C&L's A Look Back At Hurricane Katrina: Douglas Brinkley: Bush’s Speech In Jackson Square Was A Phony

(Originally posted on 12/28/05) Historian Doug Brinkley, appeared on Scarborough Country and hit the President hard over his apparent abandoning of the people and the region that has been decimated by Hurricane Katrina. The residents are fuming down there because the politicians that talked tough after being embarrassed by the initial response and have since not followed up to help the region. In order for confidence to return to the area-the levees must be repaired first and foremost.

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BRINKLEY: It’s about leadership.

When you look at presidents, a Theodore Roosevelt or a Harry Truman or a Ronald Reagan, the great American presidents would not let a region die and suffer. They would have seen this as the bell ringing. This would be the moment that would define their presidency, and it is not too late for President Bush to do that. But he gave a very powerful speech in Jackson Square. The blue lights were behind him, and, if you read that speech, it was wonderful.

But the reality is, the speech is—was phony.

And we are not getting the funding. We are not getting the federal attention, and I think that it’s tragic. And if President Bush wants to ignore New Orleans, then just say so. Let us know. Let us know not to come back, there are never going to be levees built, that we are not going to be—there isn’t going to be a massive public works project.

You know, there are people where I’m at, in Houston, that want to work. They are looking to go back to New Orleans. Why not create a WPA, look at the leadership of somebody like Franklin Roosevelt during the Great Depression? Let’s see a little bit of that out of this president.


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