Krusty the Klown became my favorite political philosopher on “The Simpsons” when, caught in a compromising situation, he proclaimed “Don’t blame me, I didn’t do it!” In their simplicity, these words are a haiku of elided responsibility. Krusty’s mea non culpa has been the animating principal of the Bush White House in the aftermath of the hurricane.
Blame Game was the phrase being tiresomely trotted out all week by White House flunkies (secretly relieved that at least no one’s questioning them about the Plame Game at this point) when asked to defend the woeful federal response to the recent events in Louisiana and Mississippi. Predictably, they all bleated “Blame game, blame, game, blame game” like so many Orwellian sheep.
Clearly, there is plenty of blame to go around in this situation and it spreads across party lines. Whoever had an opportunity to fail in an official capacity, whether local, state, or Federal, Democrat or Republican, inarguably took the bull by the horns. But what is so rich about the White House making “blame game” their key talking point is that it shows they know exactly where ultimate responsibility rests.
And why not assess blame, because what, after all, is at stake? Hmmm…let’s think for a moment…could it be…OUR LIVES???!!! Sorry, I got carried away for a moment. Why is it wrong to try to figure out how a screw-up of such immense proportions occurred, and to assess responsibility (which, unfortunately, doesn’t really rhyme with anything)?
Would certain Republicans be more concerned about who was responsible for the monumental ineptitude on display if, say, Houston had been flooded? FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security are supposed to protect everyone, aren’t they? Yes, they’re arms of the Federal government, and thus inherently evil in certain eyes, but they’re not entitlement programs. Shouldn’t the Republicans want them to be functional if during the next crisis it’s the Bush Twins on the roof in need of a helicopter? (And by the way, why is Brownie still on the payroll back there in Washington? What, short of criticizing them, does someone have to do to get cashiered in this administration?).
We can all agree, Nascar dads and soccer moms, blue staters and red staters alike, that our nation is facing a very real external threat. The question, then, becomes who is competent enough to defend us? Four years ago we were attacked in a spectacular way and we’ve had four years to prepare for the next catastrophe. Well, it occurred and the response of FEMA, Homeland Security, and the President brought to mind…Krusty? “Don’t blame me…”
BY THE WAY - TO THE READERS WHO POINTED OUT THAT THE CATCHPHRASE "DON'T BLAME ME, I DIDN'T DO IT" ORIGINATED WITH BART - HOW DO I SAY THIS NICELY? YOU'RE WRONG. IT WAS KRUSTY, NOT BART, WHO UTTERED THOSE IMMORTAL WORDS ON A FIRST SEASON SIMPSONS EPISODE CALLED "KRUSTY GETS BUSTED", WRITTEN BY JAY KOGEN AND WALLACE WOLODARSKY, AND AIRED APRIL 30TH, 1990. HERE'S HOW IT WORKED: KRUSTY SHOT SIDESHOW BOB OUT OF A CANNON. WHEN THE GAG DIDN'T GO WELL HE TURNED TO THE CAMERA AND SAID "DON'T BLAME ME, I DIDN'T DO IT". BART WAS WATCHING ON TV AT HOME AND SAID "COMEDY, THY NAME IS KRUSTY". I CHECKED THIS ON A DVD OF THE FIRST SEASON LAST NIGHT. IF SOMEONE HAS OTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE WEIGH IN. ULTIMATELY, WE'LL NEVER BE ABLE TO AGREE ON EXACTLY WHAT WENT WRONG IN NEW ORLEANS, BUT WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO HANDLE THIS KRUSTY/BART BUSINESS.