You Can Take the Pom-Poms From the Man, But You Can't Take the Man From the Pom-Poms:
What a strange, bifurcated world our distressingly small George Bush appears to live in. Here he is, our goddamn President, sitting just to the west and south of miles and miles of ruined houses, businesses, and neighborhoods in New Orleans, and here's what he says, under a backdrop of a hideously smiling Mardi Gras jester: "It may be hard for you to see, but from when I first came here to today, New Orleans is reminding me of the city I used to come to visit. It's a heck of a place to bring your family. It's a great place to find some of the greatest food in the world and some wonderful fun. And I'm glad you got your infrastructure back on its feet. I know you're beginning to welcome citizens from all around the country here to New Orleans. And for folks around the country who are looking for a great place to have a convention, or a great place to visit, I'd suggest coming here to the great -- New Orleans."

So, just fer the record here, hundreds of thousands of people who used to live in New Orleans have been scattered to the American wind and those who wanna rebuild not only don't know if they can because of a lack of public services, not only don't know if FEMA or insurance is gonna come through, not only don't even know if their neighborhoods will be allowed to be rebuilt, but, even if they overcome those hurdles, don't know that a year after rebuilding if they're neighborhoods will have reached a kind of critical mass that allows the resurrection of a neighborhood to continue or be halted, according to the new rebuilding plan.

The President praised the progress in New Orleans after viewing it from the interstate on the drive from the airport to the Convention Center. Just about every article about the President's trip and CNN this morning noted Bush's lack of actually looking around the city. Said Ed Reams, WDSU reporter on CNN's American Morning, "When you talk about the president saying that he's seeing pretty dramatic change, it's hard for people who are not back in their homes to think anything is pretty dramatic down here, other than the fact that they're not back in their homes. A lot of people still just trying to get back into the city, trying to figure out exactly what's going on with insurance, trying to figure out what's going on with any kind of grants, just trying to figure out the master plan of the city. Right now people are not getting a lot of answers. So when they hear the president saying that he's seen a pretty dramatic change, a lot of folks who want to come back here and that are here right now just don't see it that way."

But that ain't gonna stop Bush from encouraging everyone, like a pathetic refugee from a Wayne's World video festival, to "Party on." But it's par for the course, is it not? For, as we fondly remember, Bush told us after 9/11 to go shopping. So, like, basically, Bush's solution to major disasters is not unlike the reaction of the members of Deltas in Animal House who, when facing failure or expulsion, responded with "Road trip" or "Toga party." In other words, Bush wants everyone to second line dance on graves, piss hurricanes on ruins, and toss shrimp tails into the toxic streets.

And while Bush's speech in New Orleans was a mercifully short recitation of meaningless numbers just to make him look good, in Mississippi later, Bush was rambling like a Ritalin-snortin' teenager playin' with his XBox 360 while talkin' on his cell phone. Here's a great "what the fuck" moment: "And so what can we do? Well, first thing is we can focus on repairing homes. That's not going to do you very good down here in Waveland. I understand that. Tommy and I and the Governor and Marsha just drove by -- there's no homes to repair. It's just been flattened. That's what the people of America have got to understand." Yet, Bush had said earlier, the people of this flattened area have more hope now: "[T]here's a little bounce in people's step," which might be from dodging all the rubble still on the ground, but, still, and, c'mon, what a bizarre thing to say.

The man was a cheerleader back in his days at Andover. Such formative experiences follow a man through his life, where he knows he's not someone who can do, but only someone who can watch and yell support, even when the score is 35 to nothin'. Someone who can shake his groove thing and lead a chant when his team is being squashed. Cheerleaders have to live in a state of unreality for pyramids would fall and waves would flounder if they lost their enthusiasm. And even when their team's defeated, they just come back, again and again, and cheer for lost causes, hoping everyone in the stands goes along. It's what we see in Bush time and again, on Katrina, on Iraq, on the economy: a failure to demonstrate an understanding of reality, just endless smiling and leading a chant of "Defense" whenever the opposition attempts to say differently. The sad delusion of the cheerleader is believing he or she is actually having an effect on the outcome of the game.

(By the way, for real laughs, check out the New Orleans Time-Picayune's photos of Bush's visit. Look at the last one there. Why the fuck is Bush tenderly caressing the face of Boysie Bollinger, chair of a shipbuiding company? Is he gonna kiss him? Poke out his eyes? Just fuckin' weird.)

(And, by the way, again, here's a couple of places to donate to do some real good for the region: The Northwest Louisiana Food Bank, the Mississippi Food Network, and, of course, Habitat for Humanity.)