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Restore the Wetlands. Reinforce the Levees.

Worlds Apart


lnw_bushplaneTHIS WEEK:

“We care deeply about the folks in this part of the world.”

“. . . the taxpayers and people from all around the country have got to understand the people of this part of the world really do appreciate the fact that the American citizens are supportive of the recovery effort.”

“. . . I come telling the folks in this part of the world that we
still understand there’s problems and we’re still engaged.”

George W. Bush, at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Charter School
for Science and Technology, New Orleans, Aug. 29, 2007
MARCH 2006:

“the good folks in this part of the world”

“the strategies that the local folks are putting in place
to help the good people of this part of the world recover”

“. . . I’m so pleased that the Governor and the Mayor have joined me, so we can discuss the importance of implementing a strategy that will help this part of the world rise again.”

“I ask for God’s blessings on the people of this part of the world.”

George W. Bush, New Orleans, March 8, 2006

lnw_bush-no8-29-07We do not know quite how to express the quality of gratitude and belongingness we feel when we hear the President of the United States, once again, on his 16th? visit to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, refer to our stricken area as “this [or that] part of the world,” as he has done in post-Katrina visits going back at least to early 2006. It would be one thing if he were talking about the tsunami in Indonesia . . . Oyster at Your Right Hand Thief and David Kurtz at TPM Café have both noted this seemingly habitual phrasing, which can only be felt as off-putting. And it can only be interpreted as the speaker’s distancing of himself from responsibility for the area described. (In its patent intent to annoy, the locution is similar to Republicans’ machine-like repetition of “the Democrat party” instead of “the Democratic party.”) For a president who claims to be a Texan through and through, this construction of speech doesn’t sound very neighborly.

Now, if the government wants to distance itself from the Gulf Coast, maybe we should go all the way and secede-Louisiana’s done it before-and let the United States pay full price for the oil and gas off the state’s coast. A lot of people are talking about it. We could jack up the rates nice and high. Some 80% of the nation’s offshore oil and gas pass through Louisiana’s fragile wetlands, and about 54% of the oil and gas produced in the Gulf of Mexico is extracted off of Louisiana’s shore-yet the state’s royalty income is woefully lower than that of other states.

We’ll have more to say about the offshore oil and gas royalty revenues-an elusive but potential source of serious funding for the storm protection and wetlands restoration Louisiana absolutely needs now. The days of politicians’ pocketing or squandering the royalties are over. We need the money for coastal restoration and floodwalls-let’s hire some Dutch engineers while we’re at it-because apparently we can no longer count on our own government to regard us as part of its world.

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