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Hastert Blames Residents of New Orleans, Says City Should Not Be Rebuilt

Thursday, September 01, 2005
New Orleans Times Picayune

By Bill Walsh
Washington bureau

WASHINGTON - House Speaker Dennis Hastert dropped a bombshell on flood-ravaged New Orleans on Thursday by suggesting that it isn’t sensible to rebuild the city.

"It doesn't make sense to me," Hastert told the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago in editions published today. "And it's a question that certainly we should ask."

Hastert's comments came as Congress cut short its summer recess and raced back to Washington to take up an emergency aid package expected to be $10 billion or more. Details of the legislation are still emerging, but it is expected to target critical items such as buses to evacuate the city, reinforcing existing flood protection and providing food and shelter for a growing population of refugees.

The Illinois Republican’s comments drew an immediate rebuke from Louisiana officials.

“That’s like saying we should shut down Los Angeles because it’s built in an earthquake zone,


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I suppose, if one takes a purely rational and mechanistic view of human habitats, New Orleans may not make the greatest sense as a choice of locales. Unfortunately for Mr Hastert and his ilk, human beings don't always adhere to that kind of thinking when making decisions about where they want to live.

In any case, at the very least, the timing for any such ill-considered statement is way off the mark.

when our nation could use international aid right now?

I suspect that John may well have had some input already into the rejection of any outside help. It could be very awkward if we allow Chavez to provide assistance to the flood victims and then decide we want to follow up Pat Robertson's suggestion about "offing" him.

Do we want to curse a generation unborn to repeat this disaster? Would that not make us responsible for a lot of misery? Will it even take a generation for this to happen again? We don't know. We do know that it will happen again.
Are we so rabid that we will shrilly curse a Republican for daring to speak the truth?

I don't recall cursing anyone. I just think Hastert's statement was, in the circumstances, rather insensitive and badly timed to say the least.

He himself appears to have had some second thoughts as he now says: "It is important that when we rebuild this historic city that we consider the safety of the citizens first." [Emphasis added.] So the question of whether to rebuild appears to have dropped out of the issue from that revised perspective.

i really should have made this a free standing comment. Sorry.

I've hit the "wrong button" when posting a few times myself.

It is perfectly sensible to ask if it should be rebuilt, or left as a tribute to foolishness.

It is not Hasterts decision whether or not to rebuild New Orleans, the only decision he has a part in is whether or not the federal government ie. the tax payers should foot the bill. If the people of New Orleans want to live in a swamp let them rebuild, just do not ask me to finance or insure it for them. The people of New Orleans peobably would not be in the fix they are in today, if they had not dependen on the federal government; they should have taken responsibility for there own flod control.

This disaster falls at the feet of the Republican congress diverting funds to Iraq and tax breaks for their buddies...Now, is not the time to say the people lived in an area that was subject to destruction...If the levee was repaired...we wouldn't be having this discussion. And what about all those refineries in the area that sent gas all over the US...Why were they there unprotected Mr. Hastert? This is your mess...and we need new leadership that can put us on a new have already caused enough trouble with your priorities...So shut up.

Hurricane Creation:

I dont see anything at all in there about the Republican party, Hasert, or any politics in general.

Rebuilding is completely assinine. It's only going to happen again. It's not political, it's nature! It's geography! Why would you live in a "bowl" right next to Gulf and and a major river? I can understand employees of the oil refineries and ports living there, but anybody else needs to move futher inland. No more useless casino and party business.

Indychris,you are a fool,should we not rebuild the midwest when a tornado destroys numerous towns...winter storms that smash the have the logic that has put this country in the dire straights that we are in now...if you do any kind of searching about the budgets cuts since 2001 from this president(???) you will quickly see why america is quickly becoming a third world the world is laughing at us now...the most powerful country in the world...cannot even protect and help their citizens in a time of need...the leader of the free world is playing golf,living his life...pathetic,you and all citizens should be ashamed of this administration...i am truly embarassed to see what is happening...

I agree. Although, I can see not allowing Trent Lott's house to be rebuilt.

Ummm, tornados cause much more localized destruction. They fiercly destroy what they touch, but their magnitude of destruction is nothing on the scale of Hurricane Katrina.

Snowstorms also do not cause the same amount of damage as this hurricane. Also, the residents up north are used to snow storms and typically prepared for them.

People have been warning about the potential diaster that a Hurricane would inflict in New Orleans for decades!

It has only been a couple of days. There are a lot of logistics problems with getting into New Orleans. I think that the emergency workers are doing the best that they can considering that are being shot at and have to deal with a city that is under water/ waste/ and chemicals. It takes time to ship supplies and get a good infrastructure in place. Stop using this natural diaster as a way for furthering your conspiracy theories and hatred towards the president. People also shouldnt use this as away of supporting the president or the war.

New Orleans is a disaster of bliblical porportions, due in large part to the Bush policy of diverting vital funding and manpower for projects related to the Louisana coastal flood protection and disaster prepardness, to the Iraq misadventure! Bush's congressional stoodges are merely running a smokescreen to allow Bush to shift the blame away from his own criminal negligence. It is high time that we Americans start thinking for ourselves and start holding Bush accountable rather than let the corrupt congress and mainstream media tell us how to think on these vital issues. They will try their best to protect Bush from this, but we must not let them. Bush is incompetent and corrupt. It's time to block out the mainstream media and congress and start coming together as citizens to bring these crooks to justice!

Funding to re-enforce the levies has been going down since the Clinton Admin... Will you people stop blaming everything on GWB, it really makes you look stupid.

Shouldn't the state if LA take responsibility to build its own damn levies if they want to keep the city???? Oh wait, I am talking to a bunch of socialists here. Long live the government!!!!!

Funding decreases have nothing to do with Iraq.

You people keep me young with your stupidity on so many issue. This is just another example.

Richie "The Right Wing Kook" Rich

I agree. Any issues to maintaining a city below sea level (i.e pumps/ levees/ etc.) should be left to the state to fund and regulate.

Government had g r o w n under the Bushies and they are intruding into all citizens lives more each day...The Bushies have permitted the deficit to grow to historical proportions. No conservatism anymore. It is a national disgrace. We are so much worse off, now. If we can rebuild Bagdad, why can't we find a way to help our own citizens? This government does not seem to have the capacity to respond to the needs of its own country. They are the traitors and liars. Lives are being lost, and all they do is talk, talk, talk.

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