From the VERY Liberal Daily Howler: THE JOY OF FAKE FACTS! Even when people are suffering and dying, they just wont stop making up facts: // link // print // previous // next // MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2005 THERES NOTHING ABOUT MARY: We thought Chris Wallace was a bit unbalanced in the way he went after Mary Landrieu on yesterdays Fox News Sunday. (Senator David Vitter, R-LA, appeared with her.) On the other hand, Landrieus performance was so utterly woeful that it deserves recording. Being good liberals, DAILY HOWLER readers care about the poorand we care about little else. Surely, therefore, we will all want to condemn this senators hapless performance. Wallace started with tape of Landrieus heartfelt statement on the floor of the Senate. I intend to find out why the federalparticularly the response of FEMAwas so incompetent and insulting to the people of our states, the solon had declared on Thursday. But uh-oh! Wallace wanted to know if Landrieu was troubled by the performance of local officials, too. Before we look at Landrieus response, here was his first specific question: WALLACE (9/11/05): Senator Landrieu, I want to ask youand I'll ask you both, but let me start with you about the local response. Was it incompetent and insulting for Mayor Ray Nagin to order a mandatory evacuation, but then to leave busesand we have a picture of themhundreds of buses idle, so that they could be flooded, instead of using them to get people out? Here at THE HOWLER, wed like to know more about the shortcomings of the citys pre-flood evacuation. Should Nagin have had a better plan to get poor people out of their neighborhoods? In our view, Wallaces question was confrontational, but perfectly sensible. But Landrieus answer was so absurd thatwell, well guess that any good liberal will find it incompetent and insulting. For starters, Landrieu pretended that she had been asked about two neighboring governors: LANDRIEU (continuing directly): Well, Chris, I was there, as you know, through the whole ordeal with state and local officials, and was right there with Louisiana Democrats and Republicans, city council members, police chiefs, mayors, the governors, and could watch what [Mississippi governor] Haley Barbour was doing and Governor Riley in Alabama. I am not going to level criticism at the local level. These people did Say what? At this point, Wallace jumped in to get her on track. But Landrieu continued her wandering: WALLACE (continuing directly): But I'd like you to answer, if you could, this one specific question. LANDRIEU: Well, I will. I will answer it. I am not going to level criticism at local and state officials. Mayor Nagin and most mayors in this country have a hard time getting their people to work on a sunny day, let alone getting them out of the city in front of a hurricane. And it's because this administration and administrations before them do not understand the difficulties that mayors, whether they are in Orlando, Miami, or New Orleans, face. Huh? Wallace tried to refocus Landrieu again. Amid endless [CROSSTALK], her point emerged. The problem was, the Bush Admin doesnt believe in mass transit: LANDRIEU (continuing directly): In other words, this administration did not believe in mass transit. They won't even get people to work on a sunny day, let alone getting them out WALLACE: But Senator, there were hundreds of buses sitting in that parking lot. Can I just ask the question? LANDRIEU: You can, but let me finish, if I could, please. WALLACE: Well, look in the picture here. There were hundreds of buses in parking lots. The city and the state LANDRIEU: That is underwater. Those WALLACE: It wasn't underwater before the LANDRIEU: Those buses were underwater. Those buses WALLACE: They weren't underwater on Saturday. They weren't underwater on Sunday. Wallace was asking an obvious question: Why werent these buses used to evacuate poor people before the storm hit? But Landrieu pretended she didnt understand. And now, she fell back on a much-ridiculed Mike Chertoff soundbiteNew Orleans had been hit by twin disasters! LANDRIEU (continuing directly): We had two catastrophes. We had a hurricane and then we had a levee break. When the levee broke, not only did New Orleans go underwater, but St. Bernard when underwater and St. Tammany Parish went underwater. WALLACE: But they weren't underwater on Sunday. LANDRIEU: And Plaquemines went underwater. And because the mayor evacuated the city, we had the best evacuation between Haley Barbour and Kathleen Blanco of any evacuation I've seen. I'm 50 years old; I've never seen one any better. WALLACE: But there were a hundred thousand people left in the city. LANDRIEU: They did a hundred thousand people left in the