Floundering

If Washington’s handling of Katrina have convinced any fence-sitters that some of our problems like Iraq and budget deficits were due to poor planning, then Bush and the Republicans are in a heap of trouble.

The violence of Hurricane Katrina and his faltering response to it have left to Mr. Bush the task not just of physically rebuilding a swath of the United States, but also of addressing issues like poverty and racial inequality that were exposed in such raw form by the storm.

The challenge would be immense for any president, but is especially so for Mr. Bush. He is scrambling to assure a shaken, angry nation not only that is he up to the task but also that he understands how much it disturbed Americans to see their fellow citizens suffering and their government responding so ineffectually.

For Mr. Bush, this was a moment for the country to turn away from what he and his aides have dismissively labeled “the blame game” toward a hopeful vision of a rebuilt Gulf Coast and a smarter government.

But it is not yet clear that his performance will stanch the political wounds he has suffered or ensure that he can avoid being hobbled through his second term, not just by what he lost in the faltering response to Hurricane Katrina but by the rising death toll in Iraq, sky-high energy prices and worrisome deficits.

From The New York Times.

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