Boo-Birds and Monday Morning Quarterbacks

Boo-Birds and Monday-morning Quarterbacks

© David Burton 2005

Flooded New Orleans

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita have come and gone. Throughout Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Texas millions of people have survived and been saved by actions taken before, during and after the hurricane. Hundreds of thousands of residents of those states this very day are being sheltered and aided by the local, state and federal governments and by non-governmental and faith-based agencies. The American people have donated hundreds of millions of dollars, along with clothes food, toys and an untold number of volunteer man-hours.

In spite of all this, even before Katrina had completely departed from the Deep South, the boo-birds, the Monday morning quarterbacks and nay-sayers had started their shrill cacophonies of “I told you so”, “Why wasn’t this disaster foreseen and prevented?”, “It’s all President Bush’s fault”, “President Bush doesn’t care about blacks and the poor”, “It’s FEMA’s fault”, ”Why wasn’t help there sooner?”, “They should have done this instead of that”, and on and on and on. ENOUGH! There is work to be done now and in the foreseeable future. The people who were blathering and foaming at the mouth didn’t help. Instead, they compounded the problems of those whose lives were turned upside down by Katrina and Rita. They and we all know that mistakes and errors were made, as there always are at such times. Would that all of us were all-wise and omniscient. Without having the facts, the boo-birds joyfully pointed their fingers and assessed blame. That comes later. BUT, during and immediately after the twin disasters was not the time to see what went wrong.

While none would claim that nothing went wrong in preparing for and recovering from Katrina and later Rita, it might be well to note that much more went right. Warnings, preparations and evacuations preceded Katrina and Rita and untold lives were thus saved. Rescue efforts began the same day that Katrina struck and by Friday, some four days after the hurricane came ashore, much of the immediate rescue effort had succeeded, with thousands of stranded people rescued and with what now appears to be minimal loss of life. Repair of New Orleans’ failed levees and evacuation of those left stranded by the storm were well along in just one week.

When Rita came, lessons learned from Katrina were implemented and loss of life and suffering was held to a minimum.

I’ve learned that in times of great trouble, there are four kinds of persons: those that lead, those that follow, those that get out of the way, and those that point fingers, mouth off and get in the way. Most of us fall into the third category. We get out of the way and let those most qualified get on with their work. While most of us can’t fly the helicopters, man the rescue boats or police the affected areas, we can provide support with goods, money and with moral support. Most of us did this and hopefully continued to do so until such support was no longer required. Those that fall into the fourth category should have kept their mouths shut. Their time comes after the crisis is over. During the ongoing crisis, they needed to stop adding to the problem.

Having said this, let’s note a few facts. While most of the finger pointing has been directed at President Bush and the Federal government, “Some of the bitter medicine should go down the gullets of Louisiana lawmakers who diverted a record amount of U.S. Corps of Engineer money from flood control to pet projects.” (Ref. 1)

Democrats, particularly, Senator John Kerry from Massachusetts, have used the natural catastrophes of these two hurricanes to castigate the president and his administration and to repeat their invectives and claims of incompetence. The following quotes (Ref. 2) illustrate this.

    “Memo to John Kerry: It’s not all about you.
    “The rebuilding of the Gulf Coast, and the rebuilding of the lives disrupted by Hurricane Katrina ought to be a shared goal, not just more fodder for the unbridled ambitions of a failed presidential candidate."
    “He [Kerry] made a blatant – and shameful – pitch to Brown University students to use the hurricane and its aftermath as a rallying point."
    “It would be easy to ignore the latest self-serving Kerry bleatings were it not for the powerful contrast provided by another life-long Democrat –but one who is a native of New Orleans."
    “Writing in an oped in the Washington Post, Donna Brazile, who managed Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign, said, ‘I did not vote for George W. Bush – in fact, I worked pretty hard against him in 2000 and 2004. But on Thursday night [Sep 15, 2005], after watching him speak from the heart, I could not have been prouder of the president and the plan he outlined to empower those who lost everything and to rebuild the Gulf Coast.’
    “Brazile is as partisan as they come. . . . But for her, rebuilding is above petty partisanship.
    “’There are times when it seems that our nation is too divided ever to heal . . . But we are one nation. We are a family. And this is what we do. When the president asked us to pitch in, he wasn’t asking us to do anything spectacular. He was asking us to be Americans, and to do what Americans always do.’
    “Most Americans maybe, but not John Kerry.
    “It’s hard to imagine that Kerry and Brazile heard the same Bush speech. Actually it’s hard to imagine these two Democrats are living on the same planet.
    “So let John Kerry continue his whining and his carping and his quest for political advantage, while others, like Brazile roll up their sleeves.”

Other liberal Democrats sought to immediately place the blame for all the woes of hurricane Katrina on the Republicans. The following comments appeared in the Boston Herald (Ref. 3).

    “While liberal Democrats railed about the government not adequately funding the New Orleans levees that failed during hurricane Katrina, it must be noted that Congress had recently ‘passed a transit bill whose 6,371 pork projects cost $24 billion, 10 times more than the price of the levee New Orleans needed. Louisiana’s congressional delegation larded the bill with $540,580,200 worth of earmarks.’
    “Sen. Barack Obama, Illinois’ freshman Democrat, lamented about President Bush’s ‘inadequate empathy’ and complained about the government’s ‘passive indifference’ that ‘is as bad as active malice.’ NOTE: Since President Lyndon Johnson introduced the War on Poverty, some $6.6 trillion has been spent combating poverty. This is the Liberals’ typical solution to most problems: throw lots of money at the problem, preferably wealthy people’s money. Has all this money eliminated or reduced poverty or has it created an environment that has exacerbated the problem?
    “The senator [Obama] is called a ‘new kind of Democrat,’ which often means one with new ways of ignoring evidence discordant with old liberal orthodoxies about using cash – much of it spent through liberalism’s ‘caring professions’ – to cope with cultural collapse.”

  1. The Blame mustn’t end with Brown, Dan K. Thomasson, The Boston Herald, 09/14/05, pg 31.
  2. Dems at odds over gulf, Rachelle Cohen, The Boston Herald, 09/21/05, pg 31.
  3. Liberalism sustains ongoing storm, George F. Will, The Boston Herald, 09/14/05, pg 31.

  16 October 2005 {Article 3; Whatever_01}    
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