But then there is New Orleans . . . and my typing fingers tremble. Even nine days later, this writer can’t write. But readers need to know this: That Mayor Nagin is, or at least was, a good mayor, even if he failed miserably in this most important crucible; that anybody, anybody at all, who defends the response of FEMA and of President Bush in my presence or the presence of any New Orleanian is likely to get punched; that when Dennis Hastert spoke of bulldozing the city he spoke words that can never be forgiven, words that deserved the rebuke from Bill Clinton, who said if he had been in the same room when Hastert said those words that he, Clinton, might have assaulted him. They need to know that pundits across the country who asked why New Orleans and Louisiana didn’t themselves prepare for such a storm have no idea what they’re talking about, for the city and state have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into coastal wetland restoration and water-pumping stations and complicated engineering — but the feds have repeatedly failed to deliver promised matching funds, and have consistently ignored problems (replacing levee funds, for example, which are a life-saving responsibility of the Corps of Engineers, with channel-dredging funds for pork projects for waterways with almost no barge traffic).
Fair enough. Read the whole thing.