Nonprofit, independent journalism. Supported by readers.


Louisiana Republicans blame Obama for Katrina

Dana Milbank explores the power of Obama derangement syndrome

Writing for the Washington Post, Dana Milbank has some fun with a recent poll of Louisiana Republicans.

The question, asked by the robodialer Public Policy Polling, went: “Who[m] do you think was more responsible for the poor response to Hurricane Katrina: George W. Bush or Barack Obama?”

The response: 29 percent picked Obama, 28 percent picked Bush. One wouldn’t want to make much out of Obama’s one-point victory on the question, well within the margin of error. The question is why would anyone blame Obama for the federal response to a hurricane that happened in 2005 when Obama had just arrived in Washington as a freshman U.S. senator?

Of course, poll results that make the public look ignorant are a dime a dozen. But Milbank is struck by the fact that this poll was taken among Louisianans, who were the direct victims of Hurricane Katrina and of the botched federal response. This leads Milbank to suggest that “a substantial number of Republican voters will agree to something they know to be false if it puts Obama in a bad light.”

Article continues after advertisement

I’m a little reluctant to join Milbank in believing that the Louisiana Repubs were knowingly giving a false answer. But it might be more reassuring to believe that than thinking through brain chemistry that would enable the plurality of Louisianans to push the button on their phones that blamed Obama. It’s strangely more reassuring to note that 44 percent of the respondents to that question pushed the button for “not sure.”