Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Bridge to Nowhere

Oh, City Pages. I can always rely on you for a measured response.

In addition to their latest cover -- an image of the collapsed bridge, with the caption "WHO'S TO BLAME?" -- Kevin Hoffman opened a mini-article last week with the following paragraph:

"President Bush didn't bother waiting until all the bodies had been recovered from the Mississippi river to politicize the disastrous collapse of the I-35W bridge at a morning press conference the day after the tragedy."

Now, my rejection of the Bush administration, and all of its works, and all of its empty promises, are a matter of public record -- but this seems to me to be a classic case of people getting angry with Bush for the wrong goddamn reasons.

I've heard a lot of people complaining about Bush callously taking advantage of a tragedy for a photo-op. But the thing is, he kinda has to. Why? Because if he didn't, we'd never let him live it down. We'd be indignantly blogging about how he doesn't even care enough about his constituents to put in an appearance. It's like how we crawl up his ass about not having attended any of his soldiers' funerals. The minute he did, we'd be expressing our dismay at how he takes advantage of their loss for his own gain. It's lose-lose, and not just for him.

The point I'm making is that that's the wrong debate for us to be having. Ultimately, I don't care if he shows up at the scene of a tragedy or not. Isn't he doing plenty of other scary shit we should be paying attention to?

As usual, I have one foot planted in both halves of the blogosphere -- and, as usual, both sides of the debate are pissing me off. Right-wingers are trumpeting the bridge collapse as a sign of government incompetence; left-wingers are using it as a rallying call against the Taxpayer's League. I'm all about accountability -- I'm all about doing everything we can to insure that something like this doesn't happen again. But am I alone in thinking that we need to at least wait for the results of the investigation before we can have anything resembling an intelligent debate about this?

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