ones that allowed these people to wallow in these circumstances before the hurricane hit. They’re the ones that didn’t evacuate these people in time. They’re the ones that didn’t execute their own plan. They’re the ones that withheld aid that the Red Cross had ready to go. They’re the ones! This is a massive recovery effort. The death toll is much, much, much, much lower than the doomsayers were saying. We’ve got hotels open for business. We’re draining the water out of New Orleans. We’ve rebuilt the levees. We’re doing everything we can to rebuild the city. How in the world can you sit there and say that nobody cares?
CALLER: To say that one person is not… To say that one person has some culpability does not mean to say that another does not.
CALLER: Because the mayor or the governor did or didn’t do what they should or shouldn’t have done does not exonerate or, um, put someone else on a pedestal. You need to talk about each one of these individually, and because the mayor is bad doesn’t —
RUSH: I’m doing that, and every time I bring it up you want to avoid it and you want to stay focused on Bush. In as simple a language as you can I want you to tell me what you think Bush thought when he saw the hurricane going into this area; I want you to tell me what you thought he told people to do about it; I want you to tell me what you thought he did after he saw the damage; I want you to tell me what you thought that he was thinking when these days went by; I want you to tell me what you think George Bush as a human being was seeing and doing in his reactions while all this was taking place.
CALLER: Okay. Um, I think I’ll take a lesson from our Supreme Court, um, justice nominee and suggest that I cannot presume to know the answers to those questions. But I would just
RUSH: Your whole call has been presuming the answer to those questions!
CALLER: I was just generally —
RUSH: Your whole call has presumed to know everything George Bush did and why!
CALLER: In a general —
RUSH: And now when I ask you specifics of the thoughts in the mind of a human being, “Oh, no, I’m not going to go there. I can’t predict things. I may have to deal —
CALLER: May I respond?
RUSH: “– with this later in the Supreme Court.”
CALLER: May I respond? (phone crackling)
RUSH: Feel free. I mean, give it a shot.
CALLER: Okay. I would say in a general sense which is I think the closest that I could certainly come to answering your question, in a general sense what I have seen from President Bush, while he’s been in the White House, is — and maybe that’s maybe oversimplifying, would you suggest perhaps it is?
CALLER: But generally when I see what President Bush does — and I voted for this man, let me tell you that. When I see what he does, he does what will work for him. He does what is good for him. He says a completely different thing. He says what sounds good, and he does what he wants to do, and there is a disconnect between those two things, and you know as well as I do, Rush, that if you look behind the cameras and you look behind the statements, and all of the things that you suggest that other people do, that President Bush is doing that as well — and can I just make one other comment? Um, I have to say that at some point in time, I remember hearing you say something — and maybe you were kidding, I don’t know, because I don’t listen to you every single day —
RUSH (sotto voce): Thank God.
CALLER: But at some point in time you had said, you know, “My job here is to entertain.” Was — was that joking? Because I begin to come to the conclusion that — that that’s where you’re going with your program, that it’s supposed to be some sort of an entertainment effort.
CALLER: I so wish, Rush, that when you were on the air —
RUSH: Okay, look it, I know what I said, and I know where my syllables went so let me repeat them. I have said on many occasions that, yes, I am an entertainer, and I’m proud to be an entertainer. You have to be an entertainer in the media to attract an audience. We do things on this program that are not done anywhere else. We combine entertainment with serious discussion, with credibility on both sides. What I really do, Donna, is get up every day. I have my set of beliefs. I have my core principles, and I get up every day, and when I see those principles being attacked and when I see the people who also in leadership positions hold those same principles attacked, I defend, and that’s what I do. I defend the things that I deeply care about and believe in, particularly the traditions and institutions that have made the country great that many in this country are trying to tear down. I also voted for President Bush, and I realized that there is a posse made up of the liberal media and the Democratic Party out to destroy him. Yes, I’m going to defend him when I see these specious attacks. I think this whole business of the attack on President Bush where the hurricane is concerned is nothing more than Cindy Sheehan redone, nothing more than Bill Burkett and all of these things the Democrats — the National Guard story. It’s just the latest in a long line of attempts to destroy George W. Bush, and it’s working on people like you. But your problem is, you can’t come to a firm conclusion on anything. You’re always going to give yourself an out, as you end up talking about something: “Well, it could be this way; it could be that way. I think it’s this way, but it could be that way,” and “I don’t know. I’ll give it a possibility you could be right about that, but I don’t know. What I really think is, I don’t know.”
