Josh Marshall is screaming at all of us, trying to get us to notice this, from today's New York Times:
Republicans said Karl Rove, the White House deputy chief of staff and Mr. Bush's chief political adviser, was in charge of the reconstruction effort, which reaches across many agencies of government and includes the direct involvement of Alphonso R. Jackson, secretary of housing and urban development.
He's put his chief political operative in charge of running the reconstruction of the Gulf Coast. Shouldn't that be raising a lot of questions -- a man whose entire professional experience is in political messaging and patronage?
But I think he can do what he wants. I think he shoveled a whole mess of sun'll-come-out-tomorrow into that speech, and I think he'll get very good grades for it. Brace yourself: He'll be over 50% soon. But, of course, there's no evidence that anyone in the administration can actually do anything -- can actually get any task accomplished apart from (a) lining rich people's pockets, (b) fighting a war (but not the aftermath), and (c) winning elections.
Still, you'll notice that most of the Katrina/New Orleans stories in the press and on TV from here on in will be of the upbeat, pulling-lives-together kind -- and now, for most people, the entire tearjerking, uplifting story of recovery has been stamped with the Bush brand.
Strange dichotomy on the right: At Free Republic a lot of people are worried about the cost of all this ("It's official. The 2000 campaign theme of 'limited government' was all a lie"), while at Lucianne.com the reaction is overwhelmingly schoolgirl crush, from both genders ("Just have to say that this is the greatest President of my lifetime and he can put his shoes under my bed anytime. Shhh...don't tell Laura I said that...."). But note this scary, if subliterate, comment in the Freep thread:
What other President has had the disasters as this man?
That could really become the line of Republicans and their coat-holders in the press from now on: No one has been tried as Bush has been tried. Therefore, nothing that goes wrong is his fault.