Former President George W. Bush actually had the gall to show up in New Orleans this week on the ten year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and do his best to try to revise history and the disastrous legacy of his administration and the mismanagement of the disaster.
Returning here Friday 10 years after this city was inundated, former President George W. Bush painted a rosy picture of the recovery since Hurricane Katrina, saying that the devastation had “sparked a decade of reform” in public schools and declaring, “New Orleans is back, and better than ever.”
Visiting one of the schools that became a charter in those early years after the storm, Mr. Bush focused on education, citing the failings of the city’s public schools before Hurricane Katrina, and the marked improvement since. “Isn’t it amazing? The storm nearly destroyed New Orleans and yet, now, New Orleans is the beacon for school reform,” he said.
Mr. Bush did not address what made the flooding a rich target for critics of his administration: the weakness of the initial response to the disaster, when federal, state and city agencies were widely seen as doing far too little to help the stranded and displaced, and doing it much too slowly. [...]
“All of us who are old enough to remember will never forget the images of our fellow Americans amid a sea of misery and ruin,” Mr. Bush said Friday. But twice, he said, “I hope you remember what I remember,” citing the work of military personnel, law enforcement and thousands of volunteers in rescuing, feeding, sheltering and rebuilding.
“In spite of the devastation, we have many fond memories,” he added, recalling sitting with Russel L. Honoré, the retired Army lieutenant general who coordinated the military response to the storm, “on top of one of those big ships, strategizing.”
Melissa Harris-Perry, filling in for Rachel Maddow this Friday evening took Bush to task for his remarks, and I for one am happy that at least one person in our corporate media was honest enough do just that.
I remember where I was and what I was doing while the residents of the city who could not get out played like some flow motion horror story on our television screens while Bush fiddled, and partied and stayed on vacation, and it was just that... horrifying, and disgusting and infuriating.
After playing some of Bush remarks this week, here's some of Perry's response:
HARRIS-PERRY: Alright, for some of us, that was nearly impossible to watch. So let me just say that what I hope we'll remember is a bit different. I hope you will remember that more than 1800 people died. I hope you remember what I remember, that it took three days before anyone was evacuated from the Superdome or the convention center.
I hope you remember what I remember, that in the aftermath of the storm, survivors were given one-way tickets to evacuate, so many could never find their way home.
I hope you remember what I remember, that as the waters of Lake Pontchartrain were pouring over the levies of 17th Street Canal, President Bush was delivering a birthday cake to Sen. John McCain.
And I hope you remember what I remember, that as thousands of people found themselves trapped with no food or water or sanitation, President Bush remained on vacation for two days, hanging out with a country music star among other things.
Perry slammed Bush and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu for taking what appeared to be a victory lap, and discussed the real progress, or lack thereof in New Orleans with Katrina Truth's Gina Womack.
It's amazing that just ten years later, they're hoping the country is suffering from a case of collective amnesia. It's up to all of us not allow them to do that.