Cargo cult politics
Posted by aogMonday, 19 September 2005 at 13:28 TrackBack Ping URL

Via the Brothers Judd I see that Lousianna Governor Kathleen Blanco has taken responsibility for the failures after hurricane Katrina. This strikes me as a perfect example of one of the side effects of Logo-Realism, that of cargo-cult politics.

I think it a reasonable presumption that Blanco is simply copying the tactic of President Bush because it seems like it’s working for him. However, this is typical of mistaking form for facts. There are two key differences that seem to have escaped Blanco’s awareness:

  • The federal response to hurricane Katrina was adequate. Not great, but hardly a disaster. The state response, however, was obviously FUBAR. When the dust settles and the second draft is written, there won’t be much tar in it to stick to Bush in contrast to the buckets likely to end up on Blanco.
  • Even if Bush’s tactic was a political liablity for him, it would still be worth it in order to play for bigger game. What bigger game could Blanco possibly be aiming for? Awaterfall of skimmings from the disaster relief? I think she’ll be lucky to avoid impeachment.

I suppose it’s possible that Blanco is just playing for time, counting on the short attention span of modern liberal democracies. Many of the worst served by her have left the state and once the money starts pouring in from the federal spigot, her culpability will get lost behind the clouds of cash. But based on past performance I don’t find that particularly plausible.

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