Politics

TheDC’s top 2012 stories, part 3: The ‘Race Politics’ edition

Photo of David Martosko
David Martosko
Executive Editor

Obama’s accusation that the George W. Bush administration left New Orleans residents hanging after Hurrican Katrina — specifically because most of them were black — was a broadside worthy of Al Sharpton, and most readers were shocked.

Remarkably, network news anchors and MSNBC pundits complained after this story surfaced that it wasn’t really news. They had a tape of the speech in their video vaults since Obama delivered the speech, several said, missing the irony of having the story but sitting on it for four years.

Even more ironic was the fact that then-Senator Obama, who had access to all the federal government’s post-Katrina results, was spinning a tale that was demonstrably false:

[T]he federal government did at times waive the Stafford Act during its reconstruction efforts. On May 25, 2007, just weeks before the speech, the Bush administration sent an additional $6.9 billion to Katrina-affected areas with no strings attached.

As a sitting United States Senator, Obama must have been aware of this. And yet he spent 36 minutes at the pulpit telling a mostly black audience that the U.S. government doesn’t like them because they’re black.

One wonders what the reaction would be like if a white politician blamed Obama’s Federal Emergency Management Agency for dragging its feet after Super storn Sandy because not enough affected New Yorkers shared his skin color.