Wednesday, September 07, 2005

"We're Problem Solvers"

Have you any idea how silly you look, Bush, sitting there with your cabinet at your board room table, flanked by your Cheney to the right and your Rumseld to the left, wagging your finger at the news camera and telling the world what a great, decisive leader you are? "I'll tell you what I'm going to do," you scolded. "I'm going to lead." And, with that irritating smirk, you had the utter gall to say--of yourself and, presumably, the cabinet that surrounded you: "We're problem solvers. We solve problems."

Well, no, Bush. That's not quite how I see it. It's not quite how millions of other Americans see it. It's certainly not how you're perceived in the rest of the world, so far as I can tell. You're viewed not as problem-solvers, but as problem-makers. In Iraq. At the United Nations. And most recently in your federal response to the Gulf Coast disaster.

How do you explain the arrival of life-saving and life-supporting aid at the New Orleans Convention Center--in time to watch the departure of the last of the storm victims who had been sheltered there? How do you explain the arrival of the USS Iwo Jima, with hospital facilities, beds, and medical supplies--too late to receive more than a handful of the sick and injured? How do you explain the presence, in the wings, of thouands of federal troops just waiting for the signal to step in, but lacking the orders to move until days after they were needed. Problem-solvers, Bush? Leadership? When do you finally learn to hold yourself accountable? When do you finally begin to hold accountable those people you appoint to responsible jobs? Jobs, in this case, on which lives depend.

A leader, it would seem to me, would need to have some measure of sensitivity to those he presumes to lead. An ear for suffering. What kind of sensitivity, Bush, leads you to chatter idly about Trent Lott rebuilding his mansion, and being able to sit back again one day and enjoy the view from his porch? Trent Lott? The first among the needy? Or to joke about the wild times you used to have in New Orleans in your younger day? As if anyone, at such a desperate moment, cared to listen to your casual banter and your minimizing of their suffering with trivial, self-centered drivel.

It doesn't help to go down there and kiss another couple of black girls, Bush. I know this sounds harsh, but most everyone I know unfortunately suspects that you're just doing it for the PR. Real leaders don't sit around talking about their great leadership, Bush. They just get ahead and do it.


NINA said...


Anonymous said...

Peter, you've spoken so eloquently and succinctly these past several days and weeks. Thank you for your voice - it's a bit of a relief to know that I'm not alone in my seething anger over the flood of ineptitude. Arminée

dennis potokar said...

Peter, These clowns are destroying us. Let's throw neoconservative dogma into the dustbin of history where it belongs.

Bill Maher was great last week, I am looking forward to Friday night's show.

Anonymous said...

We will look back upon this time in history and marvel at the accomplishments of this administration – "damage control" so good that unprecedented incompetence is mistaken for great leadership. –JeffK