The Obama's Katrina Moment fallacy

My spin-detection antennae went up as soon as I heart numerous people on the Left, almost simultaneously, begin fretting that Obama’s refusal to visit the border in Texas could be his “Katrina moment.”  Something fishy is going on when everyone begins dropping the same talking point in unison, from the media to elected Democrats, especially when that talking point would seem harmful to Obama.

My first thought was that it’s a sign of the Left’s obsession with symbolism and “optics.”  I think that has a lot to do with it, and it’s a big part of the reason Obama’s so reluctant to put in an appearance.  Look, this is the guy who has no problem golfing while the world is burning down.  He’s not normally all that worried about bad optics, because he trusts the media to protect him.  “Katrina moment” is a fairly broad term for the perception that Bush wasn’t sufficiently concerned about the damage from Hurricane Katrina, but if the “moment” means anything specific to media people and political junkies, it’s the “optics” of Bush supposedly looking disconnected from the scene and refusing to personally tour the damaged areas.  The only reason anyone thinks that’s a big deal is because the media hammered Bush for it, around the clock, for days.  They’re not going to do that to Obama; they’d bend over backward looking for reasons not to run devastating photos of King Barack surveying the squalid camps he has created.  It’s a mark of how devastating Obama knows those images would be, as viral sensations beyond the media’s ability to downplay, that he’d rather hear this “Katrina moment” stuff than show up at the border.

But I think there’s even more to it than liberals helpfully suggesting Obama get his butt to the border and shut down all these unflattering comparisons to what Bush supposedly did.  I think this whole “Katrina moment” theme is an effort to protect Obama by portraying the border crisis as a natural disaster, something he couldn’t have seen coming, rather than something he deliberately created.  The greatest lasting danger to the Left, even beyond Obama’s term in office, is for the public to get hip to this Cloward-Piven manufactured-crisis stuff.  The last thing they want people buzzing about is how Obama couldn’t have been as surprised by the border surge as he claims to be, and how his amnesty policies indisputably inspired many of these people to take a shot at getting into the United States.

It’s better for Obama to be accused of insufficiently energetic response to a “natural disaster” than conducting an act of deliberate sabotage against American citizenship.  His polls were so low before this crisis began that a critical mass of people are prepared to consider the worst portrayal of his actions.

And buying into the “Katrina moment” spin also sets a very low bar for Obama to hurdle.  All he has to do is show up at the border – probably not in the company of Texas Gov. Rick Perry – and take a quick tour, and everyone currently fretting about his terrible “optics” will immediately declare it a mighty achievement for the President.  They’ll happily burble about how he did what Bush was too callous and blinkered to do.  It won’t matter at all that the situation remains unchanged.  It wouldn’t be hard for the President to set up the kind of photo op that gets him a zillion pages of glowing coverage for his humanity and compassion.


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