Kamioner: Bush at Katrina, Biden in Texas

One was pilloried. One gets softballs.

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As regular readers of this column know, I served with the Red Cross in Louisiana in September of 2005 in the Katrina Relief Operation.

The six weeks I was there saw Red Cross personnel and others on the ground getting a lot of attention from the press. The main question we were asked went something like this, “Aren’t you ashamed of President Bush?” Or, “How can this happen in America? Isn’t this the fault of President Bush?” After we tried to explain to them that President Bush didn’t control the weather, they scampered off to get a better quote.

Now, was there an administrative debacle during the Katrina effort? Yes. But Bush was far from the only culprit and likely the least of them. Then Louisiana Governor Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Nagin were much more to blame. Even the Red Cross was caught off guard by the magnitude of the disaster.

Bush’s big issue? He named an underwhelming leader to run FEMA. However, after the press savaged him for weeks while he was trying to work the myriad problems that came with Katrina, Bush acknowledged his mistake and when he visited Louisiana went out of his way to ask questions and not make it only a photo op.

Though here is a different photo op, of the author during down time at Southern University in Baton Rouge, site of the Red Cross Minidome Shelter. The red “geek” vest was official Red Cross attire. The pictured galpal, a Louisiana National Guard member who had also served in the Russian Army, jazzed it up for me. Don’t ask.

And now we come to Biden and Texas. As we know, Texas has been hit hard by winter storms. Millions have lost power and heat. This analyst has a close friend on a ranch thirty miles east of Austin. She lost power, her pump house froze, and the pipes burst. Phone service was out. Heat was affected. She eventually told me she was dealing with a “cold and dark” scenario.

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And where was the press that had done so much to trash George Bush when Katrina hit? Well, there was that headline about logs on the Oval Office fire. Then we found out that Joe Biden has an early bedtime. Oh yeah, then the gloves really came off when it was revealed Jill Biden wore a scrunchie in public.

Were there questions on immediate federal aid? No. How many questions on when Biden would be visiting the Lone Star state? Zip. Was Biden a monster because he didn’t drop everything else so he could run to Texas and get in the way? Nope. The media merely stood up on their hind legs and gratefully gobbled any yummy morsel it was fed from the White House.

The problem in this instance isn’t with Biden. He wisely stayed put and let the ultra-competent Governor Greg Abbott of Texas get on with his job. Biden is going to visit soon. Well played. The issue here is with the wholesale hypocrisy of the media. Bush was an uncaring out of touch tyrant because he didn’t get on the ground and emote. Biden does the same thing and gets no flak whatsoever. Forget about hurricanes and snow storms. It’s the leftist press that is the biggest disaster in this country.

David Kamioner
meet the author

David Kamioner is a veteran of U.S. Army Intelligence and an honors graduate of the University of Maryland's European Division. He also served with the Pershing Nuclear Brigade and the First Infantry Division. Subsequent to that he worked for two decades as a political consultant, was part of the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina disaster relief effort in Louisiana, ran a homeless shelter for veterans in Philadelphia, and taught as a college instructor. He serves as a Contributing Editor for LifeZette.

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