Remember New Orleans?
From THE WASHINGTON POST: The Biggest Disappointment of the Obama Presidency
President Obama's brief display of drive-by compassion Thursday in New Orleans was, for me, by far the worst outing of his presidency thus far -- and the biggest disappointment.
I covered Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath -- the flood in New Orleans that drowned a great city, the storm surge in Mississippi that erased whole communities, the devastation, the agony. For weeks afterwards, I had trouble sleeping. I couldn't forget the scenes I'd witnessed or the stories I'd heard.
More than a year later, I covered a Senate subcommittee hearing in New Orleans on the lagging reconstruction effort. I watched as a young senator who was thought to be considering a presidential run -- that would be Barack Obama -- used his Harvard Law skills to eviscerate Bush-era officials for not doing enough to rebuild and revive the Gulf Coast region.
So it was strange and disheartening that Obama would wait nine months to make his first visit to New Orleans as president. It was stunning that he would spend only a few hours on the ground and that he wouldn't set foot in Mississippi or Alabama at all. But worst of all was the way he seemed to dismiss the idea that his administration could and should be doing much more.
I know that local officials say the Obama administration is more responsive and more effective than the Bush administration, but that's not saying much. What says more is that New Orleans still doesn't have an operational full-service hospital. And that an adequate flood barrier is still not in place.
"I wish I could just write a check," Obama said. If that was his message, he should have stayed home. We now know that our government can make hundreds of billions of dollars available to irresponsible Wall Street institutions within a matter of days, if necessary. We can open up the floodgates of credit to too-big-to-fail banks at the stroke of a pen. But when it comes to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, well, these things take time.
I doubt these are the priorities Obama wants to be remembered for.