It’s been quite a week on the homefront for the world’s noblest Nobel Peace laureate.
The world may have “less tension” as a result of Obama’s accomplishments — er, rather, his aspirations. But here in the good old USA, tensions are rising.
Just to review:
President Obama disses San Francisco.
First Lady Michelle Obama disses South Carolina.
And now, the White House’s decision to flit through the Hurricane Katrina recovery area on a hasty little trip has upset residents:
Slightly more than four years after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast, President Obama is traveling to New Orleans today to fulfill a campaign promise to survey first-hand the city’s recovery.
…But before the president even steps foot on the ground in Louisiana, critics in the region have taken aim at the administration on several fronts: They fault him for waiting nine months before going to New Orleans, staying for only four hours and not going to any of the other states affected by the devastating 2005 storm, such as Mississippi and Alabama.
Tommy Longo, the mayor of Waveland, Miss., a town that was leveled by Katrina, said that Obama was “missing the Ground Zero of Katrina.”
“We haven’t whined. My citizens get up every day and they go to work, rebuilding their city from under the ground up, and it would mean a lot to them if they knew that they were on his mind,” Longo said of the president. “It would mean a lot to everyone if he actually put his feet on the ground here in Waveland.”
Even Louisiana officials have voiced displeasure with the trip and want more from the president.
“I think the trip could have been longer,” said Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., in a television interview Wednesday. “But I want to say that people are not angry. If they’re anything, they’re just a little disappointed and frustrated, but understanding that the president has a lot on his plate.
Yeah. Like fund-raising in California while ducking his base.
“I fear Obama is mismanaging the political theater of Katrina,” Lawrence Powell of Tulane University told ABC News.
Takeaway quote II:
“Why squander the political capital he has deservedly been garnering from previous good deeds by doing a “drive by” appearance in New Orleans, capped off with a fundraising meet-and-greet in San Francisco later that evening?” asked Powell, who said he voted for Obama. “It just doesn’t play well.”
Flashback June 2007:
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Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said Tuesday that the Bush administration has done nothing to defuse a “quiet riot” among blacks that threatens to erupt just as riots in Los Angeles did 15 years ago.
The first-term Illinois senator said that with black people from New Orleans and the Gulf Coast still displaced 20 months after Hurricane Katrina, frustration and resentments are building explosively as they did before the 1992 riots.
“This administration was colorblind in its incompetence,” Obama said at a conference of black clergy. “But the poverty and the hopelessness was there long before the hurricane.
“All the hurricane did was to pull the curtain back for all the world to see,” he said.
Obama’s criticism of Bush prompted ovation after ovation from the nearly 8,000 people gathered in Hampton University’s Convocation Center, particularly when he denounced the Iraq war and noted that he had opposed it from the outset.
Repeatedly, he referred to the riots that erupted in Los Angeles after a jury acquitted four police officers of assault charges in the 1991 beating of Rodney King, a black motorist, after a high speed chase. Fifty-five people died and 2,000 were injured in several days of riots in the city’s black neighborhoods.
“Those ‘quiet riots’ that take place every day are born from the same place as the fires and the destruction and the police decked out in riot gear and the deaths,” Obama said. “They happen when a sense of disconnect settles in and hope dissipates. Despair takes hold and young people all across this country look at the way the world is and believe that things are never going to get any better.”
…Repeatedly, with evangelical zeal, he raised issues that roused the crowd: increasing the minimum wage and teacher pay, funding for public schools and college financial aid for the poor, ending predatory lending and expediting the reconstruction of New Orleans and the Mississippi coast.
He introduced his own pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright of Chicago’s Trinity United as “Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian.” He credited Wright with introducing him to Christ, and peppered his speech with scriptural references, at one point invoking the opening lines of the Lord’s Prayer.
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