- The Washington Times - Monday, August 27, 2012

“I don’t really care. If more than 10 people actually watched his show, I would actually care, but they don’t, so, whatever.”

- (Republican National Committee Reince Priebus reflecting on Chris Matthews after the agitated MSNBC host accused Republicans of playing the “race card” on the campaign trail.)

REPUBLICAN HURRICANE

They just can’t resist: Though Isaac missed the Grand Old Party, the gleeful mainstream press is already dancing about in the rain, and chanting “George Bush.” Select journalists are using Tropical Storm Isaac to sully Republicans simply by revisiting Hurricane Katrina, comparing weather events and the 2012 Republican National Convention, complete with brooding headlines and dire suggestions.

“There is nothing Republicans would rather the American people forget more than George W. Bush, who doesn’t even have a bit-part at the GOP convention. But W’s ghost may be there, anyway. Isaac is very likely to revive memories of the Bush administration’s monumental incompetence in dealing with the needs of Americans caught in Hurricane Katrina,” says Robert Reich, secretary of labor in the Clinton administration and now a Huffington Post contributor.

During an appearance on CNN, New Yorker scribe Ryan Lizza first acknowledged he intended to “politicize the storm,” then he connected the dots: “When anyone talks about Katrina, the first thing they remember is the crisis management of the Bush administration, which I think was widely judged to be a failure. Does the Republican Party worry about that right now, that when you think of hurricane and Republicans, that it’s not necessarily two things that have gone together in the past?”

NBC News analyst Chuck Todd also pointed out that the “shadow of Bush and Katrina does hang over this convention,” while the Los Angeles Times stated, “Bush’s popularity never recovered. This time, the Obama administration has taken care to keep local officials and media fully briefed on preparations, and to show the president as fully engaged.”

Such coverage displays NewsBusters analyst Noel Sheppard, who says an old media playbook has been “dusted off to use as an attack on Romney/Ryan.”

He adds, “If the media are going to play this game, let’s take it one step further. Let’s assume Isaac as it moves across the Gulf increases in strength and packs a wallop as it mirrors Katrina’s path. Let’s also assume — God forbid — a New Orleans levee fails and 2005 is really replayed in some version. Will that be the White House resident’s fault as it was in 2005, or will the governor — who just so happens now to be a Republican — be blamed this time?”

WHITE HOUSE CHECK LIST

Proactive and prepositioned: Nothing is left to chance in a carefully worded memo issued to the press by the White House on Monday after a briefing presented to President Obama by Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator William Craig Fugate and National Hurricane Center Director Rick Knabb on preparations for Tropical Storm Isaac. Mr. Fugate detailed resources “prepositioned along the Gulf Coast to support state and local officials” and Defense Department support bases in Florida and Alabama “to proactively stage supplies” and “to work to make sure there are no unmet needs.” Mr. Obama also directed Mr. Fugate “to ensure that FEMA was prepared regardless of the ultimate strength and impact of the storm.”

Following the briefing, Mr. Obama phoned Governors Robert Bentley of Alabama, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Phil Bryant of Mississippi, plus New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

“The president made clear that he has directed administrator Fugate to make sure the governors have the resources they need as the storm approaches, and asked each governor to identify additional needs if they arise,” the White House noted.

THE HISTORIC CONVENTION

“Mr. Mayor, I believe the best place for the ‘68 convention is Chicago! You are the only one who can handle it!”

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