Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Bush Gets Yet Another Bad Report Card

Sadly for the nation, this one is coming from the 9/11 Commission and not Yale or Harvard.

The 10-member, bipartisan commission issued a "report card" yesterday that included 5 F's, 12 D's and two "incompletes" in categories including airline passenger screening and improving first responders' communication systems. The evaluations were intended to give the panel's sense of how the Bush administration has responded to their recommendations – which is to say, not at all.

"We believe that the terrorists will strike again," the panel's chairman, Thomas H. Kean, a former Republican governor of New Jersey, told reporters in Washington. "If they do, and these reforms that might have prevented such an attack have not been implemented, what will our excuses be?"

My buddy, the prolific Taylor Marsh has a rendering of the report card on her site, which is a bit easier to look at than the official PDF file, which you can get here.

Areas where Team Bush got an "F" include airline passenger pre-screening – there is still no comprehensive terrorist watch list in place at airline ticket counters -- coalition detention standards and establishing a dedicated, common radio spectrum for first responders.

"We're frustrated, all of us — frustrated at the lack of urgency in addressing these various problems," said Kean. "We shouldn't need another wake-up call. We believe that the terrorists will strike again; so does every responsible expert that we have talked to. And if they do, and these reforms that might have prevented such an attack have not been implemented, what will our excuse be?"

Democrats, though the minority party in both houses of Congress, have been making a lot of noise about the White House's inaction and felt vindicated, if not comforted, by the panel's evaluation.

"The report is a top-to-bottom indictment of the federal government's lack of resources, focus, and expertise in fighting the domestic war on terror," said Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY).

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) was even more straightforward.

“Protecting Americans should be the top priority of the United States government. That is why, this year, Democrats have fought to increase security at our ports and chemical plants, to make our transit system safer and to help first responders get the equipment they need to do their job," said Reid. "Unfortunately, our efforts have been blocked by leaders of the Republican Party. Given their lack of attention to homeland security, an ‘F’ is too high a grade for the Bush White House and Washington Republicans. It’s not that they’re failing. They aren’t even trying. America can do better.”

So they've taken us to a war that's making us less safe, they can't respond effectively to natural disasters at home and they just flat-out don't care enough to even make an effort on formal recommendations to secure our country from terrorists.

Bush's next set of approval ratings won't be in the single digits -- but why the hell not?