It is becoming clear, and has been for two or three days here, of the utter failure of local government and state government to handle the circumstance. Everybody is out there saying, "We need a Giuliani! We need a Giuliani!" What was Rudy Giuliani? He was a mayor. Has anybody seen Ray Nagin? Was Ray Nagin at the Superdome? Was Kathleen Blanco at the Superdome? Were these people there? We saw Rudy everywhere. Yeah, we need a Rudy, fine, but Rudy was not part of federal government, folks; Rudy was not part of any FEMA organization; Rudy was not part of any federal bureaucracy. He was mayor of New York, and when you saw pictures of Rudy on TV he was flanked by the New York police chief and he was flanked by New York fire chief, and he was flanked by New York City officials, and the governor, of course, Pataki was there as well. But you haven't seen that in this circumstance.
Mark Steyn in The Telegraph:
...Ray Nagin, the Anti-Giuliani, a Mayor Culpa who always knows where to point the finger.
Jim Geraghty at National Review Online:
Look, Rudy Giuliani might have run around with Judith Nathan before his divorce, but he was a hell of a leader in our darkest hours....
I would note that we’ve seen some pretty intense disasters in other parts of the country, like planes crashing into skyscrapers and subsequently collapsing, ... and yet somehow, none of these disasters had the total breakdown of law and order, civil society, etc....
Just want to refresh your memory -- four years ago, New York and Washington, planes falling out of the sky, thousands dead, no idea what the hell is coming next… and the cops, among others, showed up to work.
So what's the difference between Katrina and 9/11?
Oh, just this: In New York on 9/11, hardly any infrastructure was destroyed.
Nothing outside the immediate vicinity of Ground Zero suffered so much as a scratch.
I won't get into the mistakes New York City made before 9/11, including "poor communication, gulfs in cooperation between police and firefighters and grave deficiencies in the city's 911 emergency telephone network," or Giuliani's absurd decision to place the city's crisis control "bunker" in the World Trade Center's Tower 7, where it was destroyed by the event for which it was most needed. The point is that the reaction to 9/11 was better in part because it was possible to react. Limbaugh and Steyn and Geraghty know that -- but they know most of their readers and listeners don't. And they'll seize any advantage.
Incidentally, Geraghty's column is a response to Anne Rice's 9/4 New York Times op-ed; it's directly addressed to Rice and refers to New Orleans as the city "you live in." Problem is, Rice moved to La Jolla, California, several months ago -- a fact Geraghty (or a National Review fact-checker) might have gleaned from the fact that the op-ed begins:
La Jolla, Calif.
or from this sentence about New Orleans:
I was born in the city and lived there for many years.
So Geraghty gets the Right-Wing Remedial Reading Award for today.