Still mad about Katrina
Many people faulted President Bush for his poor leadership following the storm. It's tough to argue that he was not "the man in charge", my personal feeling was that it was not his responsibilty. Few people seem to agree with that. But, if local politicians (Mayor Nagin, Governor Blanco) don't have primary responsibility for local problems, then what are they good for? Nothing, seemed to be the answer to that question in the days and weeks following the storm.
I will, however, fault the President heavily for one thing....his pledge of $20B in assistance. As Reagan said, the 9 scariest words are 'I'm from the government, and I'm here to help.' Accounts of the debit cards provided to the refugees being used for strip clubs, lottery tickets, etc...is evidence of the failure of this tactic. It's not so much the $20,000,000,000.00 figure that bothers me, but rather that the government was deciding how to issue it. A donation of half that much to private groups, such as the red-cross, would have done twice as much good (assuming Gov. Blanco would allow it).
Related to this, I recently got an e-mail forward discussing how ridiculously excessive the $250B request that state seantor Mary Landrieu (D) made was (NOTE: I seem to recall that this bill was also sponsored by the Republican state senator, as well, though that was not mentioned in the e-mail). Again, we have an issue of who should be rebuilding, and my opinion is unchanged. There is a lot of money to be made in New Orleans, and as real estate investors, contractors, construction workers, and everyone else begins to taste that, the city will be rebuilt better than before, and would do so without any government involvement. This is the beauty of the free market, and if Katrina teaches the government one thing, this should be it.