Guilty or not, DeLay will walk (Joe Scarborough)
Let’s start my memo on Tom DeLay by killing Hamlet in the first act.
The Majority Leader will walk.
Forget whether he is guilty or innocent. Ignore the political drama. Dismiss the screeching chatter from the political classes. Toss out the dire predictions from talking heads.
Dismiss it all because in the end, Tom DeLay will be found not guilty of the charges filed against him.
Why could DeLay survive a prosecution that would destroy most other politicians?
Because above all else, he is a political fighter.
That’s necessary for DeLay’s survival right now because Democrats have focused their efforts on destroying him since Newt Gingrich was run out of town in 1999. While Gingrich was going up in flames, DeLay had a front row seat for the Speaker’s inglorious fall from power. Like the rest of us, he also saw just how meaningless Newt’s efforts were to make peace with Democrats and media types.
The Washington establishment saw Gingrich as a crude, unpolished interloper who had to be destroyed. For a speaker who wanted to be recognized as a transformational figure in American life, that rejection was a bitter pill to swallow.
But from my years serving with Tom DeLay, I can assure you that he really couldn’t care less what the New York Times or Washington Post editorial pages think of him.
The Hammer is a fighter. He revels in rejection when it comes from media elites and liberal Democrats. Let them strike him down, DeLay thinks. Because in the end, it will only make him stronger with his base.
Maybe that’s why Tom DeLay is smiling.
He knows he is in for the fight of his life, but his enemies are the same ones he has beaten back hundreds of times before. And unlike Gingrich, DeLay will not try to be understood.
He will try to destroy all those who are trying to ruin his life.
That approach to political warfare is why Tom DeLay is so dangerous to Democrats.
It is also why I think he will win the fight of his life.
His nemesis, Ronnie Earle, is a partisan Democrat who has attended fundraisers supporting his party’s efforts to take out the Majority Leader. That would be questionable conduct for any other Texas D.A. but unthinkable for the one who is trying to throw DeLay in jail.
Earle has probably overreached, and if political trials of the past are any indication, the D.A. will be the one falling on his face in the end.
Add Earle’s missteps to DeLay’s will to win (and his power grip on Washington and Texas politics) and you have a Lone Star State shootout that may be over before it even begins.
Is this the best we can do? (Joe Scarborough)
It should be but it is not.
Thousands of Texans were trapped in a traffic hell yesterday because their leaders bungled the most basic elements of evacuation plans. As a result, many motorists ran out of gas while others gave up and returned home.
Perhaps they wanted to avoid what my family members faced while fleeing Hurricane Opal in 1995. Because of our government's slow response to evacuation challenges, many of those evacuating from Opal's wrath were told to give up, get out of their cars, and find shelter wherever they could.
The outcry was fierce and steps were taken to make sure the same mistakes were never repeated again. In all future hurricanes, interstate system was converted to a one-way evacuation route for hundreds of thousands of Floridians.
But ten years after I worked with Alabama and Georgia officials to make that process seamless, Texas leaders dropped the ball -- leaving residents stuck in 100 mile traffic jams.
I can tell you from personal experience what a terrible feeling it is being trapped on the road with your young children while a killer storm races toward the coast. It's a feeling of despair shared by too many others right now.
But for the rest of us who are safely out of Rita's path, we are left worrying about the future of an America whose leaders seem so ill equipped to handle the greatest of disasters.
Is this really the best our politicians can do four years after September 11th?
Get out of town (Joe Scarborough)
For the past several weeks, I have not been attacking the federal, the state and the local governments for my own health or just to hear myself talk. I have been doing it because lives have been at risk. As I said before, these storms are hitting early in the hurricane season. We know more of these are coming. Even after Rita, there are going to be more storms. We have entered a vicious cycle, and we better have leaders that know what they are doing.
Unfortunately, our leaders failed us miserably. People died because of it. It’s not good enough to say, ‘Oh, it was a historic storm. There‘s no way we could have known a Category 4 was going to hit us.’
Well, now guess what? We have got another Category 4 heading to shore. This thing will slam into the Galveston and Houston area. If not there, it‘s going to hit again along the border.
