BUSH: DRILL OUR WAY TO A STRONGER LEVEE SYSTEM. President Bush is not even done with his speech supposedly given in honor of the dead and those displaced by the hurricane that hit land one year ago today, and already he has begun trying to spin the needs of Louisianans in a comically cynical way. To rebuild levees costs money, you see. And that's why Bush just urged Congress to open the Gulf Coast for drilling, to help raise the necessary money. Seeing him pull this maneuver should give every environmentalist reason for concern. Remember, Bush used the argument that September 11 proves the need for energy independence to argue for drilling in ANWR.

That said, I'm not too worried that Bush will actually be able to capitalize on this. Whereas Bush's speeches about September 11 have always demonstrated his political charisma at its most adept, this speech, like his handling of Hurricane Katrina all along, has been weak by comparison. Speaking right now on CNN, he is visibly nervous, rushing and pausing at all the wrong moments. It doesn't convey strength, and Bush's underwhelming admission that the government "fell short of its responsibilities" and will "respond in better fashion" during the next disaster are unlikely to inspire the sort of confidence in the American public that will allow Bush to say "just trust me, your fearless leader, when I tell you we must despoil the environment."

Also, can anyone who was watching CNN explain those weird overlays of some woman talking about her love life?

--Ben Adler

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