When Mr. Bush spent time delivering a political speech joining Iraq and WWII like Siamese twins days after a hurricane devastated the lives of tens of thousands of poor and mostly black folks, did anyone imagine the worst?
Did bloggers ask, "What else did he do that day besides play politics? " Did someone wonder if he purposely frittered body-saving time away for some self-serving reason? Doubt begets doubt, and stuff happens.
When Condi Rice was laughing it up at a Broadway play at the same time, did some people wonder if she had stopped up her ears, or was she hoping she wouldn't be spotted? Or worse, was she not scared and sickened enough by the human misery to get out of New York and shed a tear in Louisiana?
What were Americans thinking when presidential supporters tried to shift blame for the pain on to those who did not, or were not able to, leave before the storm? Did it sound judgmental? Did it sound mean and hardhearted?
What went through their minds when House Speaker Hastirt said the city looked like it might be better bulldozed than rebuilt? Was he saying it was too expensive to save? Or is it too unimportant on the Republican agenda?
Why do many Americans think that a disaster at Scarsdale, New York or Fort Lauderdale, Florida would get a quick, generous reaction so different from the delayed, trickle-down response for New Orleans?
It's because a familiar mean and flippant kind of words was the first that came from the comfortable end of the world when New Orleans' world lay at the bottom of a concrete septic tank.
Those comfortable people are coming over as fake mourners and false chest beaters. They have aroused the darkest of suspicions, unbidden but persistent, that may linger long after the air over New Orleans has cleared. Didn't they really care enough?
Stuff happens, and they brought it on themselves.
Edith Fletcher is Editor PoliticalPosts.com