To state the obvious, lives are going to be put at risk because of the winds, because of the tornadoes and because of the massive flooding. The New Orleans levee system, already compromised, just simply will not be able to withstand this killer storm. God help the people of Louisiana if this thing doesn‘t keep going west at a rapid rate.
I want to tell you all in Galveston right now, I have been there. I have been through these storms. I have known people that have decided they are going to be brave and ride it out. If you stay, you might die. You could drown in your attic or you get washed away with the tide. Something is going to happen.
You make the call. It‘s your life.
Relief organizers like rival gangs (Joe Scarborough)
Trent Lott‘s office recently sent me an e-mail, telling me to go to a hospital in dire need of supplies after Katrina. It was from a registered nurse who says babies are walking around in diapers three days old and that they needed my help. The e-mail also said people are being pushed away from the hospital.
So, I drove there with supplies. I meet this person, this federal authority. I said, we‘re here with the diapers and formula. We understand the children are distressed here.
Do you know what he told me? The guy‘s arrogant. He said, ‘we don‘t need your stuff. Turn around. Go home.’
This weekend, a friend working with our charity was sitting in church. A person that helps run the Red Cross shipments came up to him and said, ‘you all, just stop wasting your time.’ The person‘s, clearly taken back, asks, ‘what do you mean? We‘re feeding all these people. We‘re helping all these people.’ He said, everything you ship over to Mississippi and Louisiana, we‘re just having to ship back. You‘re just wasting your time.'
This seems odd when every time we open the door, children and grandmothers break down crying while we hand them food.
We have a serious problem in the United States of America right now by federal bureaucrats and state bureaucrats and local bureaucrats and relief agency bureaucrats — yes, like the Red Cross. There is a level of arrogance. All of these groups are like rival gangs. I have seen it first-hand. Every politician on the ground has seen it first-hand. These people would rather have people in their areas suffer than not get the credit for helping them out.
We have seen it with 10,000 vaccines that we couldn't get from Pensacola, Florida, over to New Orleans. We have seen it with food shipments that FEMA stopped. We have seen Trent Lott talking about how FEMA and the Mississippi groups would not allow trailers to come in. I‘m telling you, it is a scandal of epic proportions.
Again, it ain‘t the FEMA people who are suffering. It‘s not the Red Cross directors who are suffering. It is the poorest and the weakest and the oldest among us. As Hubert Humphrey once said, it’s the people living in the shadows of life.
And it‘s disgusting.
Katrina and political partisans (Joe Scarborough)
The bloated bodies are still being fished out of New Orleans. And yet the chattering classes continue their childish political fights over which party should bear the blunt of the blame for these deaths.
On Friday, I was asked to be on Bill Maher’s "Real Time." Though our worldviews differ greatly, Bill has been fair to me the ten or so times I have been on his show. I saw it as a great chance to talk about the suffering I had seen firsthand.
His audiences are always the most liberal on TV, but even I was surprised at the sickening response of the crowd to the night’s events.
The interview started with Bill doing what he does best: asking provocative questions. His audiences usually cheer on cue like trained apes, burying the response of the token conservative.
But the crowd was howling this week as if the topic of debate involved a boxing match rather than a natural disaster of epic proportions.
These idiots in the audience were obviously comfortable using the brutal deaths of women, children, grandfathers, and babies to score some political points against a Republican President.
The horror show only heated up once the panel came on board but by then I had left the studio feeling sick.
Maybe it’s because I had held the suffering babies in my hands that I was so enraged by the childish displays of partisanship. Or perhaps it was because I had been so critical of the President myself that I was offended when Bill and his audience demanded that all deaths, all suffering, all looting be placed on the head of George W. Bush.
The clueless crowd didn’t know the first thing about hurricanes. But I do.
And as I said time and again last week, the blame rests with the first responders on the local and state level as well as the President of the United States.
But Democratic partisans don’t want to hear that anymore than Republican zealots.
After visiting hell on earth last week, I came back home detesting these political simpletons more than ever.
