Of all the left-leaning pundits on CNN, Donna Brazile comes across as the most level-headed and the least smug, in part because the charismatic and sage Democratic strategist identifies herself as such and doesn’t pretend something she’s not (i.e., a nonpartisan observer). A few others may claim to be dispassionate, but they wear their liberal ideology on their sleeve.
And Brazile, despite her partisan leanings, does give Republicans credit where it is due as she did earlier today on CNN”s web-page, departing from the media-crafted narrative of the immediate past president’s incompetence in responding to the Katrina catastrophe:
Despite the many differences I had with former President George W. Bush on a range of public policy issues, or as he called them, “decision points,” I found common ground with him in one area, simply because we decided to put aside partisanship and do something good.
Hurricane Katrina’s devastation and the bungled rescue efforts are seared in the national memory. Bush’s “heckuva job” remark turned into a byword for government incompetence and public distrust. The shallowness of it coming at such a terrible and low point left deep wounds that are still healing. That was what it was.
Tapped in 2005 by the then-governor of Louisiana, Kathleen Blanco, “to serve on the state’s commission overseeing the long-term recovery from the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina,” Brazile saw more than just that one inopportune comment:
Bush understood the need for civility. I joined him despite my frustration because the need was too great for finger-pointing and blame-making. [Shortly after the hurricane hit,] He flew to New Orleans and addressed the nation: “Tonight I also offer this pledge to the American people: Throughout the area hit by the hurricane, we will do what it takes. We will stay as long as it takes to help citizens rebuild their communities and their lives.”
George W. Bush was good as his word. He visited the Gulf states 17 times; went 13 times to New Orleans. Laura Bush made 24 trips. Bush saw that $126 billion in aid was sent to the Gulf’s residents, as some members of his own party in Congress balked.
Bush put a special emphasis on rebuilding schools and universities. He didn’t forget African-Americans: Bush provided $400 million to the historically black colleges, now integrated, that remain a pride, and magnet for African-American students.
Read the whole thing.
It would be nice if more Democrats followed Brazile’s lead and acknowledged the basic decency of the immediate past president of the United States, his civility and his commitment to serving the American people, particularly citizens like those in Gulf region, displaced or otherwise harmed by a natural disaster.