Tuesday, September 06, 2005



So, on "Fox News Sunday," panelist Bill Kristol basically asserted that Hurricane Katrina would not have much of a material effect on George W. Bush's second-term agenda.

Are you kidding me!?!? To the extent that the "second-term agenda" (i.e. Social Security, extending tax cuts, etc.) wasn't already in trouble, Katrina just swept it away. Kristol said that he sees no sign that suddenly people are want more taxes instead of less taxes.

Oh well -- so much for that. Late last week, Grover Norquist stated that the hurricane shouldn't distract the Senate from passing death tax relief. Bill Frist initially scheduled it for this week. Not any more:
One sign of GOP unease: The Senate was supposed to vote this week on whether to permanently repeal the estate tax, but Frist said yesterday that the bill will be temporarily shelved. The announcement came two hours after Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) called for Republicans to back off tax cuts in the wake of the Katrina tragedy.

This isn't exactly cause for cheering if you're a conservative -- but it is a bow to reality.

But, here's the big question: Did Kristol just sleep through 1992? Did he forget what Hurricane Andrew did to President H.W. Bush's presidency? Yes, Clinton's "It's the economy, stupid" was the memorable political slogan. But, the Bush administration's seeming slowness to respond to Hurricane Andrew helped craft the image that it was out-to-lunch when it came to domestic matters (the racial component evident in Katrina didn't come into play-- that came into play earlier in the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles). Kristol was Dan Quayle's chief of staff at the time. You'd think he would remember the curve ball that Mother Nature can toss into the political ballgame.

How weird that Iraq and hurricane's may play parallell roles in the respective legacies of two George Bushes.

Also, there's a clear major difference of opinion between erstwhile colleagues Kristol and David Brooks.
If the terrorist attacks mugged liberals into reality and turned them into 9/11 conservatives, one can't ignore the possibility that the events of this past week may force many Republicans to become "Katrina liberals." At the very least, if one thought the Bush spending was insane in the first term -- baby, buckle your seat belts and hand over your wallets for the budget-busting spree in the second term.

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