Karl Rove: Hurricane Katrina Reconstruction "Czar"
Karl Rove, President George W. Bush's "top strategist" and Deputy Chief of Staff, often called "Bush's brain," is the man Republicans say is in charge of the Hurricane Katrina reconstruction effort. 
"The President literally changed horses in the middle of the stream last week, putting 'Heckava Job' Brownie out to pasture and wagering his last bit of political capital on a nag by the name of T-Blossom, who is used to slogging it out on a muddy track. Yes, Bush saddled his favorite political steed, Karl Rove, with the enormous political and economic task of rebuilding the Big Easy. To make the job more alluring he threw in—for starters--$200 billion to excite all the participants," Jean Carnahan wrote September 19, 2005.
"For now it looks like Karl is the go to man for the job. Lord, help us," Carnahan said. "'Brownie' was simply harmless and dull, but 'Dr. Evil' is brilliant, cunning, and loathsome. Never mind that this is not Karl's line of work. But it might be his salvation. Who would indict a man engaged in so noble a work? The administration gets a 'double whammy:' Karl's atonement and Bush's revival."
Bush dispatched Rove and "other aides to assemble ideas from agencies, conservative think tanks, GOP lawmakers and state officials to guide the rebuilding of New Orleans and relocation of flood victims," Jim VandHei and Jonathan Weisman wrote in the September 14, 2005, New York Times. "The idea, aides said, is twofold: provide a quick federal response that comports with Bush's governing philosophy, and prevent Katrina from swamping his second-term ambitions on Social Security, taxes and Middle East democracy-building."
White House spokesman Scott McClellan "indicated" that President Bush would not use his September 15, 2005, address to the nation "to name a 'reconstruction czar' to oversee the effort," the New York Times Elisabeth Bumiller and Richard W. Stevenson reported September 15, 2005. "A number of White House officials have advised the president to name such a czar, with Gen. Tommy Franks, commander of forces in the 2001 war in Afghanistan, being a favorite of Republicans who are pushing the idea."
- "So get ready for the New New Orleans -- Karl Rove’s Big Easy -- featuring the Halliburton French Quarter, the ExxonMobil River (formerly the Mississippi), Lake MBNA (formerly Pontchartrain), and Eli Lilly music (formerly jazz)." --Arianna Huffington, September 15, 2005. 
Related SourceWatch Resources
- Hurricane Katrina: List of related pages
- Hurricane Katrina: Profiteering
- Hurricane Rita
- Rebuilding the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina: domestic policy initiatives
- Jim VandHei and Jonathan Weisman, "Bush Takes Responsibility For Failures Of Response," New York Times, September 14, 2005.
- Elisabeth Bumiller and Richard W. Stevenson, "Bush to Focus on Vision for Reconstruction in Speech," New York Times, September 15, 2005.
- Dan Froomkin, "Who's in Charge? Karl Rove!" Washington Post, September 15, 2005.
- Arianna Huffington, "Karl Rove's Big Easy," Huffington Post, September 15, 2005: "And speaking of playing politics, I love how the news that Karl Rove has been placed in charge of the reconstruction effort was buried in the ninth paragraph of a twelve paragraph New York Times story on Bush’s big speech."
- Dan Froomkin, "Mr. Big Government," Washington Post, September 16, 2005.
- Jean Carnahan, "Roverian Politics," Fired Up Missouri, September 19, 2005.
- "Disaster Czar Rove Plays Politics Instead of Focusing on Rita," Capitol Buzz Blog, Septembe 23, 2005: "Frank Lautenberg asks what the rest of us are wondering: If Karl Rove is the guy in charge of managing hurricanes and the country is about to be devastated by one again, why is he spending the weekend playing politics?" Lautenberg's letter reads that Rove will be "delivering a political speech to the North Dakota Republican Party, and will be featured as a special guest at a fundraising party ..." Also see Hurricane Rita.