It’s an interesting thing it’s an illuminating thing to listen to you, because while you claim you don’t have enough direct knowledge, boy, you know it all! You’ve got it all figured out! Bush only does things that benefit him. Like letting Ted Kennedy write the education bill? Like working with Democrats on selecting judicial nominees to the Supreme Court? I think you are typical in a lot of ways, and one of them is you totally do not understand who George Bush is as a man. You don’t understand who he is as a human being. You can’t help but look to him politically. You assign your own prejudice about all politicians to Bush without examining Bush individually and personally, and you come with these conclusions that everything he’s doing is to help himself and he doesn’t care about anybody else. That’s for a template belief that the left has that conservatives don’t have empathy, don’t care about people, only care about themselves. It’s the same old thing. But your contention that Bush didn’t go to New Orleans because they’re not his base is just flat-out absurd if you want my answer. It is flat-out absurd. Bush was begging that governor on the Sunday before the hurricane hit to get people out of there and to declare an emergency. Bush was on the phone with her. They were thinking about sending the military in because the state and local people weren’t acting fast enough, and that’s because George Bush cares. He cares about individuals and human beings, and for you to think that he doesn’t is a sign that you haven’t taken enough time to understand human decency when you see it. You are clouded in seeing human decency because all you see is what you think is a political animal as it’s been told to you by whoever it is in the media you believe.
Headline: No shame, The federal response to Katrina was not as portrayed
Dateline: Sunday, September 11, 2005
Byline: Jack Kelly
Source: Pittsburg Post-Gazette
It is settled wisdom among journalists that the federal response to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina was unconscionably slow.
“Mr. Bush’s performance last week will rank as one of the worst ever during a dire national emergency,” wrote New York Times columnist Bob Herbert in a somewhat more strident expression of the conventional wisdom.
But the conventional wisdom is the opposite of the truth.
Jason van Steenwyk is a Florida Army National Guardsman who has been mobilized six times for hurricane relief. He notes that:
“The federal government pretty much met its standard time lines, but the volume of support provided during the 72-96 hour was unprecedented. The federal response here was faster than Hugo, faster than Andrew, faster than Iniki, faster than Francine and Jeanne.”
For instance, it took five days for National Guard troops to arrive in strength on the scene in Homestead, Fla. after Hurricane Andrew hit in 1992. But after Katrina, there was a significant National Guard presence in the afflicted region in three.
Journalists who are long on opinions and short on knowledge have no idea what is involved in moving hundreds of tons of relief supplies into an area the size of England in which power lines are down, telecommunications are out, no gasoline is available, bridges are damaged, roads and airports are covered with debris, and apparently have little interest in finding out.
So they libel as a “national disgrace” the most monumental and successful disaster relief operation in world history.
I write this column a week and a day after the main levee protecting New Orleans breached. In the course of that week:
More than 32,000 people have been rescued, many plucked from rooftops by Coast Guard helicopters.
The Army Corps of Engineers has all but repaired the breaches and begun pumping water out of New Orleans.
Shelter, food and medical care have been provided to more than 180,000 refugees.
Journalists complain that it took a whole week to do this. A former Air Force logistics officer had some words of advice for us in the Fourth Estate on his blog, Moltenthought:
“We do not yet have teleporter or replicator technology like you saw on ‘Star Trek’ in college between hookah hits and waiting to pick up your worthless communications degree while the grown-ups actually engaged in the recovery effort were studying engineering.
“The United States military can wipe out the Taliban and the Iraqi Republican Guard far more swiftly than they can bring 3 million Swanson dinners to an underwater city through an area the size of Great Britain which has no power, no working ports or airports, and a devastated and impassable road network.
“You cannot speed recovery and relief efforts up by prepositioning assets (in the affected areas) since the assets are endangered by the very storm which destroyed the region.
“No amount of yelling, crying and mustering of moral indignation will change any of the facts above.”
“You cannot just snap your fingers and make the military appear somewhere,” van Steenwyk said.
Guardsmen need to receive mobilization orders; report to their armories; draw equipment; receive orders and convoy to the disaster area. Guardsmen driving down from Pennsylvania or Navy ships sailing from Norfolk can’t be on the scene immediately.
Relief efforts must be planned. Other than prepositioning supplies near the area likely to be afflicted (which was done quite efficiently), this cannot be done until the hurricane has struck and a damage assessment can be made. There must be a route reconnaissance to determine if roads are open, and bridges along the way can bear the weight of heavily laden trucks.
And federal troops and Guardsmen from other states cannot be sent to a disaster area until their presence has been requested by the governors of the afflicted states.
Exhibit A on the bill of indictment of federal sluggishness is that it took four days before most people were evacuated from the Louisiana Superdome.
The levee broke Tuesday morning. Buses had to be rounded up and driven from Houston to New Orleans across debris-strewn roads. The first ones arrived Wednesday evening. That seems pretty fast to me.
A better question — which few journalists ask — is why weren’t the roughly 2,000 municipal and school buses in New Orleans utilized to take people out of the city before Katrina struck?
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