That’s because even in the face of epic human suffering, their political loyalties remain more important than gaining an understanding of what went wrong and how we can stop it from happening again.
Is that sick or what?
We deserve answers, Mr. President (Joe Scarborough)
A national disgrace (Joe Scarborough)
BILOXI, Mississippi — New Orleans is the city that America has seemingly forgotten and its politicians have let down in its greatest hour of need. And here in Biloxi, a place where, when we traveled around, we couldn't find enough federal agents, enough state agents, enough emergency personnel around to even begin to take care of those young children and elderly adults that are still without food, still without water, still without the most basic of necessities.
I have got to tell you, I have been involved in a lot of hurricane relief before, and what I have been seeing these past few days is nothing short of a national disgrace.
Those storms started hitting on Sunday, and yet, four full days later, still, we just aren't seeing emergency relief agents on the ground, in the neighborhoods that have been affected the most. There's video that we have been taking all throughout the day of people that simply aren't getting water. They are not getting food. They are not getting the basic necessities. It's a disgrace here. But if you think it's a disgrace here, the situation in New Orleans is beyond description. The Associated Press reported yesterday, “storm victims raped and beaten inside the convention center; 88 officers also beaten back by angry mobs.”
The scene in New Orleans keeps getting more apocalyptic by the day, and many Americans on both political sides of the American scene are wondering where Washington politicians and where Louisiana politicians are.
As we have said before, the Senate has approved a $10.5 billion relief bill for this devastated area. It's time for that aid to get down here. Also, the House is about to convene, and I am sure they will pass it unanimously. The president will sign it. And, hopefully, that money in Washington, D.C., 1,500 miles away, will make its way down here.
As a former Congressman, I understand how difficult some of these situations are. But don't you believe in the coming days that this storm caught people by surprise. We knew in Pensacola, Florida, that this was going to be a killer storm. It was going to be a Category 4. We were saying on Friday, it would be a historic storm.
So, any politician in Louisiana, Alabama, or Mississippi that tells you they were surprised, they don't deserve your trust or your vote next time.
Help your neighbors (Joe Scarborough)
BILOXI, Mississippi — We are still here in Biloxi, at ground zero of where killer Katrina hit. It has ripped open the heart of America’s Gulf Coast, leaving hundreds, maybe thousands, dead in its wake and destroying a major U.S. city. Along a 100-mile stretch of the Gulf Coast, there are scenes here that simply recall nothing short of Hiroshima, and, here in Biloxi, unspeakable losses, where some people may have died simply because they couldn’t afford a tank of gas at the end of a month.
We are in the neighborhood that just a week ago was vibrant, filled with children running along these sidewalks. Today, it’s nothing but cinder blocks. Records. I see records. I see refrigerators, stove-top ovens, computers, life possessions that people cherished. It’s unbelievable.
You look through these possessions. People have been collecting these things their entire life. You see photo albums, wedding pictures, pictures of young babies just thrown indiscriminately. You wonder where people start to rebuild.
It’s really when you get up close and personal with these people, you see a young child crying, crying because there’s nobody there to help. Or you see an old couple, tearing up, as they start looking through the remains of what their dream home was, all destroyed in an instant….
Now, friends, I told you about how I have been in a lot of these things. I have seen the
devastation. I have also seen the people, the good people of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama come to my backyard in Northwest Florida when we needed help.
We have decided in our community to help out. We are trying to get as much support as we can get, trying to get food and other necessities. Please send a donation:
P.O. Box 911
Pensacola, Florida, 32591
If you are in that area, if you are in Northwest Florida, we will have drop points where you can bring diapers, where you can bring bottled water and other goods.
I got to tell you this, and I may offend some people right now that are involved in relief agencies. But let me tell you something. If you live in the Southeast, you can help out by just packing up, putting water in the back of your truck, coming down here, dropping it, and then getting out of town. That’s what people did in Pensacola, Florida, for as many as six to eight weeks afterwards. It made all the difference in the world. You can make a difference, too.
Please visit my website at joe.msnbc.com for further information on how to help in the relief effort.