Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Rove's conservative majority

The complex process of accepting responsibility, from today's ABC's The Note:

Tomorrow's speech and Friday's National Day of Prayer will serve as a two-act play intended to "elevate the discussion," get the focus off of the recriminations, and try to get the country pointed towards reconstruction and healing.

The President will "sketch a vision of the future," and "has this in his bones at a granular level," but executing it is the challenge, especially on race and class.

The speech will deal with the racial component of Katrina, and this official acknowledged that the Bush-RNC efforts to reach out to African-Americans have been "hurt a lot" by what's happened. And the White House realizes that "one speech doesn't solve this" for a party that was already suffering a credibility deficit with minorities.

You would be correct to equate the complete and total sea-change for Bush this week -- we've seen a trusted ally nixed under pressure and an acceptance of full responsibility!! -- to the clear and present threat that Katrina posses not just to the 2006 elections but also to Rove's designs for a continued Republican majority.

Yes, poll numbers are rock-bottom and need to be addressed.

BUT, Bush's speech Thursday night, the biggest speech of his second term, will be an attempt to craft a Republican (in philosophy) response to the crisis in the Gulf. Why?

Historically speaking, events such as Katrina favor the Big Government party that polls well with social issues. With that in mind, George W. Bush will try and present a conservative agenda toward reconstructing New Orleans, in today's NY Times:

At tomorrow's speech, the president is to outline his vision more comprehensively than he has to date. A top aide said he will stress that New Orleans officials will dictate how the city will be rebuilt, but will also make plain the reconstruction should reflect his vision of government -- including reducing regulatory obstacles and emphasizing entrepreneurship over big government, the aide said. He will discuss plans to provide health care, education, jobs and housing assistance to flood victims, another aide said.

With some Republicans frustrated that the federal government essentially cut a $62 billion blank check for phase one of the recovery effort, the Bush administration and congressional GOP leaders are working on proposals to encourage business investment in the devastated areas and to test conservative ideas such as portable benefits for evacuees who want to reestablish in new locales, low-tax business zones and waived environmental regulations.

More after the speech, of course...

(BTW, a great counterpoint is found in Slate: "Democrats need to acknowledge that Karl Rove's justification for Republicans running on their response to 9/11 now applies to Katrina as well. Arguments about life and death issues shouldn't be dainty or avoided at the dinner table.")

(BTW 2, make no mistake about it. Rudy as (an effective) Reconstruction Czar will mean Rudy as (likely) 2008 president.)


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