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Thursday, October 27, 2005


With Bush's popularity reaching all time lows, President Bush is conceding battles in an attempt to win the GOP's war on the common man.


On September 9 I wrote about how the Republican plan to rebuild the Katrina devastation by exploiting labor. President Bush had decided to defy the 1931 Davis-Beacon act and allow contractors to pay workers below the prevailing wage.

Yesterday, Bush reversed himself because he didn’t want another political disaster on his hands. Rep. George Miller (D) of Martinez introduced a joint resolution into the House that would have forced a vote next week. With Supreme Court hearings on the horizon, Bush decided to just spend some money and avoid the fight.

It’s a huge victory for labor, but don’t give Bush any credit for this. Bush caved in to far-right elements of the Republican party who wanted to use the Katrina disaster as an excuse to force a conservative “new deal” down our throats. In response to Katrina, the GOP gave away billions in corporate welfare without accountability. When it came down to paying fair wages for the reconstruction, however, the GOP's first instinct was to screw over lower middle class, blue collar workers. People who expend their own blood, sweat and tears supporting this country's infrastructure deserve a lot better. To Bush and the GOP, a person is only as valuable and important as the size of their bank account.


"Don't blame FEMA. This is our responsibility." Those were the words of Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida in response to the slow response to Hurricane Wilma. People waited hours in line to receive inadequate amounts of supplies. Even though Katrina occurred just last month, all levels of government failed in its response to Wilma. Not coincidentally, these words mirrored the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy response to Katrina: Blame the state, not FEMA.

So what do we have here? Is Jeb Bush really taking the blame because he feels that it's his fault? Or is Jeb taking blame as a form of "my bad" gesture towards his more powerful brother? I choose the latter. President Bush is caught in a tailspin due to his failures with Katrina and Harriet Miers, not to mention lingering resentment over Iraq and his failed economic policies. With a key Supreme Court nominee and potential indictments on the agenda, President Bush cannot afford any blame from Wilma.

So his brother stepped in and bailed him out.

Still, Jeb, like most Republicans, continues to live in la-la land when it comes to the reality of surviving in the aftermath of a hurricane. "People had ample time to prepare. It isn't that hard to get 72 hours' worth of food and water." Translation: Blame the victim. This is a very common Republican tactic. (see racism) Jeb essentially says "These people could have prepared and they didn't, so it's not really our fault for being slow." The truth, however, is much different. People may be able to save 72 hours worth of food and water, but what about refrigeration? Many residents reported waiting in lines to get ice to keep their medications cold. Others needed cold milk for their babies. What about gas? 72 hours worth of gasoline isn't easy to do either; many people filled up before the hurricane just to waste gas driving around to escape its wrath.

So Jeb took responsibility -- away from George W. But he didn't really take blame for the failures of Wilma. According to the Bushes, those who suffer should have helped themselves. Surely they could have chartered a private jet, right?

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