city because this federal government won't support cities to evacuate people, whether it's from earthquakes, tornadoes, or hurricanes. And that's the truth. And that will come out in the hearing. In a prize fight, a referee would have stepped in and called the whole thing off. Already, this may have been the worst performance ever seen on a Sunday show. But now, Wallace posed his second questionand Landrieus response, if anything, was worse. Gaze on the caliber of public official now defending the interests of the poor: WALLACE: Senator Vitter, do you think it wasand I'll get you in this in a moment, Senator Landrieudo you think it was incompetent and insulting for Governor Blanco not to bring in the federal guardor, the National Guard, ratherinto the city of New Orleans in force until Friday of that first week? VITTER: Yes. WALLACE: Senator Landrieu? LANDRIEU: Can I WALLACE: Yes or no? The die had been casthow had Blanco performed? Wallace had asked an obvious question. But just try to believe Landrieus answer: LANDRIEU (continuing directly): Well, let me add something about our Guard and Reserve. We have 3,000 Guardsmen coming back from Iraq after they've served, sometimes twice. Our General Landreneau (ph) has said that he's giving them a break. Thank God we have such a good leader. They need a break. They need to get with their familiesmany of them, their homes are destroyed. I read in the paper this morning, alarmingly, that the Mississippi governor is not going to allow the Mississippi Guard, or whoever is making that decision. And I'll plead for the Mississippi, for the Alabama Guard, and for the Louisiana Guard: please give these guys a break. They're carrying the weight of the world, literally, on their shoulders. And we cannot continue to burden the Guard and Reserve. Now, some of them can volunteer; that's great. But we have to be very careful about putting that burden on them. Asked about Governor Blancos performance; she replied by discussing Governor Barbours, raising a wholly irrelevant point. But to see how hapless this solon can be, just check out what she said next: LANDRIEU (continuing directly): And let me say one thing I do agree with David aboutand we agree with many things; he and I have worked very closely together this week: Everyone will be held accountable. The president himself will be held accountable. This administration; I will be held accountable; Senator Vitter will be held accountable; and all state and local officials. Now is not the time for finger-pointing. Now is the time to rebuild. So, I'm asking the White House to stop sending out press releases blaming local and state officials. Now is not the time for finger-pointing? Landrieu had been finger-pointing all week! Indeed, Wallace had just played the tape of her finger-pointing statements! Landrieus response was completely absurd. And Wallace, quite fairly, said as much: WALLACE: OK, thank you. But you're the one who's done the finger- pointing. You were the one who, on the Senate floor, talked about the federal response being incompetent and insulting to the people of Louisiana. You were the oneif I mightand, I want to ask you, also, because you've also pointed the finger at the Bush administration for failing to spend enough on flood control. Here's what you said this week on the Senate floor. Let's take a look... Wallace asked two more questionsone about Landrieus past conduct concerning some alleged pork, one about the amount of flood control spending requested by Presidents Clinton and Bush. The pork allegation was so obscure that even Landrieu could handle the query. But heres what she said about flood control spending by Clinton and Bush: LANDRIEU: Number one, it is true that the president gave slightly more than Bill Clinton. But what is also true is Bill Clinton was running the largest deficit created by the Reagan administration before him and the Bush administration before him. President Bush was running a surplus. Yet, when he had a surplus, he didn't invest it in levees and flood protection for people from Miami to Orlando to New Orleans to Biloxi or to Mobile. He had other priorities. And I have a letter I will submit to Fox Network. But is that true? On Friday, Media Matters said that the Washington Post bungled when it made this claim about Clinton/Bush spending. (Wallace cited the Post in his question.) Whos right about this? We have no idea. But would you bet your house on Landrieu? We thought wed seen some hopeless Sunday outings, but Landrieu really took the cake. The answers she gave were cosmically fake. Surely, every viewer could see it. A word came to mind about her performance. Because you care about the interests of poor people, perhaps you can guess it: Insulting.