The New York Times’ Elisabeth Bumiller has an article today that continues to dwell on the supposed impact that racism had on the immediacy of hurricane recovery efforts, and how this is hurting the president as well as Republicans:
“The storm also appears to have damaged the carefully laid plans of Karl Rove, President Bush's political adviser, to make inroads among black voters and expand the reach of the Republican Party for decades to come.
“Many African-Americans across the country said they seethed as they watched the television pictures of the largely poor and black victims of Hurricane Katrina dying for food and water in the New Orleans Superdome and the convention center.”
Ms. Bumiller felt it was necessary to quote a rapper in her political analysis:
“The anger has invigorated the president's critics. Kanye West, the rap star, raged off-script at a televised benefit for storm victims that ‘George Bush doesn't care about black people.’"
And, Ms. Bumiller chose to extensively quote an unnamed source:
“One of Mr. Bush's prominent African-American supporters called the White House to say he was aghast at the images from the president's first trip to the region, on Sept. 2, when Mr. Bush stood next to Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi and Gov. Bob Riley of Alabama, both white Republicans, and praised them for a job well done. Mr. Bush did not go into the heart of New Orleans to meet with black victims."
What is also interesting is her seeming surprise concerning the racial divide in the reaction to this disaster:
Two-thirds of African-Americans said the government's response to the crisis would have been faster if most of the victims had been white, while 77 percent of whites disagreed.
It has been rather curious that the media have been so shocked by this. After all, according to November 2004’s exit polls, 88 percent of African-Americans voted for Kerry, versus 58 percent of whites voting for Bush. Given these numbers, it would be more surprising if there weren’t a disparity in how both groups perceived the hurricane response.