According to two former Bush White House advisers who spoke candidly about the political impact of the government’s handling of the aftermath of Hurrican Katrina, the poor handling of Katrina knocked the bully pulpit out from under President George W. Bush, making it much more difficult for Bush to govern with credibility (emphasis mine):
“Katrina to me was the tipping point,” said Matthew Dowd, Bush’s pollster and chief strategist for the 2004 presidential campaign. “The president broke his bond with the public. Once that bond was broken, he no longer had the capacity to talk to the American public. State of the Union addresses? It didn’t matter. Legislative initiatives? It didn’t matter. P.R.? It didn’t matter. Travel? It didn’t matter.”
As if Dowd’s statements aren’t damning enough, another top aide compared GWB to Gov. Sarah Palin when he took office:
Lawrence Wilkerson, top aide and later chief of staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, said that as a new president, Bush was like Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee whom critics said lacked knowledge about foreign affairs. When Bush first came into office, he was surrounded by experienced advisers like Vice President Dick Cheney and Powell, who Wilkerson said ended up playing damage control for the president.
“It allowed everybody to believe that this Sarah Palin-like president — because, let’s face it, that’s what he was — was going to be protected by this national-security elite, tested in the cauldrons of fire,”
That’s some legacy George W. Bush is leaving behind…