Howard Dean...what can you say...
More eloquent people than I have written about the DNC Chairman, the gift that keeps on givning. Hugh Hewitt, Mitch Berg, KvM just to name a few have waxed poetic on the utterances of Howard Dean. Today Chairman Dean was on "The Situation Room" with Wolf Blitzer and after reading the transcript, it is impossible not to offer a word or two.
Wolf was asking Chairman Dean about the political fall-out of the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.
"BLITZER: Do you believe the response from the federal government, the Bush administration specifically, the president of the United States, that there were racist or racial overtones in that response? DEAN: No, I don't think so. What I do think, however, is the way our society has worked in the last 20 years -- actually, a lot longer than that, but in the last 20 years when nobody has been talking about it, is that, in fact, those below the top 20 percent in America, white, black, and brown, have been significantly disadvantaged.The average income in this country went down $1,700 since George Bush has been president for everybody under the top 20 percent. So, 80 percent of Americans saw their income drop. There's something the matter with a country that does not want to talk about what's good for 80 percent of the people and focuses on what's great for 20 percent of the people. "
Well Mr. Chairman, the Census Bureau disagrees with that. In 1999 (the last year of the Clinton Administration) the 3-year median income in the US was $40,800. In 2004, the 3 year median income was $44, 473. Now, I'm sure Chairman Dean's supporters will say "He said that it was the bottom 80% that lost money", but remember that the defination of median is that half of the people make more and half make less.
"BLITZER: What about the Democratic governor of Louisiana, and the Democratic mayor of New Orleans, how much responsibility should they have for what happened to those poor people who suffered in the immediate aftermath of those levees collapsing? DEAN: As you know, Wolf, as you know, I was governor more almost 12 years. I think we had seven or eight nine emergencies during that time, states of emergency, under three presidents. And I can tell you that what you need when there's an emergency is the National Guard. The National Guard was in Iraq. BLITZER: Well -- a third of the National Guard troops of Louisiana were, approximately, were in Iraq. DEAN: And the equipment was in Iraq. "
He just can not let go of the idea that the war in Iraq is somehow responsible for the lack of response to Katrina. Even Wolf realizes the fallacy of this meme...However it was this exchange that really struck me (emphasis mine).
"BLITZER: But there were 1,000 -- at least 1,000 school busses in New Orleans, and none of them were mobilized to get poor people, old people, people who didn't have cars, out of that city as that hurricane, Category 5, was building up steam along the -- in the Gulf of Mexico. Who should have ordered that those school busses, to get drivers and start driving people who don't have cars out of the city? DEAN: That's an easy criticism to make, because beforehand you can blame everybody. You can blame the last four or five presidents -- BLITZER: Isn't that the responsibility of the mayor or the governor? DEAN: Unless you tell people what the sequence is, I can't answer that question. I have to tell me that the sequence was that the hurricane was known to be, going to hit New Orleans directly, which it didn't. And that those busses weren't under water, and that the people who were supposed to be driving them didn't -- BLITZER: On Saturday and Sunday there was no water in New Orleans. DEAN: Right. BLITZER: And that was the -- the hurricane hit Monday morning. DEAN: You're holding the mayor -- BLITZER: On Friday they knew this could potentially hit New Orleans, and that it could be a Category 4 or 5. DEAN: You're holding the mayor to a different standard. This is a Republican spin machine stuff. You're holding the mayor to a different standard than you are holding FEMA. "
Let that sink in for a moment dear reader...Holding the Mayor of NO responsible for not following his own evacuation plan is Republican spin machine stuff....but wait! There's more...
"BLITZER: Let's talk about a comment you made. "In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina we have a clear, moral responsibility to do a better job of ensuring social and economic justice for every American, and there is still far too much that we don't know about John Roberts' record and beliefs on these critical issues."You're making a connection between Katrina and the confirmation hearings of John Roberts, which begin on Monday. And I'm not exactly sure what the point is. DEAN: My point is that John Roberts has a record. John Roberts appears to be a wonderful, decent, family person, but, again, we get back to the question about whether you really care and whether you have compassion. It's not enough to say you care. It's what you've done. John Roberts' legal career has been about taking away every protection for young girls and women who want to participate in sports, for African-Americans and Hispanics, who want the equal same right to vote as everybody else, for taking away for women who believe they should determine what kind of health care they have, instead of having politicians do it.His entire legal career appears to be about making sure those folks don't have the same rights everybody else does. That's probably not the right thing to do two weeks after a disaster, where certain members of society clearly did not have the same protections that everybody else did because of their circumstances. Americans are fair people and they want a sense of justice. I know Judge Roberts loves the law. I'm not sure he loves the American people. BLITZER: So should the Senate reject his confirmation? DEAN: Based on what I know now, absolutely, yes. "
Based on what I know Chairman Dean, you are destined to be the Chairman of a minority party. I hope that is what you want, because as long as you continue to give the Republican Party in this fashion, that is exactly what you are going to get.