My old friend and Georgetown University classmate Quin Hillyer this morning identifies a brand-new example of the hypocrisy that seems to be the H in Barack H. Obama’s name.
Our sanctimonious president appeared recently in a rediscovered video tape of his speech at Hampton University in 2007. He thundered against the G. W. Bush Administration for allegedly requiring New Orleans to put up some of its own money toward its recovery from August 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, something that Obama claimed Bush did not demand of other storm-ravaged areas with more Caucasian populations. The clear implication was that Team Bush was just a pack of racists who probably relished in making the largely black people of New Orleans suffer even more as they struggled to dry out after Katrina. As Obama bellowed: “The people down in New Orleans, they don’t care about as much [about]!”
Hillyer’s article today details how Obama got his facts wrong back then. Even worse, Hillyer explains how Obama today is making life difficult for the residents of greater New Orleans as they try to return to normal after the devastation of Hurricane Isaac, which struck precisely on Katrina’s fifth anniversary. Hard hit Plaquemines Parish — which is enduring Obama’s cold shoulder — happens to be 71 percent white.
Notwithstanding Obama’s hollering about how Washington turned its back on New Orleans after Katrina (and the cascade of federal cash that quickly washed in), just two weeks before his race-baiting speech, Obama himself voted against a measure that would have let New Orleans escape the very Stafford Act self-funding requirements that Obama accused President Bush of inflicting on the inundated Gulf Coast metropolis.
Then-senator Obama also kicked the Crescent City to the curb when Senator Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) introduced an amendment to defund Alaska’s so-called Bridge to Nowhere and reallocate that money to reconstruct the Interstate 10 Twin Spans Bridge between New Orleans and St. Tammany’s Parish. That route literally was chopped to pieces when Katrina’s winds turned the waves of Lake Pontchartrain into wrecking balls. Just seven weeks after Katrina’s epic destruction, Obama voted against Coburn’s October 2005 proposal, as did then-Senator Joseph Biden. Evidently, they considered it more urgent to preserve Washington’s pork-barrel culture than to do something truly concrete to help the incomparable people of New Orleans in their darkest hour.
Of course, none of this occupied Obama’s demagogic head as he shouted at the tops of his precious lungs in that June 2007 speech. Likewise, while he gives Louisianans the brush off today, the supposed post-Katrina sins of “George Bush” weigh on Obama about as heavily as a rain drop.