Melissa-Harris Perry Takes On 'Self-Written History' On Katrina Response At Bush Library

If you didn't think the new George W. Bush library and its "Decision Theater" was bad enough already for the history revisionism on the invasion of Iraq, wait until you get a load of how Bush's disastrous handling of Hurricane Katrina is treated.

If you didn't think the new George W. Bush library and its "Decision Theater" was bad enough already for the history revisionism on the invasion of Iraq, as MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry explained this Thursday evening when filling in for Rachel Maddow, wait until you get a load of how Bush's disastrous handling of Hurricane Katrina is treated.

HARRIS-PERRY: What are you doing this weekend? Got any big plans?

If for some reason you happen to find yourself in or around Dallas, Texas, there is a brand spanking-new attraction that just popped up in your own backyard. Introducing the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

Yesterday was the grand opening for the general public and this weekend marks the library`s long-anticipated inaugural weekend.

And if you`re going to be in Dallas over the next few delays, I`m telling you, you just must check it out, if only for the shock value.

Last night on this show, Rachel discussed the main attraction inside the new Bush Library, which is an exhibit called Decision Point Theater. It`s basically an interactive game where you can reenact the biggest
decisions that George W. Bush had to make as president. Decisions like should we invade Iraq.

The problem, as Rachel pointed out last night, when you try to say no, we should not invade! Please let`s do anything but invade Iraq -- President Bush pops up on the screen and starts making the case of all the
overwhelming evidence against Saddam Hussein, evidence that has since been thoroughly discredited 10 years later in what`s supposed to be a library is being taught as fact that Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat who must be dealt with unilaterally if necessary?

So there is a certain shock value to the new Bush Library. But if the Iraq war isn`t exactly your thing, if you want to relive the glory of another Bush decision, the George W. Bush Library gives you the opportunity
to do that. [...]

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, hurricane Katrina. What is the decision point that the Bush Library asks you to confront when it comes to hurricane Katrina? A disaster in which nearly 2,000 Americans died, many in their
own homes. What`s the decision point that`s laid before you at the Bush Library? [...]

HARRIS-PERRY: Excuse me, restoring order was the problem when it came to hurricane Katrina? Seriously? The main dilemma faced by President Bush when it came to the government`s response to Hurricane Katrina was quelling disorder?

The Bush Library takes you through this whole scenario about how to deal with the problem of looters and how to restore law and order in New Orleans. That is the decision point.

No mention at all of, you know, search and rescue. Eight years later, the people of New Orleans who were basically left to starve and dehydrate and die in our city, mostly elderly people and children, eight years later, these people are memorialized at the Bush Library as public enemies, not as citizens who were in need of relief. [...]

HARRIS-PERRY: OK. The legacy of hurricane Katrina that`s on display at the Bush Library is that order had to be restored to the lawless and violent city of New Orleans, and thank goodness President Bush was there to make the right call.

Wow. This game at the Bush Library is supposed to make you feel the intense pressure of the presidency, the minute-by-minute decisions you have to make as developments unfold all around you. [...]

PERRY: So it should be noted that the level of urgency that`s on display inside Decision Point Theater was not so much on display when it came to the decider himself. This was President Bush, the morning that Katrina made land fall, sharing a cake with John McCain in Arizona. This was after his administration had already been informed that levees in New Orleans had been breached.

This was President Bush on day two of the disaster yakking it up with the country music star in southern California. That night as the situation was growing worse and worse in New Orleans, George W. Bush decided to return to his ranch in Crawford, Texas, to finish up his vacation.

When he finally headed back to D.C. the next day, President Bush got an aerial view of the damage in Louisiana and Mississippi. But by Friday, five days into that disaster, his aides at the White House were putting together DVDs of news coverage to convince President Bush how bad things were in New Orleans.

During those five days, President Bush was not on the edge of his seat as the Bush Library would like you to believe. He was basically checked out. That`s the real history.

The truth is, the American people have already decided how they felt about President Bush`s leadership during Katrina and while his approval ratings before Katrina weren`t that impressive, they never recovered afterwards. Fifteen months after the failed response, Democrats took control of the House. They took control of the Senate. And they took a majority of gubernatorial seats across the country.

The public has already decided, hey, here in Dallas this weekend, you`ve got some time? Go see how President Bush saved a city from disaster, restored a sense of calm in all of the disorder.

About Heather

Comments

We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.