Saturday, September 05, 2009

The Katrina Metaphor

Embattled as he now is, Barack Obama has not lost his rhetorical touch. In today's weekly address, he uses the fourth anniversary of the Gulf hurricane as an image for American efforts to repair the economy, reform health care and overcome political division.

"Government," he says, "must be a partner--not an opponent-–in getting things done."

His description of hands-on efforts to rebuild New Orleans comes against a backdrop of devastation in Washington as bipartisan efforts in the Senate Finance Committee are deemed "all but dead" and the White House is reported to be "quietly talking about drafting formal health care legislation after allowing Congress to work on its own for months."

Amid this political wreckage, the President is at pains to point out that "with every tragedy comes the chance of renewal. It is a quintessentially American notion--that adversity can give birth to hope, and that the lessons of the past hold the key to a better future.

"From the streets of New Orleans to the Mississippi Coast, folks are beginning the next chapter in their American stories. And together, we can ensure that the legacy of a terrible storm is a country that is safer and more prepared for the challenges that may come."

Even as he stresses such an inspirational metaphor, Barack Obama manages to tuck in a political jibe at George W. Bush and Heckuva-Job Brownie.

"I’m proud," he declares, "that my FEMA Administrator has 25 years of experience in disaster management in Florida, a state that has known its share of hurricanes."

As opposed to being forced to resign as a flack for the Arabian Horse Association.

1 comment:

Fuzzy Slippers said...

Yes, mentioning Katrina in conjunction with an appeal to let the government "help" is a wonderful strategy. What happened to "George Bush hates black people"? And Bush either somehow engineered the hurricane or intentionally let people die? I'm not sure that's a connection people will embrace. I particularly like the part where he says we must prevent future disasters like Katrina. I'm guessing (hoping) that even he doesn't think he can control the weather.

But that's always the way, if you already support someone, anything they say sounds like an impressive "rhetorical touch." It's not going to change anyone's mind who isn't already on board or that of the people who are rapidly turning on BO and his administration's divisive policies and attacks on the American people.