It seems that a giant wind storm is decimating this great country, spreading misery and malcontent in its wake. I’m talking about the punditry surrounding the government response to Katrina. It seems clear to me that no one level of government can hog all the blame for this incredible failure that has cost hundreds or even thousands of American lives and will affect all of us financially. Will every September of presidential inaugural years include heartbreaking and unprecedented castrophes from now on?

Via comes this list of quotes from the “compassionate conservatists” currently running the asylum, er, country. Here’s a small selection:

  • “I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees.” —President Bush
  • “Considering the dire circumstances that we have in New Orleans, virtually a city that has been destroyed, things are going relatively well.” —FEMA Director Michael Brown
  • “I have not heard a report of thousands of people in the convention center who don’t have food and water.” —Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff
  • “I mean, you have people who don’t heed those warnings and then put people at risk as a result of not heeding those warnings. There may be a need to look at tougher penalties on those who decide to ride it out and understand that there are consequences to not leaving.” — Rick Santorum [ed. a personal favorite which I read as “the poor need to be punished for their willful poverty”]
  • “What didn’t go right?” — President Bush
  • “Now tell me the truth boys, is this kind of fun?” —House Majority Leader Tom Delay

This does beg the questions: how many distasters does it take to topple a presidency? How much indifference to the average American’s security will the electorate suffer before holding their leaders accountable? As I frequently say, leaders don’t get respect for their power, but for the responsibility that they carry. Even if you think the Feds have been burdened with more than the appropriate amount of the blame for the failed Katrina preparations and remediations (which given the number of outlets of blathering is probably true), I hope we can agree that quotes above are unfortunate.

And yes, Tom Delay, this was kind of fun!