Your Lying Eyes

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19 September 2005

Katrina Effects

What will be the lingering effect of Katrina? I mean on the body politic. The Bush administration is just not likely to come out of this well. All any Democrat has to do is play the tape of Chertoff sounding like Baghdad Bob insisting on NPR that there was no problem at the convention center to convince any sentient human that there's something terribly wrong at Homeland Security. And so there is a danger this will cost the Republicans seats in Congress next year.
Longer term, though, I think this will be a boost for Republicans (assuming Bush does nothing to further counteract it). One of the most underrated events leading to the Republican revolution of 1994 was the L.A. riots 2 years earlier. While the immediate political effect of the riots might have been to reinforce the notion that things were getting bad under Bush, the longer term impression it left was quite different. Remembering the lawlessness and the depraved pandering of liberal politicians and pundits, white voters pulled the Republican lever with gusto during the 1994 mid-term election.
The enduring image for white voters will be the overwhelming non-whiteness of the refugees, and this image will reinforce the vast gulf in the two societies. They will recall the legions of black faces crowding into the Superdome and stranded in flooded homes. They will picture these thousands of people unable or disinclined to take care of themselves; the lawlessness, the wanton looting, the otherness of it all. A minority of white voters ("liberals," we call them) will consider these same images to be the ineluctable and undeniable result of a racist society, and will say so. But the majority will resent this and, while they will be too intimidated to voice these feelings publicly, will voice them in the voting booth.
After a brief reluctance to play the race card, the usual suspects have moved into the "white guilt" phase rather pointedly (see this "archived" copy of Paul Krugman's latest now-subscriber-walled column via the QandO Blog). Some cooler heads are attempting to retain some perspective, but the more they crank-up the guilt rhetoric, the better for Republicans.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ziel, Thank you for posting something and it is a good one, worthy of some lenghty discussion.
A factor that you don´t take into account is the newest hurricane, which may spread refugees even further into the heartland. More of the majority may get even further fed up with the current administration and vote for whoever opposes it in the 06 congressional elections. That and Irag should continue the momentum and do well for the Dems as well in 08. After that, who´s to say?
But, as always, Americans suffer what we in the 12-Step community refer to as the "ISMs", incredibly short memory. The majority of Americans will always vote out of fear and the Repubs always play that card better with promised quick-fix solutions (more cops, more wars, lower taxes). The longer-term, painful but necessary solutions more likely presented by the left-leaners are wasted on the majority. But, that´s a nonvoting lib speaking.

September 21, 2005 5:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way, is the anonymous post before mine for real? Does he have any encyclopedias to sell?

September 21, 2005 5:50 AM  
Blogger ziel said...

That post was indeed spam - I got rid of it - I'll comment on your substantive post later

September 21, 2005 8:17 AM  
Blogger ziel said...

I don't think it's a "long term" vs. "short term" thing - it's more government vs. less government. So Republicans will prefer lower taxes while Dems will favor more spending. Even crime, it's the Dems who ask for more cops - the Republicans ask for longer prison terms. The big exception is war - and W. is the first Republican president to initiate a war as a policy initiative since McKinley. Bush justifies the war as a long term solution to terror as opposed to the easy way out of not fighting a war at all. I think the war was a major miscalculation, however.
But I dont' think the spread of refugees is likely to make people want to vote for Democrats - unless the Dems start to radically change their tune and show more concern for the residents than the refugees.

September 21, 2005 7:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A great insight for you to acknowledge the "miscalculation" that is Iraq. You may have done it before and I missed it. I ask again, why are we still there? Haven't we won? Saddam is gone, they have had elections and are developing a Constitution (ha). When are we finished there? Could our withdrawl be speeded up by the domestic opportunities for Halleburton, et al. caused by Katrina & Rita? Am I too cynical?
The worst thing about Bush (a long list in my book) is that while he obviously promotes lower taxes, he is spending money out his ass.
What makes a refugee who relocates different than a resident? This weather related crisis seems to me to be an incredible opportunity for a "jobs program". Can Geo see it?

September 23, 2005 9:23 PM  
Blogger ziel said...

What makes a refugee who relocates different than a resident?
If the "refugees who relocate" increase the crime rate of the area they've moved into, that makes them a helluva lot different from the residents.
This weather related crisis seems to me to be an incredible opportunity for a "jobs program".
Except for one problem - jobs programs don't work. The best "job program" would be to deport every illegal immigrant we can and stop letting new immigrants in - that would be one that might work.

September 23, 2005 10:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

George Bush spends more than any democrat could dream of for the sole purpose of getting votes. The Farm bill and now this Medicare prescription drug plan. I am helping clients apply and review plans as they come out and these old voters are gonna save a fortune compared to ther current bills which means the rest of us pick it up.

Al Gore could not have spent what his guy has and now every natural disaster we have to pay because people in Mississipi can't spell insurance never mind buy any

September 24, 2005 8:30 AM  

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