Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Heckuva Job All the Gop Candidates Will Have Their Katrina Moments

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Heckuva Job All the Gop Candidates Will Have Their Katrina Moments

Article excerpt

We should remember many things about what New Orleans endured 10 years ago, and the political fallout isn't near the top of the list. Still, Hurricane Katrina did the Bush administration great damage - and conservatives have never stopped trying to take their revenge. Every time something has gone wrong on President Barack Obama's watch, critics declare the event "Obama's Katrina." By one count, he's had 23.

Somehow, though, these putative Katrinas end up having little political impact. Partly that's because many weren't disasters at all. For example, the teething problems of Healthcare.gov were embarrassing but eventually resolved and at this point Obamacare looks like a huge success.

Beyond that, Katrina was special in that it revealed a huge gap between image and reality. Ever since 9/11, former President George W. Bush had posed as a strong, effective leader. He wasn't. But as long as he was talking tough about terrorists, it was hard for the public to see what a lousy job he was doing. It took a domestic disaster to make his cronyism and incompetence obvious.

What we should have learned from Katrina, in other words, was that political poseurs with nothing much to offer besides bluster can nonetheless fool many people into believing they're strong leaders. And that's a lesson we're learning again as the 2016 presidential race unfolds.

Yes, I'm talking about Donald Trump. But he's not the only one.

Consider Chris Christie. Not long ago he was regarded as a strong contender, mainly because his tough-guy act played well in New Jersey. But he's been a terrible governor, presiding over repeated credit downgrades and killing a much-needed rail tunnel project.

Now Mr. Christie looks pathetic - did you hear the one about his plan to track immigrants as if they were FedEx packages?

Consider Jeb Bush, once hailed on the right as "the best governor in America" when all he did was have the good luck to hold office during a huge housing bubble. …

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