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According to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, the Obama administration’s efforts to help his state fell short, failing to reimburse it for storm preparation costs. He took to Twitter to vent his frustrations, taking on FEMA and the Obama administration for their slow responses to Hurricane Isaac-related requests. Political payback? Possibly. But the same media that had a field day hammering the Bush administration for its own slow response to Katrina have avoided publicizing Jindal’s remarks like the plague. Perhaps it is because Jindal, unlike former Gov. Blanco, was both proactive in his response to this storm–and a Republican.
Meanwhile the administration, seemingly unnerved by Mitt Romney’s visit, attempted damage control, and the media was willing to take up their effort, absent a shred of skepticism. The San Francisco Chronicle published a piece in which White House spokesman Jay Carney claimed that Obama reached his own decision to visit Louisiana before Mitt Romney’s intentions became known. Yet the paper also noted that the Obama campaign didn’t announce its cancellation of a tour stop in Cleveland earlier Monday until Friday, only hours before Romney arrived. ABC News re-interated Carney’s claim, even as it failed to mention the aforementioned cancellation.
Perhaps the best news here is that the president will actually make it to Louisiana at all. When flooding overwhelmed Tennessee in May of 2010, the president was missing in action, despite the fact that 31 people were killed in three states. The city of Nashville endured a flood that caused over a billion dollars in damage, making the crisis one of the most expensive natural disasters in American history–even as it was virtually ignored by the media. Nor did Obama bother to visit the areas of the South devastated by tornados in April of 2011, despite 45 people being killed, and scores of others being left injured and homeless. During that disaster, much likes this current one, the president was also campaigning — when he wasn’t golfing.
Most Americans won’t remember those failures of leadership because the same hopelessly in-the-tank media that made the Katrina/Bush story an archetype for government failure can’t possibly bring themselves to apply the same standard of criticism to this president. No doubt the current president will be hailed by that same media when he finally touches down in Louisiana. When one is a Democrat, “leading from behind” is perfectly acceptable.
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