New Orleanian Harry Shearer, who has been a progressive thorn in President Barack Obama's side when it comes to Louisiana recovery, has reviewed the itinerary for Thursday's presidential visit. He ain't impressed:
What he won't be doing: a survey, by air or other means, of the daily erosion of the invaluable coastal wetlands under the inexorable pressure of pipeline and canal building, which has allowed the intrusion of salt water from the Gulf; a frank and detailed discussion with the local leaders of the Army Corps of Engineers about their decision to adopt a "technically not superior" solution to the permanent pumps in the outfall canals, and about their installation of non-functioning hydraulic pumps in those canals as a "temporary" solution. In other words, the President will not be addressing either of the crucial issues in assuring that the disaster of 2005 is not repeated.
But he will be taking questions and meeting schoolchildren. Events, in short, that look good on TV.
One thing that's been overlooked in all the talk over the brevity of the visit is Obama's calendar for the rest of Thursday: by nightfall, he will be in San Francisco for a Democratic National Committee fundraiser at the St. Francis Hotel. You can be sure that GOP pols like Rep. Steve Scalise, who is already making a fuss over Obama's fly-in-fly-out moment, won't fail to point out Obama's leaving the 9th Ward for a rendezvous with big spenders in Sodom Francisco.
Harry Shearer and Steve Scalise on the same side of an issue? Now that's bipartisanship. Or something.