In spite of my partisanship, I didn’t expect the first White House Katrina anniversary shot to be quite this pathetic.
Obviously, Bush is in an incredibly weak position on Katrina, but I have yet to see Rove — characteristically defiant when the chips are down — pull back or get this defensive with the visuals. (Just more evidence, I believe, that these guys are spent.)
Until late last week, the Administration’s strategy was to organize Bush’s Gulf trip around the reconstruction effort and dollars expended, framing Bush in front of government-funded renewal projects. Perhaps sensing a perceptual disaster, however, BushCo. switched tactics at the last minute, deciding to identify itself, instead, with the classic American “can do”/survivor spirit. (A little projection there, maybe?)
It’s expectable Bush would first dive into the old well, seeking safety and credibility by wrapping himself in the military at Mississippi’s Kessler Air Force base. At the same time, I’m surprised by the shallowness of this shot, actually turning a (ethnically-balanced) group of soldiers into paparazzi in order to manufacture a sense of popularity.
Katrina aside, could there be a more damning exhibit of the exploitation of military loyalty?
(image: Eric Draper/White House. August 28, 2006. Biloxi Mississippi. whitehouse.gov)