After witnessing the Bush administration response to Katrina, after watching his quick superficial speeches, after seeing his visit to the disaster area, I have come to the conclusion that this whole thing is such a huge inconvenience to him and his handlers that they have had a really hard time reacting to it with any kind of honesty and sincerity.
Bush has been beset with his failures in Iraq and has been focussing his attention on shoring up his position on Iraq. He has been trying to figure out how to respond to the Cindy Sheehan phenomenon. He has been explaining how the Iraqi Constitution really is a good thing, and how well things are going over there. And how we are going to continue to fight the good fight, and not shirk our responsibilities.
Bush has also been trying to reinforce his position on privatizing social security, a battle he has been losing steadily.
I believe all these have Bush thinking about his legacy and worried about how all these things are playing out. He needed Katrina like he needed a hole in the head.
His reaction, and that of his cronies, has been slow, dull and unreal, precisely because they have hoped against all hope, from the beginning, that it could not possibly be this bad. What more could go wrong has been an underlying question or feeling. They have really had a hard time getting their minds around this one and how to react. The holes in the levees, which they claimed no one imagined, happened. And it feels like they happened to them, not to the people of New Orleans.
I believe this attitude, more than anything, has created the delay in getting help to thousands of people who need it.
I don't intend giving them any sympathy, but I believe this has all become overload for what is, at its most fundamental level, an incompetent government.