(6 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
Today Obama will be making an extremely short stop in New Orleans. Or what my favorite NOLA blogger calls a “tinkle-stop tour.” In New Orleans, he’ll be visiting a charter school and participating in a town hall meeting in the Lower 9th Ward.
(In contrast, his next stop will be San Francisco, where he’ll be spending four times as much time–16 hours. This has caused Harry Shearer to say,
Total elapsed time in SF: sixteen hours. They must have experienced a hell of a federal disaster there. Four times worse, you figure?
But the four hours Obama is spending in New Orleans means he won’t:
*Be seeing any of the rest of of New Orleans’ devastated areas–more of that city was damaged by the Federal Flood than merely the Lower 9th;
*Be checking out the work on New Orleans’ levees–considered vitally important by New Orleanians and anyone else concerned about New Orleans’ safety from future flooding. This is something he should keep abreast of as the Commander-in-Chief of the Army Corps of Engineers;
*Be flying over Louisiana’s disappearing coast, which has been washing away at a rate of a football field every half hour;
*Be visiting Mississippi and the Louisiana areas still struggling to recover from Katrina, Rita, Gustav, and Ike–an omission which has been one of the most controversial things about the briefness of Obama’s visit. Stan Tiner even goes so far as to ask,
Is the Mississippi Coast invisible?
Indeed, Obama’s “Tinkle-Stop Tour” is being compared to Bush’s “fly-over” trip when he couldn’t be bothered with visiting the disaster zone.
Some may blow what I have to say off by saying Obama as a Senator and a candidate made five visits to New Orleans–but nothing can match the prestige of a meaningful presidential visit with its symbolism of a presidential commitment to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.
It is a shame that while Bush of that first fly-over and his empty promises managed to visit Louisiana and Mississippi 13 times and made it to all three 8/29 anniversaries in both states, Obama is just making this “Tinkle-Stop Tour” after not having made it to the anniversary of Katrina and the federal flood. And the fact that Teddy Kennedy’s funeral happened to take place on that day is immaterial–the point is that even had it not taken place, Obama had made no plans at all to visit New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, instead planning to stay at Martha’s Vineyard where he was on vacation.
So, he owes New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Region one–and it’s time for him to get some skin in the game and live up to his promises there.