REMNICK: The White House Under WaterQuicklink submitted by Amanda Lang Permalink
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|And yet, to a frightening degree, Bushs faults of leadership and character were brought into high relief by the crisis. Suntanned and relaxed after a vacation so long that it would have shamed a French playboy, Bush reacted with fogged delinquency, as if he had been so lulled by his summer sojourn that he was not quite ready to acknowledge reality, let alone attempt to master it. His first view of the floods came, pitifully, theatrically, from the window of a low-flying Air Force One, and all the President could muster was, according to his press secretary, Its devastating. Its got to be doubly devastating on the ground. The moment demanded clarity of mind and rigorous governance, and yet he could not summon them. The performance skills Bush eventually mustered after September 11thin his bullhorn speech at Ground Zero, in his first speech to Congresseluded him. The whole conceit of his Presidency, that he was an instinctive chief executive backed by grownups like Dick Cheney and tactical wizards like Karl Rove, now seemed as water-logged as Biloxi and New Orleans. The mismanagement of the Katrina floods echoed the White House mismanagementthe cavalier posture, the wretched decisions, the self-delusionsin postwar Iraq.|
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